Julie Bindel

Summer sucks

Summer sucks
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Who could possibly choose hay fever, insect bites and heat rash over an open fire, cashmere blanket and hot chocolate laced with brandy? Although I love the bright early mornings and blue sky I can’t bear the heat and all that comes with it. Give me winter over summer any day.

But to admit my dislike for the most popular season will bring forth accusations of total madness and misery. The images conjured up by a mention of summer are, for most people, cold beer, ice-cream, gentle boat trips, evenings in the garden twirling the stem of a frosty glass of bone-dry wine, dipping into an outdoor swimming pool and then drying off in the sunshine while reading a best seller.

Except that you would be confusing the entire season with a summer holiday, as many of you obviously do.

Working in a town or city in relentless heat, unless you do nightshifts, is pure hell. The journey to work or the shops is fraught with pain, everyone walking much slower. The tube is baking and the bus a nightmare. Shoes hurt because feet swell, but sandals rub, and anyway, summer clothing is, unless you work in a garden centre or building site, inappropriate.

The clothes are actually ridiculous. Men in shorts, singlets and flip flops, affecting a penguin gait are seen everywhere from offices to art galleries, and women feel the need to expose their bra straps.  I feel under pressure to shave my legs, and for a feminist and a lesbian that is tantamount to walking around naked.

Car journeys become a nightmare as you crawl along in the heat and humidity, lagging behind day trippers clogging up the roads. For parents, the cost of living triples as they are forced to shell out on cold drinks, swimming baths and Alton Towers. For some weird reason folk want to be outside when the sun comes out, despite all the discomfort.

I can never get hold of people I need to in the summer because everyone is either on holiday or behaves as if they are. Prices escalate because of school holidays and children are everywhere. Men insist on getting the barbecue out, which ensures that the small percentage of the workforce still active come down with food poisoning.

My head aches with the heat, my skin itches because we have to sleep with the window open so hideous creatures suck my blood all night. If I do manage to sleep through the bites and heat, the birds wake me at 4am.

Work is almost impossible. When the air conditioning breaks down, I want to fall asleep at my desk. In winter you are allowed to get a cold or flu. In summer no one believes you.

The humidity makes my clothes stick to my body, your skin to chairs, and it usually ends with a massive downpour of rain that gives me the cold that no one believes I have.

The sun is bad for your eyes, bad for your skin (white people look ridiculous tanned - and it causes cancer), bad for your plants, your pets, and your mood. If I were Prime Minister I would abolish summer, or at least privatise it.

Julie Bindel is the author of Straight Expectations: What Does It Mean To Be Gay Today? (Guardian Books)

Follow Julie Bindel on Twitter @bindelj

Written byJulie Bindel

Journalist, author, broadcaster, feminist campaigner against sexual violence.

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