The holiday season is upon us!
No, I’m not talking about Easter – although that is an incredibly exciting time for my burgeoning diabetes – and no, I’m not talking about Christmas because that would be both insane and incredibly annoying.
I’m talking summer holidays – vacations or “vaycays” as I have come to call them. It is indeed still spring, and spring has only just sprung, but the planning has now finally begun. Short weekends here, long weekends there – it’s all incredibly exciting and overwhelmingly daunting.
It’s all very easy to indulge in a little daydream scenario, sipping espressos by the Champs Elyse and gallivanting around Milan on a wild shopping spree. Maybe you’re dipping your toes into the sand in St. Tropez, or sticking your face into a cocktail on the Vegas Strip. Either way, the sun is beginning to shine, and our suitcases are beginning to tug at their leads, urging us toward the airport like restless pups.
However, when you plan your little paradise escape, who is there in the dreamscape with you? Are you alone? Have you met someone named Pedro who insists on massaging your feet while you drink champagne?
Are you with girlfriends, family, or worst of all – a boyfriend? (Fiancés and husbands need not apply here because you already have them in the bag and they’re probably beyond the point of being scared off by the inevitable disaster that this trip will be.)
The “bikini bod” phenomenon is everyone’s least favorite, and yet it’s the one that has us all by the proverbial balls as we plummet towards the inevitable summer shape shame.
I began my supermodel transformation two weeks ago (it almost always happens directly after my birthday panic before crashing into pizza chaos mid-April) and just tonight managed to run an almost 5K without falling over and dying. I was going to make an obnoxious Facebook status seeking gratification and validation for this heroic feat, but putting it here makes it far more classy, and leaves room for the amazing “I just ran a marathon” status I’ll be making in September. Ha. Ha ha…
Most people by the ripe old age of 25 have their methods of pretending to diet and exercise fully fleshed out -- ordering chicken salads in restaurants, making sure your soup comes WITHOUT BREAD, THANKS and talking incessantly about how you cannot wait to buy the entire new range of Nike Women Super Sexy Gorgeous Sport Wear.
You are met with adoring comments like, “Oh my gosh, Michelle, are you watching your weight!?” To which you will reply, “Yes, well, me and Jason are going to the Bahamas in July!” Brag, brag, brag, boring, boring, boring.
What Michelle isn’t prepared for as her stomach lurches with hunger watching her friends eat normal food is that this Bahamas trip is going to rip her relationship to shreds, and the next time she’s sharing a meal with her friends, they will be prying a 10 gallon tub of ice cream from her vice-like grip as she sets fire to her $500 bikini.
It truly alarms me how many people are completely ignorant to the difference between dating someone, and travelling with them. Don’t even get me started on living with them. Well, do actually. Ahem.
When I was 22, I very foolishly moved in with my then boyfriend for four long summer months. We had been together for roughly the same length of time, so it was a pretty rash decision but I had nowhere else to live and a broken hand so he basically got stuck with me.
At first, it was fun playing house. Doing grocery shopping and redecorating his room (which he definitely did not enjoy as much as I did).
But eventually, the overwhelming boredom of domestic life seeped into our young relationship and slaughtered it like a lamb. Everything we did annoyed each other – by which I mean, everything I did annoyed him.
I was insufferable, as I generally am. I’m not quite sure how he came out of it alive, but I like to believe it has made him a stronger, more tolerant person. Silver lining.
I only ever holidayed with a boyfriend once when I was 19, and all I remember is him vomiting profusely due to a stomach bug that he vehemently denied having before we flew, and then having an enormous fight in Gatwick Airport because I was hungry and had lost my entire make-up bag somewhere between there and our small hotel in Verona. Yes – the setting of Romeo and Juliet. We broke up two weeks later.
Now, perhaps I am being a little unfair. And it is blatantly clear that the common denominator in each of these failed scenarios is me – believe me, I am aware.
But these disasters have completely put me off ever risking it again. Once you are slightly less teenage and a tad more adult, how can you be sure that you can handle these sticky situations?
My best friend and her boyfriend of three years have just taken off to South America for four months. Sure, the photos and anecdotes about llamas will be fantastic, but what about the hilarious stories of sharing weird toilets and scratching each other’s mosquito bites?
As I continue my evening running expeditions and jumping on the chicken salad bandwagon, I am putting out my feelers for summer plans. My beau has mentioned the odd festival that he’s going to “with the lads,” which has to be the most annoying male phrase of all time. Not that I even WANT to be invited (of course I do – desperately) but there’s an automatic exclusion there that makes it all sound so much more appealing.
Is that an instruction to make my summer plans “with the girls” and just leave him out of it? Or do I risk suggesting we do something together?
And with that comes the risk of unveiling my failed fitness regime, my intolerance for foreign foods and general allergy to fresh air/humidity /sand. Also sunburn. The least attractive of all the burns.
This is definitely up there in the Top 10 First World Problems – but what’s a gal to do? Holiday with the man, or without the man?
Do the pros outweigh the cons, and is it time to stop being a giant baby, and just do the grown-up thing? I’ll just put my running shoes back on.