It’s May. It’s nearly summer. And that means one thing for women; BEACH BODY SEASON. The familiar, comforting embrace of Christmastime has well and truly left, and the joy of guiltless, incessant eating of candy canes, roast potatoes and Celebrations has abandoned us and left us instead with January’s harsh reminder that you said you’d start that diet as your New Year’s Resolution. As the warmer months draw ever closer, the oversized jumpers and chunky winter coats become less of an option and the itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini buried under ‘summer clothes’ starts its annual intimidation.
Summer is always the season that people seem to spend months waiting for, countless holiday countdowns are posted on social media, flights are booked, new ‘hot weather wardrobes’ are purchased and endless hours are spent daydreaming of sunshine and faraway destinations. It’s a shame that such a seemingly happy season is so tainted by the commandments that scream out from the cover of every magazine as soon as December is over; WHAT TO EAT TO LOSE WEIGHT. HOW TO GET THAT BIKINI BODY. HOW TO BE A SIZE SIX BY SUMMER. HOW TO FAKE TAN PERFECTLY. HOW TO BE COMPLETELY HAIRLESS. Where are the articles that say ‘HOW TO EMBRACE YOUR NATURAL SHAPE’ ‘HOW TO LOVE YOUR SKIN – NO MATTER THE SHADE OR COMPLEXION’ ‘HOW TO NOT GIVE A DAMN ABOUT WHAT STRANGERS THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE IN A BIKINI’?
While Christmas is anticipated just as impatiently, there seem to be no such demands. Christmas focuses mostly on food, presents and family – whereas summer turns the house-cat of a woman who spent all of winter inhaling Quality Streets into a self-deprecating gym bunny who insists that she is going to eat kale for every meal so she can be ‘slim for summer.’
But again; why?
Personally, I’m lucky enough to not overly worry about how I’ll look in a bikini. However, I’ve been told countless times by articles and ‘friends’ that I should slap on the St Tropez for summer to look more caramel than Casper, and that pressure pops up every year. I’m pretty pale; and when I say pretty pale, I don’t mean ‘don’t have a tan’ pale… I mean ‘just-fallen snow’ pale – with a generous sprinkling of freckles everywhere. I could pore over photos of the cast of TOWIE and sob into my beach towel that I’m not the ‘right’ shade of mahogany; or I could just shrug, load up on factor 50 (yes that’s right, 50), and go to the beach. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t be pleading with my boyfriend to arm himself with a fake-tan mitt for myself, I’d be a tangerine hue just to please individuals who I’ll never meet, or who aren’t of any real significance. Plus, I’d most likely have to reapply every day of my holiday and come out of the sea looking like I’d developed a weird orange allergic reaction. Not ideal.
Now, I understand that there are a lot of girls who aren’t happy with their bodies – and if they look in the mirror and genuinely see things they’d change because they themselves aren’t personally happy with it, then I see no issue with encouragement to (safely) change what they dislike. But if the reason that beautiful girls are splashing out on creams to hide skin blemishes or stretchmarks, are fake-tanning just for a week abroad, or are pushing themselves to run 75 miles a day on a diet of spinach and oxygen just because the pages of a magazine tell them to – now that’s a problem. If you’re happy in your bikini, tankini, swimsuit, kimono, beach dress, wetsuit – hell, whatever you wear on the beach! – then be happy. No strangers on that beach are going to be judging you, no holiday photos have to be taken or shown if you don’t want them to, and most importantly; you may never get the memories of that holiday again. Do you really want to remember laying on a Spanish beach hidden under a towel or panicking because you’ve got ‘fake tan hands’, or do you want to fondly reminisce about frolicking in the sea, relaxing with a cocktail and just enjoying your time away? If you’re not a supermodel, not the perfect bronze of a two pence piece and not got a flawless complexion; why should you care? Nobody else on the beach will.
Life’s not better with a tan – life’s better happy. And ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ is absolute balls. Have you tasted ice-cream?