If for some ridiculous reason you plan on visiting St. Louis in the summer, here’s some advice you would do well to heed:
1. Don’t go outside. Ever. Especially if you have asthma, a heart condition, or enjoy looking as though you have some appreciation of the concepts of basic hygiene.
2. If you must go outside, don’t wear pants. Now, trust me – as someone whose skin is a delightful shade of translucent, I know how difficult it can be not to cover up. But believe me when I say that no good will come of pants in St. Louis summertime, unless of course you’re trying to make weight for a boxing match, and if that’s the case, then by all means, go ahead.
3. Don’t bother straightening your hair. When I was in 6th grade, I had a white girl ‘fro. My ‘fro was a combination of naturally
curly kinky hair that I got chopped short and then permed (because I didn’t know any better and my parents cared more about my intellect than my appearance is why), and for the better part of a year, it looked like I was wearing one of those conical Vietnamese rice paddy hats. Even after the perm, my hair was a mess until after I graduated from high school and moved away. Then flat irons were invented/made affordable, and since then, I have used one almost every day. This isn’t so great for my hair but it’s amazing for my formerly ‘fro-riddled self-esteem, but in the summer, I accept the fact that straight hair is just not possible for anyone, and I try not to stress.
4. Maintain your air-conditioning. I know you think you can live without it and if you manage then you are certainly a better person than I, but our heat advisories are nothing to fuck with. People die in this heat. We’ve come a long way since the days of sweltering through the day while plowing fields and rearing livestock and whatever else they did in pioneering times, so let’s celebrate our modern capabilities and relax in the cold air.
5. Keeping the A/C on is expensive, but the electric company won’t shut off your service for non-payment until at least September. In case you were wondering.
6. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. If you ignore #1 and go outside and your body can’t tell if it’s too cold or too hot and your skin is clammy to the touch? Get some iced tea in your system immediately because you’re probably about to die.
7. HURRY UP AND GET IN THE FUCKING CAR. I hate hate hate when it’s brutally hot and whoever’s driving takes for fucking ever to open their door and start the car. Do they not know I’m sitting in the passenger seat? Can they not see the wavy lines of heat emanating from the car’s interior? Make your fucking phone call or find your fucking CD or light your fucking cigarette after you’ve started the car and begun to prime the A/C. AFTER.
8. Sunscreen. I know it’s dorky and you think you don’t really need it, but you do. I have no scientific evidence to corroborate my theory, but I think St. Louis is directly underneath a burned-out hole in the ozone layer, and that this hole allows radioactive levels of harmful UVA and UVB rays to strike any unprotected area of the city. This would account for the horrifying number of broiled-alive citizens waddling around public spaces, as well as for the explosion of ugly, misshapenly melanoma-ish freckles on shoulders, ears, and faces. I wear SPF 85. No joke.
9. You fucking smell. Aside from the vodka shits, that orange powder the school janitor used to sprinkle on puddles of kid vomit, and cat pee, the worst smell in the world is a sweaty person in the summer. It’s not really BO, but there’s a wet, vaguely stale odor of skin and glands that makes me want to just douse people with a firehose. Some people try to cover it up with heavy perfumes. Hey, Lady Who Takes the Elevator Before Me in the Mornings: you smell like someone’s gigantic grandmother. Put down the tea rose, pick up the soap. That’s it.
10. Fix your feet. Gnarly hooves and thick, yellow toenails are a cruelty to everyone who looks at you. In the time of sandals, please take the time to get your feet into acceptable condition. Unfortunately, this usually involves a pedicure.
I hate pedicures. I mean, I like the result of pedicures and I know that a lot of people really enjoy sitting there while some stranger caresses their feet, but they just freak me out. I spend the entire time torn between feeling tickled and squirming in pain, which I suppose is an appropriate revenge for someone who spends their working life kneeling at people’s feet all day. It’s just a very uncomfortable situation for me and I avoid it whenever I can. Today, I can’t avoid it. Katie’s birthday was this week, and in lieu of going out or doing anything big, she wants to get pedicures. And when your best friend wants to do something for their birthday, you have to go along with it no matter how weird or unnatural or uncomfortable it is.
After the pedicure, I get to go bra shopping. Just as weird, unnatural, and uncomfortable, only it’s far more expensive than a pedicure and the 19-year-old girls who work at Victoria’s Secret can’t comprehend why I don’t want to give them my e-mail address or open a credit card with them.