SUM­MER’S ANTI-HE­ROES

From the peo­ple blar­ing Tinchy Stry­der to sweaty shirt­less men, here’s who to avoid this sea­son

Cosmopolitan (UK) - - Contents - Words AMY GRIER

Maybe it’s the heat. Or the sud­den blast of vi­ta­min D. Or maybe it’s that some clever dick at Ur­ban Out­fit­ters HQ has reimag­ined a new range of ‘nostal­gia’ pic­nicware for peo­ple to lose their sh*t over. What­ever the (highly un­sci­en­tific) for­mula, the re­sult is al­ways the same: sum­mer brings with it a whole cast of char­ac­ters who will be crop­ping up on train plat­forms and in parks near you very soon. Ap­proach at your peril…

1 The MAD party guy

This guy was THE BOMB back in sec­ondary school. Lit­er­ally, that was his name. The. Bomb. He was the guy who threw his school din­ner out of the re­fec­tory win­dow in an act of sol­i­dar­ity with the Big Brother con­tes­tants who were on ra­tions that week. Peo­ple used to stop and whis­per his name in the school cor­ri­dors. Weirdly, not one of them has ac­tu­ally looked at him since 2004. He can­not un­der­stand why this is.“Sum­mer...” he tells him­self as he drifts off to sleep at night.“In the sum­mer, I will be­come The Bomb again.” He goes about this by buy­ing a gi­ant in­flat­able shaped like a hot dog. Be­cause noth­ing says ‘This guy doesn’t just bring the party, this guy IS the party’ like turn­ing up to a land-locked event with a 7ft float. He takes it to pay-day drinks. Peo­ple look at him. He likes this feel­ing. He or­ders a round of shots. Later, he forces the in­tern to snort one. When his boss in­ter­venes, he de­cides now is the time to ‘stick it to the man’ and spews forth ill-formed ideas about ‘the cor­po­ra­tion.’ He doesn’t re­mem­ber much af­ter this. Apart from some­one step­ping over him and his de­flated float say­ing, “Man, you re­ally bombed.”

2 The self-con­scious woman with a hat

Whether it’s a nov­elty pur­chase from a Ma­jor­can mar­ket (that the 80-yearold stall­holder told her would go with ev­ery­thing) or a TK Maxx ‘find’ that some­one had left by the tills – pre­sum­ably be­cause they re­alised it wouldn’t go with any­thing – this woman is wed­ded to her ‘sum­mer hat.’ The prob­lem is, when she bought ‘the hat’ she mis­took the life she ac­tu­ally has (nine-to-five of­fice job, sum­mer par­ties that con­sist of a gin-in-a-tin on a neigh­bour’s sliver of Astro­turf) for the life she wants (sum­mer house in the Hamp­tons, pool par­ties with ca­bana boys). And so she finds her­self try­ing to self-con­sciously style it out in

a Pri­mark tea dress. She feels fraud­u­lent in ‘the hat.’ It is not her. It will never be her. Every­one knows ‘the hat’ is mak­ing her mis­er­able. She can’t dance in ‘the hat.’ It looks nov­elty with ev­ery sin­gle out­fit. And yet she has now com­mit­ted to it. She dreams of a time when the sun no longer shines so she can bury ‘the hat,’ along with any so­cial­me­dia ev­i­dence that she ever, in fact, thought wear­ing it was a good idea.

3 The per­son who is too cool for sum­mer

Iden­ti­fi­able by the fact they wear long-sleeved black or navy cloth­ing, carry an an­tique silk fan on all forms of trans­port, and have been ru­in­ing sum­mer for every­one since 1985. They ‘dread’ the three months be­tween May and Septem­ber – mainly be­cause they think it’s a cool thing to do. They are the ones who re­mind us to stay in the shade, and that mod­est dress­ing can ac­tu­ally be quite ‘cool­ing.’ They would rather eat their own capes than eat on the grass, and take great plea­sure in con­gre­gat­ing in small groups in­side, do­ing ‘in­door’ hob­bies such as photo de­vel­op­ment or kom­bucha brew­ing. They are main­tained by a solid core of iron smug­ness that comes from know­ing they will age half as quickly as those ca­vort­ing around cov­ered in petroleum jelly that smells of co­conuts.

