It's officially summer now. Gentlemen, start your Foursquaring.
Finally, Ohioans reap the reward of putting up with all manner of ninth-circle weather the rest of the year. Summer is upon us, and is yours to enjoy.
But! Summer comes with its own set of rules. Too much of one thing and not enough of another can render your summer imperfect, a sin against all sins. A day without sunscreen can put a painful hiccup in your summer that no paper bag can rectify. Wearing socks with sandals may leave you an exile from the world of hot dogs and plastic seat sweat.
The perfect summer is a divine thing, attained only a few years in a lifetime. Will this summer be one of yours? Just follow some simple guidelines to achieve a fulfilling, enjoyable summer that doesn't feel like a thousand knives of fire stabbing your skin with evil sun daggers.
Sunscreen. If you haven't noticed, I know from experience that a bad sunburn can ruin your summer. Unless you want to achieve the Jack Palance look in your golden years, sunblock and / or screen is suggested. Music fests especially - when you're found passed out in a burning red ball of pain by the merch booths, you'll wish you heeded my word.
Scheduling. Fitting the right amount of sun and / or fun into your summer is important. But jam-packing to the point of exhaustion isn't the way to go. Instead of trying to run a gauntlet of Italian sausage sandwiches and pool parties, make sure you know which vital summer events are when, and adopt a "we'll see" approach. If you can't pry yourself from poolside to make it there, don't beat yourself up.
Fashion. Summer is the time to have fun with your look, but don't shoot yourself in the foot - or give them blisters. Have fun with T-shirts, dresses, hats, shoes. But beware new sandals - an uncomfy pair can leave you hobbled for days. Days! Practical, colorful and fun is the way to go. And boys, if you go sleeveless, monitor your B.O. levels. Pits are a privilege, not a right.
Social media. Instagraming a beautiful sunset is one thing, but there's no need to Facebook check-in from the Canfield Fairgrounds bathroom. Moderate social media over the summer; you don't want to live it through a screen.
Music. Summer is a great time to find some new music. There's always one awesome summer song everyone loves. Listen for new sounds wafting from car windows. Make mixes with new songs to play at porch parties or barbecues. Check out new bands at big fests or local shows. And remember, a summer night of romance with a musician passing through town will rarely end with them penning a song about you. That only happened in the '70s.
Do take advantage of patios. Watching a perfect day evolve into a vibrant night from a table full of food, drinks and friends is just the bee's knees.
Don't wear neon. That whole thing is over. Again.
Do travel; don't spend the whole trip on your phone.
Don't forget - only six more months until Christmas.