Robyn Vinter 25th July 2018
Growing up with a sun-worshipper for a mum, the summer was definitively A Good Thing in our family. Like an exotic bird, she just seems to belong in the warm weather in a way I never have. My entire childhood was spent watching my mum wait impatiently for the long days, record temperatures and absence of rain — and every year, despite squeezing every possible minute of precious sun-time out of the summer, she’d complain that it didn’t last long enough.
So strong is my mother’s attachment to the summer that she’d take even a hint of indifference to the hot weather as a personal slight. Even the most innocuous comment on not enjoying the hot weather was met with: “Oh, don’t be such a misery!”
I learned early that cold temperatures were for criticising and warm temperatures for appreciating, and this lesson stood me in good stead, it turns out, as when I grew older I realised that most people in Britain seem to follow my mum’s line of thinking.
Brits love the sun. We love it too much, judging by the fuschia shades on the shoulders, back chest and bald heads of many — especially, but not exclusively, white — British people at this time of year.
It’s only natural to feel socially unable to utter those taboo words: ‘I can’t wait for winter.’
So, every heatwave, when the nation seems to be in a delirious state of joy, it’s only natural to feel socially unable to utter those taboo words: “I can’t wait for winter.”
But, despite being an almost silent minority, there are lots of us sun-haters in existence — granted, we’re hard to spot because we spend most of the time lurking in the shade.
I’m completely unable to enjoy the sun, constantly distracted by the fear I might be burning
For me, sunshine has always been overbearing and heat oppressive — if we’re talking in birds, I’m more of a penguin. Unlike my olive-skinned mother, my skin tone is fair and doesn’t take well to the sun. I simply don’t tan — I go from white to red and, eventually, back to white again. When I’m forced to spend time in the sun, I’m completely unable to enjoy it, constantly distracted by the fear I might be burning and forced to apply a third or fourth coat of factor 50 to every millimetre of exposed flesh in order to quell the unease caused by years of “I’ll be fine” and suffering the flaky consequences.
I’ve tried very hard to like the summer. I’m an outdoorsy person — I love a picnic, BBQ or refreshing outdoor swim more than most, but I don’t love chub rub, being bitten by bugs or having the gap between my toes blistered by flipflops, no matter how desperate I am to enjoy their convenience.
The summer, to people like me, simply means being woken in the early hours by a beaming ray of sunshine entering the bedroom through a crack in the curtains. It means swollen fingers, a sweaty face, nauseating bus journeys, absolutely zero desire to do any exercise whatsoever. The summer is sitting behind a desk in a stuffy office feeling a profound sense of FOMO at the people outside catching rays, feeling that I should be joining them, while not wanting to actually catch those rays myself.
Hating the summer doesn’t mean I’m a miserable person who wants everyone to be unhappy
Hot summer days sap every ounce of energy, leaving me a shell of a person who struggles to sleep, even outside the covers (dangerous, considering everyone knows that’s where the monsters live) and with multiple “cold water bottles”.
But finally I’m realising it’s okay to admit it. There’s no objective truth about which season is the best. Hating the summer doesn’t mean I’m a miserable person who wants everyone to be unhappy. Neither am I a goth or a vampire. I’m simply a winter person.
Winter gives you a feeling that’s the exact opposite of FOMO
Ah, the winter. Chunky-knit jumpers, roast dinners, roaring fires, fog. It’s blustery walks, with two pairs of socks slipping down inside wellies. It’s thick woolly tights and crushed velvet dresses. I’m going to stop at the risk of sounding like Mary Poppins.
Winter gives you a feeling that’s the exact opposite of FOMO — reading a book under a blanket, completely content with the rain dribbling down the dark window, knowing that there’s nothing I should be making the most of and nowhere else I should be.
In fact, the only thing that ruins winter is the miserable people complaining about it.
Robyn Vinter 25th July 2018