Hailing from a country with the climate of a damp sock in a washing machine, the British have an inclination to harbour hyperbolic fears about venturing to exotic lands. Some vengeful disease will flay our skin and publicly empty our bowel; a spider the size of a Volkswagen Beetle will lay eggs in our face; a freak storm will deposit piranha in our bath. Amidst these wholly rational fears, we Brits often overlook our most common affliction in warmer climes: sweat.
Our photo albums brim with waxen faces leaking gallons of saline effluence, legs like anaemic saplings dazzling the locals with their cadaverous glare. Dark circles proliferate beneath armpits like the encroaching shadows of the Underworld; passersby swoon at the sharp stink of bodily vinegar.
Don’t take this to mean that we’re an unclean people. It’s just that we refuse to allow our biologically ill-adjusted bodies to temper our fervour for the sun. It only takes the weather in London to brighten up for a few seconds and the mercury to pass 15c for us to plaster the parks with our pasty bulks, riddle ourselves with food poisoning at hastily arranged barbeques, and then promptly complain that it’s too hot.
I’m as guilty of such body odour misdemeanours as anyone else. As an overweight teenager in Israel, I steadfastly refused to remove my thick winter fleece out of embarrassment for my adolescent mass, despite near 40c temperatures. Fortunately the material was remarkably absorbent, which saved me the ignominy of dripping too profusely onto holy stones and sacred icons. I had never been so glad to dive into the cool, dusty air of millennia-old churches, where the resident holy men flared their nostrils in distaste.
So much did I sweat while trawling Orlando theme parks at the height of summer that it redesigned my outfit.
‘Dave, is that a design on the back of your t-shirt?’
It’s a pandemic with no foreseeable cure. The chances of keeping Brits away from the sun are about as good as deterring backpackers from visiting Thailand to ‘find themselves.’ There’s a killing to be made in some kind of armpit incontinence pad, or a fresh kitten rental service to mop our brows.
To everyone out there who must abide percolating Brits, I offer this apology; for all the times we shake our heads and mist you with bodily fluid; for the diminutive scraps of material stretched tentatively around our pallid bodies to maximise the exposed surface area of flesh; for how, despite all this, and the vast sum we have paid to visit your country, we will complain at length that it is too hot. I’m sorry.
You can’t even get your own back. Visit us and you’ll realise we complain about the rain, too.
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Category: London Calling