With the onset of summer, gone are the days of long, concealing winter coats and oversized, bulky sweaters. Gone is the ability to conceal our flaws with clothing and here are the days of baring as much as possible to battle the heat. Six months ago it was unthinkable to have a barbecue because of the near-freezing cold in winter. But summer is a cut above the other seasons, and outdoor music festivals or concerts, body bonding in the pool, on the beach and everywhere, brings your boredom mercury readings to a record low. With all this summer hype I decided to take a Sunday adventure to get the feel of the real summer wave. I headed to the beach, where the action is.
My first stop is a local open-air bar; it is packed and I learn that France is playing England in the Euro 2004 championship. I finally manage to get a table next to my mate Tony who always drops by for a pint before heading home. He is overjoyed to see me and the enthusiasm with which he embraces me tells me that he must be on his fifth beer.
Quietly I start sipping my Heineken while gazing around. The noise is deafening and it is virtually impossible to follow the football commentary in Italian. A blonde approaches my table and sips my beer. I am not amused and almost ask her why, not before Tony, in a rare moment of alcohol-inspired wisdom utters: Its okay Ludo, thats a kawa, (Swahili for common) thing in Italy; in fact men like it here as it is a sign of interest. I calm down and even invite her to our table. Meanwhile a guy at the bar, who I figure out is Irish, is making lots of noise about how Guinness has spent a lot of time and money teaching bartenders the exact technique of pulling a pint and they still dont get it right. It doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure out that he is already drunk. With all the noise, I seriously start contemplating taking a stroll on the beach or having an early night but the blonde invites over her other blonde female friend to make two couples of us.
This blonde finds it a bit difficult to get into the seat; you know, the seats attached to the table, that require the skill of an acrobat and the balance of a cat to squeeze into. Right then I was almost exploding with laughter, or was it the beer getting into me? I would have bet 100 that she was going to be seated in the dreaded chair till the very end when no one was around to see the craters the sinking chair had created in the ground leaving reminders that she was there.
My friend Tonys thinking tends to be a bit clouded when he is infatuated. All of a sudden he starts bragging in Swahili about how we are the centre of attention because of the blondes in our company. Personally I do not understand the hype. I mean I know that blondes add much-needed excitement to our sometimes mundane lives, but the gibberish they were spouting? I dont get it.
Since I am on a fact-finding mission I excuse myself and wander on to the beach. My first sights confirmed the notion that love blooms on scorching summer nights. Everybody is in a romantic mood with high spirits and the scent of marijuana is definitely in the air. Something that strikes me is fashion. I believe that fashion is a question of taste, and I have no concern with people dressing badly. I have figured out that in the cold weather all you need is heavy clothing but during the summer our hibernating hormones give us an opportunity to be proud of our sexuality.
Honestly, it was really sad to see the large number of people with huge bellies wearing miniskirts, short tops and bikinis, and am sure I am not the only one who does not like looking at that. Social pressure seems to have caught up with us and the drive towards nudity as the super-sexy ideal has taken centre stage in our lives. I would rather see less revealing clothing. The worst example I came across was a lady who had managed to cram herself into a tiny PVC dress that would have looked super if she hadnt been erupting out of it. The sadly comical part was hearing her ranting about how a slim couple looked anorexic and ill. It was slightly ironic that she was able to be disparaging of others whilst seemingly oblivious to her own appearance.
At this point I am just about dead beat and I decide to stroll back, only to meet Tony, very drunk, telling me that the match is over and that the French have won.
And thats just my Sunday. Have a fashionable summer!
Maloba, who is a lay student at the Pontifical Gregorian University, arrived from Kenya six months ago.