4 That guy on the night train home

At first he is funny. You tit­ter be­hind your mag­a­zine as he makes po­lite ban­ter with the el­derly cou­ple on their way back from a night at the open-air the­atre. He is wear­ing the in­trigu­ing com­bi­na­tion of smart work suit with brown leather san­dals, and ap­pears to have a bot­tle of gin stuffed down his pants. Soon he is bored with the old cou­ple and moves to sit next to the mild-man­nered hip­ster who is read­ing a book on bushcraft sur­vival and wear­ing a hand-knit­ted tank top. “Oi, what’s with the tea cosy, mate?” he snarls. The en­tire car­riage stops laugh­ing and puts their heads down. Tum­ble­weed drifts through the train. He stands up, un­but­tons his shirt and starts singing Tubthump­ing by Chum­bawamba at the top of his voice. Every­one freezes. Sud­denly you hear him com­ing your way. You search fran­ti­cally for your head­phones be­fore you are saved by his phone ring­ing. Thank­fully he spends the rest of the jour­ney ex­plain­ing to who­ever is on the other end where he’s been for the past 24 hours (in a beer gar­den) and why he is on the 11.57pm to Ip­swich when, in fact, he lives in Mar­gate.

5 The per­son who wears ath­leisure to… ev­ery­thing

Ever get the feel­ing that all those peo­ple brunch­ing along your lo­cal high street, pic­nick­ing in parks and strolling around Sains­bury’s wear­ing noth­ing but gym kit and a rosy glow couldn’t pos­si­bly have been ex­er­cis­ing? You are cor­rect. They haven’t. They are the mem­bers of an elite but pow­er­ful un­der­ground guerilla group de­signed to make you feel bad about not do­ing a morn­ing Parkrun. There’s no know­ing how far up this con­spir­acy goes: they could be em­ploy­ees of the De­part­ment Of Health, de­signed to shame the wider pop­u­la­tion into work­ing out more (or they could just re­ally like wear­ing sk­intight, stretchy clothes in pub­lic). We’ll never know. What we do know is that they are one of the Bri­tish sum­mer’s new­est ad­di­tions. Wel­come, leg­ging-clad friends! Mostly seen at week­ends, they tend to oper­ate in pairs and can be iden­ti­fied by their Ap­ple watches, Keep­Cups, rose-gold S’well wa­ter bot­tles and, of course, the fact that they are wear­ing Nike short-shorts and racer-back tops to an evening bar­be­cue. Every­one hates them, but they do not care, be­cause they are so. Damn. Comfy.

6 The per­son who re­ally wants you to know they have been to loads of mu­sic fes­ti­vals

Their right arms are like a bed­post. Ex­cept in place of notches, there are seven murky beige wrist­bands in var­i­ous forms of de­cay. The ends are frayed from be­ing re­peat­edly dunked in pints of Estrella, then dragged through fields of mud, yet they refuse to take them off. Be­cause they have been to a fes­ti­val. And they would re­ally like you to ask them about it. For 310 days of the year, these peo­ple are en­tirely nor­mal. Then sum­mer hits and BAM: they are ev­ery photo taken of Kate Moss at a fes­ti­val ever. They swap work­wear for boho white dresses and wear Hunter wellies when it’s 32° out­side. They pref­ace nor­mal things with the words ‘se­cret,’ ‘for­est’ or ‘silent’: not been to a for­est camp­site then tried silent swim­ming in a se­cret pool? WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? Also, you know those peo­ple who think longer nights are an ex­cuse to play bad acous­tic gui­tar while sit­ting on old fruit crates? Yeah. Them.

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