Summer bitchin'

A curmudgeon's guide to surviving the season

Summer is here. And according to my Facebook friends—or, as I think of them, strangers—this is a good thing. Which is just what the skin-cancer lobby wants you to think.

I tolerate summer. Some things are nice about the season, but everything else about this scalding time of year simply burns.

The chronic wildfires and smoggy Spare the Air days reek almost as noxiously as the housewives buttered in stripper-scented tanning lotion. If I have to see one more self-portrait of anyone’s toe-ringed feet outstretched at the beach, I’m going to meme them into manure farms, toxic dumps and Dave Navarro’s mouth.

So, yeah, I’m kind of a summer scrooge. But I’m not alone. And this is a guide for all like-minded curmudgeons to avoid the worst this season has to offer.


It's the fifth straight 100-degree day and your office is an environmentally conscious building that stirs humidity soup with a few limp fans. I know your pain. If you're a guy, male-dominated corporate America demands you cocoon your furry legs in old-world torture fabrics called “pants.” Shorts are only for the unemployed and that pool guy you buy your weed from. What to do?

There are no great solutions. I recall Japan trying to make men’s professional capris a thing during a particularly brutal summer a couple years ago. It didn’t take. With no fashion innovations forthcoming, here are two possible alternatives:

1. Wear a kilt. Hey, you pretend to be Irish every St. Patty’s day, so why not get your Scot on during summer?

2. Challenge your workplace’s nondiscrimination policies, swallow your machismo and hike on a skirt. It’s 2013. No one cares. You’ll be the coolest cross-dresser in the cubicle, both literally and figuratively. Just make sure whatever man-skirt—“mirt”—you buy reaches your knees. You still want to be respected.

Kill the radio

Stifling heat brings out the absolute worst in already terrible chart toppers. I submit to you exhibits 2008-12:

2008: Lil Wayne, “A Milli.” (If spent on sizzurp, will get you nowhere.)

2009 (tie): Black Eyed Peas, “I Gotta Feeling.” (So do I. It’s contempt.); Miley Cyrus, “Party in the U.S.A.” (Britney Spears called it nasally.)

2010: Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg, “California Gurls.” (More like “California Hurls.”)

2011: LMFAO, “Party Rock Anthem.” (FML.)

2012: Carly Rae Jepsen, “Call Me Maybe.” (How about you don’t? Ever.)

But arguably the past decade’s worst crime against earmanity came in 2005. That’s when the Pussycat Dolls ambushed every shopping mall, aerobics class and desperate housewife’s ringtone with the offensively stupid “Don’t Cha.” Feminism is still recovering.

Apply bro-screen

Bros are like asexually reproducing bacteria, and summer is their mating season. To avoid them, frequent air-conditioned libraries and art-house cinemas. Bros can't do whispering. They are drawn like moths to light beer and energy drinks, so avoid popping cans and stick to whiskey, tea and coffee. (That's just a good rule in general.) And, if you must go to the gym, favor cardio and leg machines. Their Gollum legs can't navigate either.

Tolerate bikers

Tommy Bahama-clad weekend warriors and leather-chapped, leathery-skinned outlaws alike will be roaring up curly country roads this summer. Yes, their belching motors, discourteous lane changes and precious waves to each other are obnoxious. No, I don't have a “but.” Just be aware they're around, and feel free to talk shit behind their backs. They're doing it to you “straights.”

Stay positive

This last tip may seem antithetical given what you've just read, but it's important, nonetheless. Summer is only three months—give or take God's wrath—and it'll be no time at all until you're back in your ascot complaining about the 60-degree “cold.”

And if that’s too distant a horizon, here’s one unequivocal thing to love about summer: It’s great to complain about.