April was lovely, wasn’t it? The entire month was a freefall of spring-break indulgence in Belferland. It was a veritable feast of playtime and adventure and games and movies and silliness and lawlessness (sure, child, have another oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookie), most of it conducted beneath a beautiful sunny sky worthy of August.
And then, with more predictability than my period, May arrived right on time with her clouds and her cold shoulder and her insufferable indifference to the fact that this is sunny San Diego. Note to May: People who can’t afford to vacation in Hawaii vacation here. In fact, as a person trying to plan a Hawaiian vacation but finding it to be cost-prohibitive, the back-up tropical destination of choice involves Coronado and enough will power for the grownups in this family to leave our daily responsibilities northeast of the bridge.
Lo, the poor visitors from Minnesota, Michigan or Maryland, all who know nothing of Gray May and Gloomy June. I always feel for the M-state travelers I see on the beach this time of year—parents who’ve come to the sunshine-y West, forcing Happy to Happen while their children gleefully exhibit the trademark tourist teeth-chatter. While I’m properly bundled for a seaside stroll, these people press forward with bikinis and beach chairs and sand toys and soft, glow-in-the-dark flesh that turns bright pink after frolicking, nearly naked, in 55-degree water. Dismal skies be damned: They paid for this vacation, and it will be happy! They will frolic!
Me? I grumble at the gray and bide my time ’til July, a time when school is out and I don’t have to trouble my heart with thoughts of 25,700 iPads or new Promethean Boards—but no teachers—for school kids; a time when homework equals let’s eat ice cream on the couch and watch The Muppets again and race each other into the parental bed afterward, giggling the whole way; a time when the late-night woo-hoos in my neighborhood give way to crickets, as SDSU students take leave for three months.
Ah, yes, glorious summer: when bedtime is a foreign word I cannot pronounce, when concerts in the park and concealed beverages are regular features of any weekend.
Of course, none of this can come without a little preparation, which is where May and June provide time to frontload.
Unless you’re a hipster or a vampire, you must be ready to bare some skin here in the tropics, and stocking up on sunscreen is a must. I replenished our empty shelf with an OCD fervor just moments after turning the page on April. Maybe I overdid it with my nine bottles of SPF lotion, three spray-ons and two face sticks. Maybe it’s good to be prepared.
After wearing the same swimsuits for more years than I’m willing to admit, I bought two-and-a-half bikinis that I plan to mix and match through Thanksgiving of 2019, at which point, someone please take the bikinis away.
Combinations of old and new bikinis aside, it’s unlikely I’ll put on a swimsuit often enough to sport each possible pairing this summer, even with the prospect of a Hawaiianado Vacation. So to get the most out of my purchases, I’m wearing one right now. With a scarf, socks and a pair of my daughter’s cheetah-patterned leg warmers, of course.
What? It’s a look! Anyway, it’s cold out. It’s May.
I was feeling confident that I was ready for the beach or pool until my child said to me one recent morning, “Mama! Your waist is tiny! It’s tinier than an elephant’s!” Mmmmm. The only thing louder than a woman’s inner critic is the voice of her 7-year-old who doesn’t yet have one.
Oh, you’ll get your turn, Missy! I wanted to say. “Thank you, honey,” I said instead. Kid’s lucky I have a filter.
Fortunately, cloud-covered afternoons gave me the time to find a waist slimming one-piece. I bought an extra-darling (if I do say so myself) vintage-style maillot for those days when I’m feeling less svelte than Jerry Sanders’ new bod, more bloated than Carl DeMaio’s ego.
It’s telling, isn’t it, that I would be comparing myself to men here? Especially to one who’s gross from the inside out—one who shall not be named again but who looks an awful lot like Jack Black, as CityBeat recently pointed out. And let’s just call it like it is: Jack Black is greasy-man gross.
Which is sort of how I feel sometimes, especially since I cut all my hair off. (See that photo up there? I don’t look anything like that anymore, which is extra cool because I can sit next to you as you read this and you won’t even know it!) The haircut was also part of my summer prep, and I love it. It’s easy and fabulous. When it’s done. When I’ve just woken up? Well, that’s just disturbing.
Pair my slept-on ’do with the unpredictable irregularity I mentioned in the opening sentence, the occasional DeMaio Bloat, post-40 night sweats and the newish chin-hair-thingies I’m loathe to mention (I am the embodiment of sexy), and I admit: At times I feel a bit like a man, baby. And what man wants to strut his bikini in July? Besides John Mayer, that is.
Well, not to worry. Thanks to Gray May and Gloomy June, I have time to whip it all into a presentable frenzy. I have these two dismal months to tweeze, laser, wax, spin, crunch, step-up, Paleo and Namaste myself into shape.
Come summer, if you need to find me, just look for the smooth, dainty little thing in the two-piece, floppy hat and oversized sunglasses at the pool. I’ll be the far-less-perfect chick next to her.
Like so many of the past, this one’s going to be a fine summer.