All year we wait for this moment. In April, we buy sliders and maxi-dresses off ASOS and they linger patiently in the back of the cupboard. In May, we try to assemble a barbecue on our 1ft x 1ft balcony. In June, we throw our sodden fists into the sky and plead for sun. And now, finally, it's here: the four days in July when it's hot enough to wear shorts, AKA the British summer. And what do we do? Burn, sweat and moan.
Brits are famous worldwide for being terrible in the heat. On the train we have to be constantly reminded to carry water, lest we literally drop dead from it being five degrees warmer than our bodies can handle. In parks, we gorge on Soleros and tanning oil and end up a greasy, sticky mess.
But surely there are better ways to handle the sun than that. So, to hopefully discover a few, we asked people who've lived in really hot countries to give British people some tips on how to deal with it being a few degrees warmer than normal.
I moved from Italy to the UK exactly three years ago with a completely different experience of summer. To me, summer had always meant being able to jump in a friend's car and drive to the seaside on weekends, and never-ending barbecues with loads of incredible food and friends. Summer in London, on the other hand, is gross: ugly feet in sliders, inexperienced men with disposable barbecues from ASDA and frozen burgers.
The advice you people need most is just to chill the fuck out, to be honest: it's just sun, and there is no need for you to be in a park, in a bikini, squished up next to 8,000 other people. Flip-flops have no place anywhere there isn't sand, and if you insist on getting your toes out, invest in a pedicure first. Most importantly, though, there is nothing wrong with taking a few showers a day and reapplying deodorant. That 24-hour protection thing is a fucking myth.
No matter how much melanin you have in your possession, you can still get sunburned. I learnt this the hard way in Australia, where the ozone is made of – can't confirm – but I think tissue paper? Factor 15 mixed with coconut oil might as well be Utterly Butterly. Wear sunscreen. Every day. Then lather yourself in shea butter and aloe vera gel when you get home in the evenings to keep your skin flake-free and your tan popping. Also, replenish what the sun has zapped from you with freezer cold coconut water so you don't end up wasting the whole day napping or falling asleep in the sun and waking up with third degree sunburns.
As a slightly chubby white man, summer is probably the time it's hardest for me to look attractive. Never wear shorts: fat white legs are a giveaway of a portly pale body with parts that have literally never been exposed to the sun. Your biggest enemy is probably sweat, so you've got to try to keep this to a minimum. Don't use moisturiser because it clogs up your pores and makes you gush. Most importantly, never wear grey: it shows the sweat and, although I can't prove it scientifically, definitely makes you sweat more.
Guys, you've got to make sure you're fresh. I'm not just talking deodorant on the pits; you've got to look after what's down below. This is where your mum's stash of Johnson's Baby Powder comes into use. There's nothing more embarrassing than successfully chirpsing that girl in the tennis dress, only for her to thrust down your Primark boxers to find balls covered in drippy sweat and a big waft of stinking bishop. Talc the front and the back before you leave your house.
We're all told melanin is the ultimate protector, but I'm learning to use a bit of suntan lotion. It does serve to protect your skin, no matter what colour you are. Also, after a long day in the sun I use aloe vera – it's the best for cooling and replenishing the lost hydration from your skin. Also, black people do tan – please don't tell us we don't. White people, please don't hold your arm next to mine comparing your tan to my natural skin colour and make comments like, "I'm nearly as dark as you." It's gross.
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