Roll over each image to see the text and picture go from summer delight to SUMMER DOLDRUMS.
The 10 Best and Worst Things About Summer
By Hallie Cantor
It's Hot After months of exhausting will-they-won't-they flirtation between the sun and your skin, the sun is finally ready to step up and make a move. As it blankets your body in delicious cozy warmth, you know it's only a matter of time before the two of them shack up for good and start popping out cute little sun-skin babies. (I guess that's what sweat is? Gross.) Anyway, it's always better to be too hot than too cold. Oh, cold is better? Does cold make EVERYTHING SMELL like garbage? And leave visible sweat stains down your entire clammy back? And give you headaches and stomachaches if you don't constantly chug water like a triathlete? And make you physically tired from the sheer exertion of dragging your saggy, slowly-boiling flesh from place to place throughout the day? No. Cold just makes you cold. Hot makes you insane. No School Duh, no school! You don't have to do anything. I mean, you have an internship, but that just means you sit around eating free office snacks and gchat your friends all day. The closest you're coming to a problem set is when your friend starts throwing up during Crystal Castles' performance at Lollapalooza. (Because that would be a problem...SET. See, that's the kind of terrible joke you don't have to pretend to enjoy now that you're away from your college professors.) Huzzah! Hooray! Three months of crushing boredom at your parents' house while your college "friends" are all off climbing mountains in Montana or studying slugs in Belize or other things you're totally not jealous of, and the only people you know within hanging-out distance are the high school classmates you've been ignoring the entire school year. Oh, but don't worry: once you're out of college, summer isn't a vacation anymore. It's just more work. Forever. The Beach Sun, surf, babes, bikinis; what's not to love? The beach is not only a fantastic place to make puns like "beachy keen" and "to beach his own," it also offers opportunities for sand castle construction, long walks along the water, and something called "boogie boarding." Bonus for the schadenfreude-minded: beaches are one of those place (like airports) where it's super easy to feel superior to everyone else there. Like eating a Jolly Rancher or watching an Orson Welles movie, going to the beach seems like a good idea for about two minutes and then you're like "ugh is this not over yet" and everyone else is like "you need to have more appreciation for the art of cinema." Then people get cranky and territorial over their towel spots and before you know it the day devolves into state-of-nature chaos. The only good time to go to the beach will be in a few years when the "sand enema" inevitably becomes the hottest new health fad. The 4th of July Truly the most American holiday, the 4th captures what's so wonderful about our great nation: hamburgers and fireworks. Those two things ONLY. No present-shopping, no family obligation, no religion, no sacrifice, no ritual, just hamburgers and fireworks. (Optional but also acceptable: beer, hot dogs, corn on the cob, denim.) You know how you always take a bunch of pictures when fireworks are happening and think to yourself, "wow, these fireworks are so cool that there's no WAY these pictures won't look great. I know every time I've taken pictures of fireworks before, they've been super disappointing, but this time is different," and then later you find ten pictures on your phone of an empty night sky? The 4th of July is sort of like that. Summer Fashion Time to stop cloaking your body in a drab woolen prison. If there's anything you're a prisoner of, it's lookin' too goooood. And anything goes in summer, so now's the perfect time to finally start dressing like the freely dancing druid you secretly feel yourself to be on the inside. BYO floaty peasant blouses (ladies)/all-white linen suits (gents)/neon green toenails (EVERYONE). Let's be realistic here. Anything only goes in 1930s Cole Porter musicals. And if you don't plan on attending least one music festival per week, you're in trouble. Guy or girl, suddenly your sartorial options have narrowed themselves to the following: frighteningly practical leather-and-velcro sandals, many-pocketed cargo shorts, and floor-length muumuus. Choose wisely. Air Conditioning Walking out of the heat into an air-conditioned building is one of the greatest small joys in the world. It feels like a tiny temperature-based orgasm. It effectively makes all of the bad things about summer worth it, in the same way that hitting your head against a wall can be worth it for the feeling of relief you get when you stop. Except that air conditioning doesn't give you brain damage. Summer isn't satisfied with making you too hot. Every time you go indoors for the next three months, it will also make you too cold (unless you carry a cardigan everywhere you go like a cliché of a grandma). You don't even have to go inside: just walking by a store will blast you with freezing air for a second before depositing you back in your regularly scheduled air-sauna, like some kind of disorienting reverse menopause. Summer Flings There's a reason both Romeo & Juliet AND the classic Freddie Prinze, Jr.-Jessica Biel film Summer Catch take place in summertime. 'Tis the season that turns young minds and hearts to boinking. And really, why should two people buy AC units when they can just split the cost of one and agree to have sex with each other in order to sleep in the same room? That's just simple economics. By their very nature, summer flings are designed to hurt someone's feelings. Come August, one of you will have to go back to the potato farm in Idaho to before the vine dies, and he will probably leave the other one unceremoniously even though she's still in love with him, not that that could ever mean as much to him as his precious Yukon Golds and by the way she hopes some of that harvest money is coming back to her to repay her for his half of the air conditioner money, RANDALL. For example. Suntans It's a scientific fact that everyone looks better a little tan. It's like an unspoken way to tell other people "hey, I've been outside my home recently, which proves that I don't have any weird contagious diseases, so you should probably have sex with me because I'd give you healthy non-diseased kids." And nothing says "do me" like "hey, I've been outside my home recently, which proves that I don't have any weird contagious diseases, so you should probably have sex with me because I'd give you healthy non-diseased kids." Oww owww oww ow ow ow owow owwwwwwww do you have any aloe NO DON'T TOUCH ME OW there is no comfortable position. No, not even lying down. You don't understand. It's SO much worse than it looks. No, I didn't use sunblock, okay? Stop looking smug about it. I didn't want to buy a whole expensive bottle because I knew I had some from last year, but then I couldn't find it and - Ew, now all my skin is peeling off, like in the beginning of American Psycho. "There is no real me." "I can do a thousand now." Right? Owwwwwwww. Summer Movies The great thing about summer is that the immediacy of the heat forces us as a society to cast off our lofty pretensions and get right on down to our true hedonistic roots. Screw the nuanced portrayals of Oscar season. Summer gives us what we really want and are too afraid to ask for the rest of the year: explosions, makeouts, and chase scenes between flying octopi and surfing ghosts! Does everyone get 30 IQ points dumber in the summertime, or what? If you didn't read superhero comics nonstop while growing up or harbor a lustful thirst for the impending apocalypse, there are no movies that will satisfyingly entertain you this summer. Not one. But at least you can go home and watch TV, right? No! All the good shows are in reruns! There is no distraction for you! Just sit there and watch yourself sweat until October! Cold Refreshments The only thing a thinking person can be reasonably expected to eat for dinner when it's 90 degrees out is an entire pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, eaten while sitting in bed watching television. Or, alternatively, several pitchers of frozen margaritas. And iced coffees. And cold beers. And gelato and sorbet and popsicles and horchata and slushies and milkshakes. Oh cool, now you're fat.