Posted by: joha5 | June 3, 2010

Summer Means Always Having To Feel Self-Conscious

Summer is upon us, the warm weather isn’t going anywhere for a few months, and the only bad weather we really have to worry about is the occasional thunderstorm that passes through.  To celebrate the pending summer season I bought a couple of pairs of board shorts last weekend and marched right down to the pool to spend my first day of the summer basking in the sun’s hot glow, finish the book that I have been wanting to finish for the past 4 weeks, eat hot dogs, drink an ice-cold beer, and wade up and down the length of the pool. 

It’s funny how relaxing and playing in the sun just never gets old.  But while the activity itself never gets old, I certainly do.  I’m 28 so I’m not even close to knocking on death’s door anytime soon.  I still feel like I am a physical specimen of pure man – although I doubt many others would say the same thing.  I’m 6 feet tall and weigh just under 160 lbs.  I’m tall, I’m skinny, and I’m pretty awkward – especially in a bathing suit.  But what makes me feel better about getting older – and more awkward in a bathing suit – is that everybody else is getting older too.  While I may not be winning any beauty contests anytime soon (or ever), it just takes a quick glance around the swimming pool to see that maybe I’m not so bad after all. 

Always the Bridesmaid, never the Bride!

Make no mistake, I am not vain in the slightest.  I mean, I like to look good when I go out and be presentable in public but I don’t have a specific exercise routine that I follow daily, I don’t have a pressing need to impress people with my physique or looks, I don’t think that I am an Adonis, and nor do I get discouraged when I am around people who are truly physically beautiful.  The only thing that I ask for is to not be the most grotesque person within somebody’s eyeshot.  That’s all.  And I don’t think that is too much to ask for. 

Just by sheer numbers and the law of averages, very rarely have I ever felt like the outlier – beautiful or ugly – in any situation that I have ever been in.  People who live in Washington, D.C. are much more concerned with their careers, family, friends, and social life than they are with physical fitness.  This is not to say that it is not a concern but people around here certainly do not have the same mentality as people on Venice Beach in California, South Beach in Florida, or Super Beach on Mykonos in Greece (yes, it is actually called Super Beach).  In fact, the only time when I felt like a complete and utter leper is when I was on Super Beach in Mykonos. 

Super Beach: My little slice of awkward paradise

Aside from my awkward build and stature, there really isn’t a lot that I can be faulted for besides the sheer girth of my head.  But when I went to Super Beach with my sister a few years ago I couldn’t help but feel like a sickly outcast.  I don’t know whether the name Super Beach came from how amazing the beach is or how amazing looking the people who frequent it are – or maybe a combination of the two – but whatever the reason, it is certainly super.  The beach itself is at the base of a small mountain and is only about 300 yards long in total.  The water is as clear and blue as any picture that you have ever seen in any travel magazine.  The sand is soft and pillowy.  It is a little slice of paradise in the middle of the Mediterranean – and this is before we even get to the people who go there.  Most of it happens to be a nude beach which taken at face value sounds utterly disgusting.  Who wants to go to the beach and see people’s bits and pieces dangling all over the place?  At first I was quite jarred by the whole scene but it is unbelievable who quickly you become accustomed to it.  I almost thought about doing it myself but I figured my sister wouldn’t appreciate that very much.  When I walked onto the beach it was like I was visiting a breeding colony for demigods.  Tanned men, bronzed women, perfectly sculpted bodies.  Any description I give to the people that I saw just would not do them justice.  Imagine the most beautiful person you have ever seen and then multiply them by 100 and you still won’t even be close to envisioning their radiant beauty. 

I spent the day lazing around in the sun and dipping in and out of the Mediterranean but there was no doubt that I was the outlier.  I was pale, skinny, undefined, I had a weird accent, freckled shoulders, and legs that look like they belong to Big Bird.  It wasn’t anything a couple of drinks and a good book couldn’t solve but it was the one time I was cognizant of the way I looked because everybody who was there put me to shame.  In some ways I like to think that people look at me like that when I go to the pools in the D.C. area.  “Oh wow…look at that gorgeous man over there” they’ll say to each other.  “Where did he come from and do you think he is single” they’ll think to themselves.  Even though I’d like to believe this, I am well aware that this is simply not true.  In fact, it is probably the opposite.  “Dear God, look at that pale awkward boy over there” they’ll whisper as I walk by.  “I wonder if he’s sick” they’ll ponder as they look up from their books on foreign policy.  It’s a good thing that I’m not vain because if I was I think I would have committed myself to a mental institution many years ago.  All I know is that I am not going to win any beauty contests – or ugly contests – anytime soon and that is absolutely fine with me.



  1. Jon! Just wanted to tell you I have been a silent reader for a long time. I feel like I am talking to you when I read these which is amazing since it has been at least a hundred years sinc we have seen eachother! Keep it up Jonny!

    • BON!! I can’t tell you how good it is to hear from you and how hilarious it is now that I know you have been a stealth reader for however long! Haha! I couldn’t be happier. Obviously I will need to see you or spend some time with you sooner rather than later. Perhaps a short trip down to New Orleans would be possible later this summer?! Thanks so much for reading my stuff and please keep checking in!

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