As we bid a fond farewell to the icy bonds of winter, waving with one hand, flipping the bird with the other, there is but a moment of serenity during which time one contemplates the fast approaching summer with relative ease. We envisage the baking heat of the UK’s glorious festival scene, late nights in pub gardens and strolls along river banks wearing long white skirts, and many many necklaces. We save our pennies to buy tickets to far away lands where booze and debauchery flow as freely and as naturally as the rivers we dive into. We remember in a dusty haze the summer gone by, the baking streets, the radiant gardens and the endless bar-b-ques. The parties always longer and the hangovers eased by the gentle hand of the sun, caressing us back to life. But as the sun gets hotter and we peel off our layers, emerging from our chrysalises, we come to realize that some are more butterfly than others and Bikini Panic sets in.
The summer has so much to offer in terms of entertainment, travel opportunities, family gatherings and endless partying, but let us not forget the hardships of summer. I will start with what I consider to be the paradigm of the summer blues; I’m talking chub rub. For those of you who are unaware of this most horrendous of afflictions, fuck you you lucky fuckers and please skip this paragraph because you do not understand the misery of chafeage. The summer before uni I took a trip to Rome with two girls I’ve known my entire life, the weather was glorious, that perfect European dry heat with just enough breeze to keep you from complaining… or so I thought. We had been walking around the city for a couple of hours wearing a dress cut just below the knee, and the fattest part of my inner thighs had been making out with each other the entire time, until it got to the point where the friction was too much and I had to dive hastily into and H and M to purchase some leggings. The other two girls reacted with a mixture of pity and amusement, they didn’t seem to understand the painful burning between my thighs was not something to be laughed at, it was a challenge to be overcome. Over the years I have tried several different things, from wearing little shorts beneath skirts and dresses, to braving tights in mid July to using what can only be described as a slick stick which allows your thighs to gracefully glide against one another. I have news for you ladies… essentially you just gotta grin and bear it.
There’s no miracle cure, except the cultivating the thigh gap, which I’m pleased to report is gaining the press it deserves. I think it is hugely unfair to stigmatize those whose thighs must send carrier pigeons to communicate with each other, who will never feel the heat of a momentary embrace, the rush of a cooling dip soothing the blistering fires of friction. A thigh gap does not a demon make, it doesn’t make a girl anorexic, it doesn’t mean she’s so obsessed with how she looks that she’s shaved off part of her anatomy; it simply means that she was blessed with the gift of never having to apply a thick layer of soothing cream to her burning loins. Speaking of which, is it just me, or does the sun create this salacious atmosphere in which everyone reverts back to the times of the Bacchanalia? Fueled by illicit substances, booze and sunshine we all become little Eroses, flattering, flirting, squeezing, teasing, batting eyelids and flexing in a ritual as old as time.
Festivals are the perfect example of the sun creating this oasis of hedonism where naughtiness is shared in abundance, girls cavort in metallic unitards and neon wigs, wearing more glitter than you could throw at a Drag Queen, while boys unashamedly douse their freshly shaved chests with tanning oil and throw on yet another neon tank top. This is where my Bikini Panic is at its peak; in the hoards of people I would say 80% are body beautiful, perching happily on the shoulders of strangers, crop tops revealing a brown wrinkled area where my gut would be. What I wouldn’t give to wander around in a bikini top and denim shorts like a big ho, relishing the looks of voracity, but then you realize. Skinny bitch goddess over there hasn’t showered in three days either. Her skin is also caked in three days worth of makeup, glitter, sweat, Vaseline and sequins, and as the days wear on, the more sparkle she will don to mask the lingering scent of other peoples’ perspiration, her own tangy aroma concealed by layer upon layer of dry shampoo, deodorant and cheap perfume. Just like the rest of us, she has braved the packed queues for the hovel like porta-loos, she has played wee jenga, she has flown in the face of fecal graffiti and tampon paper chains.
So, as the sun commences its 6 month reign, the clouds scamper off to the southern hemisphere and the Festival season begins, remember this: Bikini Panic is real, it is out there, but you can totally ignore it if you so wish. As long as you are in an elated state, surrounded by your favorites, dressed like you stumbled into a fancy dress shop in the dark and smelling like a hobo’s pocket you are doing it right!