For me, summer is a time of very mixed feelings. Sunshine, light evenings and ice lollies are things that I’m a big fan of, but every other very fibre of my being cries out for winter. I’m just going to say it: I miss jumpers. I miss tights and winter coats and boots. I am not one of those naturally summery gals, the kind that look like they were made to advertise Pimms and tennis and make up free skin.
I’ll start with the heat. It’s great. I love it. What I don’t love is how makeup sweats right off my face to reveal the red faced lobster I am underneath. This is only emphasized by my hayfever: endless sneezing and watery, itchy, swollen eyes for days on end. The skin on my nose will be rough and sore, and the skin outside my eyes is inflamed and burnt. Occasionally this might bring on a chest or eye infection. Oh, the joys! I can’t sleep at night because I’m allergic to nature.
My fringe doesn’t play by the rules anymore and clumps together, makes me sweaty and just generally gets in the way. I can’t get rid of it because my forehead deserves a postcode. Clothes are another problem. I’ve already expressed my love for winter warmers – I’m terrible at summer dressing. I don’t like getting my legs out without at least a day’s notice, I hate my arms, and if there’s ever a time to feel self conscious about being a Pale Gail, it’s when bronzed beauties are drifting about in shorts.
The tanning. Oh god, the tanning.
I come from a family of tanners. I’ll be sat outside with my Dad and he’ll tell me ‘you want to slap some false tan on, girl.’ Mum goes on the sunbed (not cool!) religiously. There is a ghost in our house, and it is I.
I don’t actually mind that I’m not tanned, but it’d be nice to have something to show for my days in the sun. I sat in the shade (with sensible SPF) and still come away pink and peeling. I tried gradual tan, but found the difference so minimal it wasn’t worth the effort. I bought St Tropez. ‘At last!’ I thought, ‘the holy grail of false tan is sure to liven me up!’ I exfoliated, moisturised, applied. The next day I mentioned my efforts to a friend. ‘You’re wearing false tan?! Mate, I’m sorry but I honestly can’t see a difference.’ Back to the drawing board. Recently I’ve given it a proper go, sitting in the sun (of course, wearing a sensible SPF). I’ll lay on a sun lounger for hours, turning over as appropriate, as much flesh on show as possible without neighbours alerting the authorities. I look exactly the same. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m so pale, I actually reflect the sun.
So no, I’m not a summer girl really. Summer for me is spent constantly looking like I’ve just run for the bus. I’m too pale, with a red face and a messy fringe, and I break into a light sweat after sneezing.