Summer forces us to seek coolness. The alternative, of course, is dropping dead of heatstroke. • But not all ways to stay cool are cool. Partially submerging oneself in water can be effective, but I have learned it is possible to sweat while actually being in a backyard pool. Confined water does not stay cool in hot places. Toss in a few potatoes, carrots and onions. Then think of yourself as the salty meat in the mix and you get the picture.
And there is the little matter of sunburn. Being the color of a freshly steamed lobster is not cool in any sense.
The stores in the mall do not generally stock fashions that are cool and flattering to the "mature" person. In my opinion, most of us do not have the sort of bodies that wear scanty clothes gracefully.
For women, I recommend "gauze." Cotton clothes that don't expose a lot of skin, are loose fitting and come in nice, bright colors. There used to be a store in Tarpon Springs that sold them. Maybe it's still there.
As for men, there are some profoundly un-cool summer looks that I recommend against. Shorts are fine, but please don't wear them with dark socks and wingtip, lace-up shoes. Not only do they look stupid, sweaty feet are a playground for fungi that are not good for foot health, not to mention the increase in stinkiness. Summer shoes that are ventilated don't have to be sandals, and if you must wear socks, try white cotton.
Recently, I coerced Darling Husband into going to a discount store for some summer togs. I knew I wouldn't get him to actually try things on, but at least he would stand still while I held things up to achieve an approximate fit.
I found a knit shirt, very lightweight, that promised to wick moisture away from his body. Generally, in hot weather, his shirts get very wet very fast, making a laundry stain problem with some shirts.
To our surprise and delight, the wicking shirt actually wicked. Dryness prevailed. In general, I'm not a fan of polyester but a blend of cotton and polyester seems to be a good thing.
Siestas are cool. The heat in the blazing afternoon makes it a bad time to be physically active. You can get up and be busy in the morning and then snooze in the afternoon. Voila, you're re-energized for activity in the evening. Cultures within a certain distance of the equator have always known that siestas are important.
Hats are cool. I like them. I don't really understand why men choose the hats they choose, but any hat is better than no hat. A hat is a fashion statement. It's an opportunity to display your inner Bogart or Hepburn. Avoiding sunburned heads is an added benefit.
Drinking is cool. Keep hydrated! Unfortunately, mojitos, margaritas and daiquiris won't do the trick. Alcohol is dehydrating. (Sigh.)
So now that you're all togged out in loose summer clothes, have a beverage, pull your sombrero down over your eyes, take a snooze.
And be cool.
Sheila Stoll is happy to hear from readers but cannot respond to individual queries. Write her at PMB No. 309, 7904 E Chaparral Road, No. 110, Scottsdale, AZ 85250.