Tomorrow is the first day of summer in Iceland. The common mythos of Icelandic summer is one of eternal light and endless days. The countryside becomes a green expanse of waterfalls decorated with purple lupins contrasting against black rock. People travel from around the world to blow their budget on SD cards cataloguing the already over catalogued natural fantasy that is Iceland. For those of us who lived through this particularly harsh winter, we anticipate the summer with every stray ray of light that strikes our hail-whipped skin. This is only a set up for disappointment. The best time is the wintertime and summer can fuck off.
The key to happiness, as my guidance-counsellor/mother said, is “to manage your expectations.” If we take pleasure to be the ultimate “good,” then what season gives us the most pleasure with the least pain: winter. Here are the facts:
1. Everyone is better looking in the winter. Sure there are some genetic freaks who have physiques that don’t need fashion to look good, but why bother? Everyone looks good in a tailored jacket and scarves are the height of sophistication. Looking good naked is for porn stars and athletes. I just want a nice fitting pair of pants.
2. Darkness is more romantic. Stealing a kiss on the street in the middle of the night, under the cover of darkness, is personal and exhilarating. Making out next to a waffle-stand in the full light of day has about as much appeal as looking at your pores through a magnifying glass.
3. Every place you enter offers relief. Some of the best moments in life are when you first arrive somewhere—seeking shelter from the storm. You remove layer by layer, hanging up jackets, removing boots, and finally, you sit amongst friends—releasing a sigh of relief. Braving the weather to arrive at a table of smiling faces is a human experience that’s hard to beat.
4. Icelanders have more sex in the winter. Sex is popular because it’s free fun for poor people, so after the crash, it’s a really valuable entertainment option for those with tight budgets and free time. The most common birthdays in Iceland are in August, which doing some finger-counting, means, on average, the babies were conceived in December, the darkest month. It makes sense. There is nothing to do but drink and have sex (unprotected)—plus you look better and it’s darker.
5. Every moment of joy in the winter is a gift and every slight annoyance in the summer is a disappointment. You don’t expect the winter to be anything other than miserable, so every laugh filled night is unexpected but appreciated. Whereas, any cloud in the sky in the summer appears to be an affront to what you are owed for surviving the winter.
I’m sure you’ll have some fun this summer, if we have one, but don’t forget the great times you had this winter. They are precious in that you never counted on them. Every moment of joy was a surprise party just for you. In many ways, the winter is the one that’s always been there for you, right under your nose. Sure the summer has it’s allure, but why stress out chasing the sun, when the darkness provides the perfect environment for candle light.
People will start breaking up now that it’s summer. Everyone is searching for summer flings, long nights, and skinny dipping. Winter will come again, you’ll apologize to your winter lover, and, statistically, secure your relationship forever in the form of a baby.
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