Friday, 2 October 2009

In which summer girl doesn't sweat it.

Printed 10.06.09.

We all know her. We all want to be her. We all think she’s lovely, and we all secretly want to beat her to death with a shoe. She’s Summer Girl, and she’s here again.

Summer Girl is a freak, mutant strain of woman. She’s like a Disney cartoon come to life, whichever one it was that had woodland creatures greet her each morning and looked great in denim hotpants. On Sunday, while the rest of us woke up, saw the weather, and ran around the kitchen in our pants, wielding a razor and shrieking “Not yet! Not yet! I haven’t done the Special K diet or had microdermabrasion on my elbows!”, Summer Girl is the one who calmly rolled out of bed, pulled on something tiny and wafty made of linen, and had bluebirds braid her hair while she sipped iced tea from a rosebud.

Summer Girl smells like a cotton-fresh breeze and looks like a cool glass of lemonade. She comes pre-painted in an even shade of malted milk biscuit. Summer Girl never gets blisters. She can wear smock tops without looking pregnant, maxi dresses without looking elderly, and gladiator sandles without looking like a bad school play.

Summer Girl has boundless energy, and likes to spend her time engaged in semi-sporting pursuits like Frisbee and tree-climbing. She will insist on climbing to the bit of the hill with the best view, while you were content to eat the picnic in the car park. She can do all of this with zeal, because Summer Girl never sweats. She doesn’t even glow, but retains a velvety-matte finish at all times. She never finds herself adhered to leather upholstery, and she never buys a Big Issue just to use it as a makeshift fan.
But the interesting thing about Summer Girl is that she, like a delicate flower, only blooms for a short while. Her glory period is May to August, and maybe the occasional freak heatwave in March. The rest of the year she conserves her energy by being mediocre, hiding the perfect limbs beneath big jumpers and boring jeans, biding her time until the day she will coolly eat a 99 without ever, at any moment, getting a milky moustache.

“Where is Summer Guy?” I hear you cry. The answer is: nowhere in Britain. We don’t have any, I spent half an hour checking. If you think you’ve spotted one in the street, he will definitely have been shipped over from Italy, Australia, or somewhere else with more sun and less polyester.

* * * * * * * * * *

London public transport being not quite the regular funfair of joyous distraction you might think, I would like to issue heartfelt thanks to the man I met on the 134 bus on Tuesday. Now, even the least cynical of city dwellers will agree that 92.2 per cent of strangers who talk to you on buses are immediately, or later turn out to be, creepy.

So when this one sat down next to me, I’ll admit I was expecting the usual trio of wheezy breathing, BO and mild racism. Imagine my surprise when instead, I got genuine entertainment. After hacking his lungs up in the aisle and following with two trumpeting sneezes, he leaned in, sighed and said, “I should never have gone to Mexico”. Bus man, you made my day.

Assuming you were joking, that is.

* * * * * * * * * *

This week, I quit my job. I gave many legitimate, justifiable reasons for this: being paid less than an MP’s dental floss allowance; having to work for nine hours straight without a sit-down; wanting to go ‘travelling’ (read: ‘on holiday’); finishing my degree and needing to give myself a kick to ‘pursue my dream career’ (‘watch the last season of Mad Men on the internet’); not enjoying being spied on via CCTV; not liking the pressure of working on commission; not liking the pressure of working generally.

What I did not give was the actual reason – that after five months spent in a shop staring at a sign that read “No Photo’s”, I had finally cracked. In the “Reason for leaving last job” box on my next application form, I fully intend to write “apostrophe abuse”.

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