The first time I saw a 3D person not starring in a period drama rocking a parasol it was in Los Angeles' historic Koreatown. I remember when we first moved back to LA after years of being sequestered on Catalina Island. Driving down Wilshire Boulevard to our new duplex every third sign had a "Kim" in it -- Kim's Auto, Kim's Grocery, Kim & Sons Zoo Zoos and Wham Whams. I turned to my mom and asked who Kim was and how rich was home girl exactly. It looked like she owned half of central LA.
It was blazing hot that day as it is most days. All manner of women were strolling up and down the block wearing oversized sunglasses and carrying mighty umbrellas to shield their skin from the sun. This was genius to me. Why bake when you could block? Portable shade, plus some throwback inspired chicness? I wanted in. But, being 12, no one I knew at the time was down with the East Meets Gone With the Wind look I was going for.
Flash forward a few decades and I'm kicking myself for not being more of a trailblazer. Because there's a heat wave crashing its way across the east coast and I'm out here in these streets fighting for my life! And why, you might ask, am I not at home basking in modern technology? My air conditioner broke last week.
That's right. Last. Week. We've been wilting in our own walls -- and with house guests no less -- for the same time it took God to create the world. And I'm positive he didn't work up as much of a sweat.
So I was forced to make Sophie's choice and actually go outside in 90-plus soul-melting heat (100 and something if you count the humidity) as opposed to staying inside and slow cooking my brains. A Million Drag Queen March couldn't have thrown me enough shade.
If only I had a parasol! If only there were parasols to be had in 2013. Indeed, there are. Obviously a plain ole umbrella will do your body good but there's something about the specific and somewhat frivolous function of a parasol that whispers, "Yes, I could've just used my cheap ass $5 black umbrella, but I didn't because I have THIS!"
What the what? This is the Guy De Jean Cancan Parasol By Guy De Jean sold for a whopping 110 POUNDS, which is like a gazillion dollars or $167.10 US. Either way it's too rich for my blood but still. Behold!
On the slightly less "Hey look at me!" scale is this Parisian Pagoda Parasol for a much more sensible $32 smackers.
This is giving me all the Audrey. I'd pair it with black motorcycle gloves and dare street harassers to question my sanity. "Mary Poppins' this mother--." See? Already the parasol is working its magic.
Then there's the ultra urban and modern Brelli line, which upgrades the traditional paper parasol look with renewable bamboo, organic cotton and biodegradable PVC.
At $86 this little baby is not cheap BUT it's also waterproof and can withstand up to 40 mph winds. So it won't do that annoying inside-out thing if you ever get caught in a freak monsoon.
Lastly, for the purist in me, is the Sunrise Curves Paper Parasol, which at just $12.95 I can get in all the colors.
And I can't wait to show up at someone's barbecue with this shade maker and be all like, "I'm sorry what was that? I couldn't hear you above all this awesome."
So as I sit in the hot box better know as my new house -- after retreating to the cool air of my local coffee shop -- I'm itching to pull the trigger on each of these mirages. But just like how they tell you to never go shopping hungry maybe you shouldn't go shade-hunting hot?
Anyone out three rocking a parasol like it's 1899? Do you get tons of use out of it or is it more like a novelty T shirt -- fun for 10 minutes and then you realize you're the dumb dumb sporting the "I'm with stupid" shirt standing next to a mirror?