So we have finally reached the portion of the summer that is hot. H-O-triple-T sticky sweaty can't sleep dead air hot. Subway platforms are aerosolized dirt and urine incubators, three showers a day, people paying to see Transformers just to get in the a/c hot. Every year I hope it won't get to this point and every year it does.
I do not do well in the heat. I come from San Antonio, a place where summer temperatures regularly exceed 100 degrees. When central air was invented, San Antonians had the good sense to install it vigorously. At home, if I am not in an air conditioned place, it means I am walking to my car or I am within 500 yards of a pool. Sometimes both!
That remains my platform today: Central air? HELL YES. Unfortunately, there are many places in New York that are not air conditioned, including the out-of-doors and my 100-year-old apartment. We have a little window unit in the bedroom that we run at night, but because we are not jillionaires, during the day I must rely on fans and cold beverages.
My first summer here I didn't have an air conditioner of any kind and I ended up so sleep deprived and miserable that I almost went on a murderous rampage. You hear about how murder rates go up in the summer, and I have to say, without my window box, I would have hacked Frank and both cats to bits long ago.
But so anyway, all complaining aside, I have a question. Why is it that in popular cultural depictions of this kind of weather--commercials, videos, movies, what have you--it's always portrayed as all sexy? When I am sweaty and sticky, the last thing on my mind is having anything touching on me. Warm, clammy human? Warm, furry cat? Warm, necessary-for-typing laptop? No thank you. The fewer surfaces touch my skin, the happier I am--I even rotate which side of me is sticking to the couch.
And I do get that people are more naked in the summer which is sort of sexy, and that sweatiness and disheveledness are sort of reminiscent of post-coitalness, but I don't look at the wilted, moist people on my subway platform and wonder if they've just come from a tryst. Summer, to me, is the least sexy of the seasons, but somehow it’s the most sexualized.
I understand the folly of trying to make what you see on the movies and TV map to real life but it's just always weirded me out. The idea has to come from somewhere right? I think, forgive me, of that stupid Santana video that was basically ubiquitous a few years ago, where the sexy lady was sweating and gyrating among heat-reflecting brick apartment buildings, and the sweaty dude (ugh, Rob Thomas) was like "oh yeah awesome I am feeling so sexually alive right now." When the sun is beating down on my already sticky self and the asphalt is melting the bottoms of my shoes, the last thing I want is an equally sweaty meat blanket on top of me. Am I the only one? Maybe it's just that people drink more in the summer to forget the heat, and that makes them sluttier?
I don't know. Perhaps I'm just a freak. I'm definitely the combination of pale and chubby that is flattered by winter's sweaters and forgiving light. All I know is that if I'm ever given the choice between half-naked gyrations on hot tarmac and cool, crisp air-conditioned sheets, sex-wise, it won't be a difficult decision.