What does summer mean to you? And has it changed, or—in our process of aging—have we? Here, writer Lara Rosenbaum, a former magazine editor who frequently pens health and fitness stories (including the requisite bikini-body articles) muses on how some traditions stand the test of time, no matter how old (or less innocent) we get.
Not long ago, I had a very L.A. moment. I went to a new (to me) bikini waxer and when faced with the moment of truth, when she asked me what I wanted, I treated it like a visit to the hairdresser and said, “Do whatever you think.”
She glanced at me, cocked her head sideways and then nodded assuredly. “I’m gonna make you look like a porn star.”
Seeing as how I’m now in L.A., I figured she would know.
It all got me thinking, though, of the extra measures women take when readying for summer. Exfoliation, self-tanner applications, pedicures… Granted, bikini waxes are no longer seasonal (like pedicures, for that matter, and have been the norm for a good two decades), but my technician did mention the recent uptick in visits, even though in SoCal the mercury can hit the mid-70′s in January.
Surely, though, summer must mean more than becoming bikini ready. And it never used to be about bikinis, in the first place. Summer was watermelons, barbecues, Slip n’ Slides and sprinklers. It was popsicles, with purple and red sugar water melting down your chin. Summer was treading water at the club pool, and selling lemonade on the street corner. Dousing oneself with Calamine lotion and pretending the fireflies were shooting stars.
This past Memorial Day, I had brunch with my brother and his family, and we discussed their favorite beaches, and how they recently joined a pool club, too, so their kids could swim. And then the nostalgia kicked in. Suddenly my brother and I were back buying frozen chocolate Charleston Chews from the local snack bar, and slathering on Coppertone before running into the waves, rafts in tow.
In our reverie, I was soothed by the innocence, and how some human traditions can linger throughout time. Maybe the summer sun slows us down, and literally warms us up—warms us back to life again. It’s ironic to me, that a holiday set to memorialize fallen soldiers has become the standard ‘start’ of summer, but maybe that just fits the whole circle of life.
Breakfast with my brother reminded me that summer doesn’t have to be about fitness routines and ‘baring all.’ It can be about living, too, and milking the long, sweet days, when the sun graciously sets later. And later.
Later that evening, on a walk that was supposed to be a run, I stopped and got ice cream—and a lot of it—in a cone. I walked out to the pier and watched the sunset, and the waves, with my porn style and all, and let the mint-chocolate-chip goodness drip onto my chin.
Lara Rosenbaum is a freelance writer and former member of the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team. She lives in Los Angeles with her two fuzzy dogs. You can follow her on Twitter @lara_faye.