I’m counting the weekends between now and Labor Day, crossing them off as they pass.  Even though I love the summer’s long days, the glimmer of fireflies rising from the grass as evening settles in, I’ll be glad when I no longer have to find new excuses for why I don’t want to go to the beach.

Every year in May I realize that I ought to look for my bathing suits, if only to remind myself of what size I used to wear. More than any other single clothing item, a woman’s bathing suit tells her where she is in her life cycle. And the consequences of what have been euphemistically dubbed “lifestyle choices.” I am everywoman.

When I was 20 years younger, I had physical therapy for a bad back. The young male physical therapist demonstrated what he wanted me to do. “Do this,” he said just before… More…

 

When it comes to leisure, the public face of this summer will not be built of Caribbean cruises and European jaunts and August-long seaside rentals, but of state parks and neighbors’ pools. Many people will still enjoy the former, but the latter feels a lot less conspicuous, and that’s a collective self-image we feel we should put forward right now.

It is therefore an especially appropriate time to eschew a decadent trip on the order of, say, an African safari. Its closer and (relatively) more affordable alternative? The American drive-thru safari. It was with a talent for such recession-inspired creativity (Carpool! Eat at home! Don’t go to Africa!) that I recently found myself at the gates of Wild Safari in Jackson, New Jersey — a member of the Six Flags family of amusements that claims to be the… More…

 

The season of popcorn blockbusters, beach reads, summer girls, and boys of summer has arrived. And the only thing missing is the (un)official song of the summer — a ubiquitous pop smash that demands we shake our hands in the air and sing along as though we had not a care in the world.

In 2007 that song was “Umbrella,” by Rihanna; the year before “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley brightened our June, July and August.

So where is this year’s hot, hazy hit? Although New York magazine recently handicapped eight potential summer songs (including Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop,” Leona Lewis’s “Bleeding Love” and Coldplay’s “Violet Hill”), a leading contender has yet to emerge. And at this point, we’re starting to run out of summer.

If you wish to play the game of blame, the death of the monoculture has… More…

It is generally agreed but never specifically discussed that there is a thing called the “summer jam.” I suppose it bears some genetic resemblance to the “summer read.” But the “summer jam” is both a more fleeting and a more dominating sort of beast. There is typically only one summer jam per season and there is no such thing as a repeat. You can only be the summer jam once.

The summer jam is an unpretentious thing. It goes directly to the very essence of pop music, which is to create a sound that is unique enough to catch your attention and almost impossible to ignore. But the summer jam must capture the mind immediately and more forcefully and purely than the pop music hit of another season. This probably has something to do with summer itself. Summer is the season of immediacy, of quick glances and shimmering surfaces. Summer… More…