Having been born and raised in Central Florida, I have a different set of seasons hardwired in my brain. Instead of winter, spring, summer and fall, I grew up with warm, hot, brutally hot and humid, and hot without hurricanes. Also, since there wasn’t enough spring in the air to inspire “spring fever”, my adolescent antsiness was based on the school calendar and movie releases.
As soon as the first summer blockbuster hit the silver screen, I was overcome with anticipation for three months of vacation when I could bake under-SPF’d skin, sleep in, have midweek sleepovers, and spend entire days in a cold movie theater (equipped with a bucket o’ buttery goodness and giant non-diet, soda). Basically, even for a Floridian unaffected by seasonal changes, summers were great because it was the season for breaking the rules that held firm the rest of the year.
Older, now, and due to an inconvenient need to pay bills and buy food, I cannot vacation on the beach and party for three months straight. Still, even though the season doesn’t officially begin until 21 June, my Summer 2010 began with the release of Iron Man s and the beginning of big budget films. Thus begins a few months of eschewing good taste and judgment, and finding some time to behave badly. If you’re so inclined to join me, follow these tips for a successful sunny season …
Dress the Part
In order to get into the summer spirit, you have to look the part – and that means flip-flops and tropical wear. OK, so some of you might be in a different fashion frame of mind than me, but I believe the brightest days begin with floral patterns and hula girl prints. Ladies, feel free to wear bikini tops as regular clothing even when you’re not headed to the beach. If you’re into linen, wear it sparingly unless you’re going for the look of someone who plays baccarat in Morocco.
Should you find yourself in New York City, remember there is a great undergarment embargo that seems to afflict Manhattan every summer. It may sound exciting and sexy at – shall we say – first glance, but it only takes walking behind an overweight and sweaty guy wearing white (and linen) pants to kill the appeal. Then again, when in Rome…
Since I experience no remorse about it whatsoever, I can’t call my love for the Jimmy Buffett musical experience a “guilty pleasure”. Mexican cuties, coconut telegraphs and a zeal for the lower latitudes is already my style, but this is especially the season to embrace Buffett. His new two-disc Encores live album is a smooth, refreshing musical mojito that features an often solo, acoustic Jimmy performing lesser known songs, new treatments of his familiar songs and famous covers (such as Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind”).
Summer as a whole is a great time to indulge in repeated servings of music you’d normally avoid or tire of quickly. Trust me; fill your iPods and non-Pods with Buffett and the family Marley. Mumble along with Ke$ha’s “Blah, Blah, Blah”, say oh-oh-oh with Usher’s “OMG”, soak up Katy Perry’s sunny “California Gurls” with Snoop Dogg, find a tropical Pandora channel, add some lime to your coconut, head to Kokomo and sit back and unwind with Fresh Prince this summertime. You won’t be able to help but be in a cool mindset. Just pack up your discerning hipster musical tastes with your winter clothes; they’ll still be there come September.
Hunker Down in Cool, Dark Places
As with music, the regular rules of good taste must be suspended during the summer months. As I mentioned before, the movie theater — with its industrial jet-powered, environment-destroying air conditioner — offers respite from the heat. ‘Tis the season for massive explosions, special effects, sequels and groan-inducing plots. Iron Man 2 was a busy but largely satisfying rock ‘em/sock ‘em non-robot super hero flick, especially compared to the largely joyless Robin Hood
This summer there will be lots of magical fantasy popcorn fare such as Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, The Last Airbender, and trippier alternative realities like The Adjustment Bureau and Inception. You’ll have action extravaganzas to choose from, such as Salt, The A-Team, and Sly Stallone’s The Expendables will make stuff go BOOM!
So, too, there will be good comedies like Dinner for Schmucks, good-bad comedies like Get Him to the Greek, and just bad comedies — Grown Ups is my bet. As always, there will be the usual anticipated sequels such as Sex and the City 2, Toy Story 3,, and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, and reboots like The Karate Kid and comic book flicks along the lines of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Jonah Hex). My advice for approaching the quality and not-so-much summer movies: Get thee to a theater often, sit back and enjoy the explosive ride. After all, it ain’t Oscar season, it’s summer.
Eat, Eat, Eat
I love a good salad with dark, leafy greens, plump tomatoes and miscellaneous bits of fruits and veggies in there. Know what I love more? Hot dogs, hamburgers, Corona and those kind of drinks thar are served in hollowed-out pineapples (real or plastic). If you’ve already toned your body into a bathing-suit-ready image of perfection, summer is a perfect time to abuse it. Otherwise, if you haven’t developed that six-pack by now, it’s too late, anyhow. So why not just enjoy yourself?
Load up with artery-clogging, sugar-laden summer treats that will make your nutritionist weep. Visit a terrifically tacky tiki bar like Painkiller in New York City, order up a myriad of rum in a Zombie or Scorpion Bowl, and feel no pain… until you feel a lot of pain. Also, it’s a fact that the U.S. Constitution protects Americans’ right to celebrate their country’s independence with a beer, burger, and a brat. Exercise your rights! If you still insist on eating healthy, take a bit out of that slice of pineapple poking out of the Bahama Mama or go join a watermelon-eating contest.
Soak Up the Sun
Whether it’s playing hooky from work, rubbing Crisco on your skin and laying in the sand, riding a roller coaster, sucking down a 44-ounce Slurpee in 30 seconds, or swimming in shark-infested waters (although oil-soaked beaches is more hazardous these days, thank you very much BP Amoco), summer is ripe with opportunities to take risks. Personally, I’m probably going to stand in line at Disney World and intentionally forget to sunscreen my nose and the tops of ears. Then I’ll experience the thrill ride that is waiting for the cold spikes of pain that accompanies applying aloe to burnt skin. Or, if I’m feeling really adventurous, I’ll just go commando in white linens on a hot Manhattan day.