‘Tis the Season of my Discontent

by Beauty

Well, it’s finally that time of year again. Summer is coming and I already have the freckles on my nose to prove it. We have almost arrived at the season of the year that I hate the most. Yes, that’s right. Summer is my least favourite season. While people around me remove layers of clothing and frolic in the sun and heat, I will be sitting in the shade with SPF 30 sunscreen slathered on all my exposed bits. The Summer Sun is my enemy.

It has always been this way for me. I was born with the palest skin you’ve ever seen. People joke that I could probably glow in the dark. It doesn’t help that I’m half Italian and people expect me to achieve a nice bronze glow. I’m the only person in my family who cannot tan. It will never happen, not naturally anyway. I can, however, turn a delightful and painful shade of red with little effort at all.

One of the things I hate most about Summer is the clothes. My cozy sweaters and jeans can no longer protect me. Now, people are showing skin. Lots of it. Shoulders, cleavage, stomachs, legs. Much of the skin baring is inappropriate, as when people with ridiculously out-of-shape bodies bare it all, but Summer seems to give people a sense of confidence and entitlement. I’ve always thought that tube tops and minis were a privilege, not a right; now people of all ages, shapes and sizes will be donning their bikinis and Speedos. I shudder to think that thong bikinis are making their way into the mainstream. The average ass is not thong-worthy.

There also seems to be more of an emphasis on bronzing formulas than ever before. Can’t achieve a wonderful, all-over glow? There are tanning beds, creams, sprays and shower treatments that will fix you right up. Now you too can look like you’ve spent hours in the sun and abused your skin. Despite all we now know about the damage the sun causes, there seems to be a perpetual belief that a tan makes you look “healthy” when it is really just the opposite. Why should I pay money to fake a bake, to fool people into thinking that I have damaged my skin? Yet I know many people will buy into this low risk fashion alternative, and will be rewarded with orangey brown complexions for the duration of the season.

I would be content to sit in the shade in all my pale glory, except that people seem to feel compelled to point out my whiteness. I have often heard variations of “whoa, you’re white” from people around me. Really? Oh my God I never knew! One particularly memorable incident occurred while I was honeymooning in Hawaii. About a week into my holiday, a sunburned American tourist approached me while I was snorkeling to say, “I hope you’re wearing sunscreen, because you’re probably the whitest person I’ve ever seen.” Duh, of course I’m wearing sunscreen or else I’d look like you.

For the next few months I will have to put up with underdressed, tanned and/or sunburned people worshipping the sun. I will tolerate their stares and comments from my haven in the shade. I will preserve my skin from the sun’s harsh rays and think of how healthy and wrinkle-free it will look when I am 50. And before I know it, Autumn will be here.

  • ‘Tis the Season of my Discontent
  • by Beauty
  • Published on June 1st, 2004

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