If 2011 has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. Millions of Irish people who professed nothing more than a simple loathing of the British Royal family and the overstuffed pomp of a wedding in Westminister Abbey are, at time of writing, now glued to their television sets, dabbing moistened, nostalgic eyes with tissues. It’s like that everywhere except, possibly, Kleenex HQ, where everyone is capering around with glee at the thought of how many extra units of Balsam they’ve managed to shift.
In January, much of North Africa was a prime tourist destination. Now it’s a war zone. And April of this year has been hot. Unseasonably hot. It’s not so much ‘April showers’ as ‘April exsiccated’ - but that doesn’t trip over the tongue quite as nicely as the aqueous version.
We know who’s to blame for this weather. No, not Al Gore. College students. Sod’s Law has proven itself yet again by making sure that no clouds sully the perfect sky while college students have to stay inside and prepare for exams. We can expect similar weather in June when the Leaving Cert starts.
In the meantime though, we’re stuck with a dressing dilemma. What to wear in this hot weather that, let’s face it, is only hot in terms of Irishness? It’s only real shorts-wearing weather between the hours of eleven and two. Before or after that, summer dresses adorn bluish, goosepimpled flesh (lobster red if they’re lucky).
The weather can be deceptive. It’s always sunny, but it’s not always warm. Irish weather is changeable and our memory is so bad that, in a game of Mastermind, a goldfish would win every time.
Here’s a few tips for people who want to see out summer in style. Since it’s now May, you may want to cut out and keep this column until June, when we inevitably emerge from a ‘Day After Tomorrow’ type blizzard, blinking into the sunlight and in need of a pair of shorts.
1) Always wear sunglasses. Yesterday, today and forever, sunglasses are a perennial and eternally useful favourite. The right pair not only look good, but will protect your eyes from sunlight. You can’t put SPF on your eyeballs - glasses are the next best thing. Not only will you be shielding your eyes, you will also save others from your looks of over-admiration/disgust at the nearest human being wearing what looks like a napkin and three lengths of dental floss.
2) Cover up - I can see what you had for breakfast. If it’s hot, shorts and a tee are fine in almost every circumstance. A bikini is what you wear while sunbathing, not grocery shopping. The only time it’s acceptable for a man to be topless in a densely populated urban area is when he’s working as a bricklayer; then it’s a requirement. Know your environment and if in doubt, don’t go topless. It’s not rocket science.
3) If you are going to go nude, please wear something. I’m not talking condoms (although that’s also an excellent idea), I’m talking SPF. I don’t know what it stands for, or how it works, but it stops me from peeling like a crimson Cheesestring, which is the way it should be. Pop some of this magical unguent on your skin and go have some fun in the sun.
If worst comes to the worst and we end up in a drought situation, we have our bases covered - pre-emptive irrigation with the reservoir of public tears spilled over Will and Kate’s nuptials.