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Get Your Summer On

Summer's in full swing. Here's your survival dictionary to mastering every skill you need to have the perfect summer.

Shirts, taking off of?

Going shirtless in the summer is one of our inalienable rights, but some days are better than others to play skins. On a bright sunny day with dry heat, you'll be cooler playing hoops or jogging with a shirt, since you won't absorb as many of the sun's rays, says Larry Kenney, Ph.D., president of the American College of Sports Medicine. Lose the shirt on humid, overcast days, when the sun isn't as strong.

Shoes without socks

Casual shoes without socks are OK. Dress shoes without socks? Not OK.

Skim a rock, how to

An in-depth study conducted by a team of French researchers discovered that the key to successful rock skimming is . . . a flat, round rock. OK, they also learned valuable stuff: When chucking the rock, keep the throwing hand back, hold the stone between your thumb and forefinger, and angle your hand 20 degrees to the water, says Christophe Clanet, who led the research team. Remember, you're going for spin, which creates the bounce, so let the stone roll off the forefinger. Because you don't want to break the water's surface, flick the wrist. Once you hit 39 skips, call us--the current record is 38.

Summer Fridays, instituting

How can you steer your corporate ship toward Summer Fridays? "You really can't," says Fortune columnist Stanley Bing, author of What Would Machiavelli Do? "You'll make a name for yourself as a slacker and goof-off, and will then have a harder time slacking and goofing off." Bing's solution: Use legitimate Friday vacation days for buy-some get-some free. "Spread four Fridays off over 10 weeks, and no one will notice you've actually taken five. Just send out a note saying, 'I'm going to be taking Fridays off. I'm not sure which ones, but if I'm not here on a Friday . . .' If you've rented a house, add, 'We're having a BBQ in July and want you to come.' Obviously, no one will."

Sunglasses, choosing

You don't wear the same sneakers playing basketball that you do playing softball. The same should go for your sunglasses. For driving, a pair with brown- or copper-tinted lenses will improve contrast. For water sports, glasses with double-gradient lenses, which are darker on the top and bottom and lighter in the middle, block water reflection. And for games on the sand and on the court, get polarized lenses, which cut reflected glare.

Work, getting time off

You've already burned through your vacation allowance. But today, Al Roker says it will be 82 and sun-drenched at the shore. How to escape? "Better to beg forgiveness than ask permission," recommends Fortune's Stanley Bing. "If someone says, 'Where were you Tuesday?' Say, 'Oh, I'm sorry . . . I'm . . . you know . . . so sorry.' That's better than asking for that day off and having your boss say, 'No. In fact, let's have our staff meeting Tuesday.'" Just use sparingly: People can smell an Omarosa pretty fast.

Touch football, best play in

No helmet and pads doesn't mean no strategy. Here's an ideal play for eight-on-eight--the standard flag-football team size--that gets yardage every time. For the "spread-formation four-man hook," explains Michael Cihon, United States Flag and Touch Football League executive director, you have a "wide out" on each side, 15 yards off-center, and a "slot" receiver on each side, eightyards off-center. With the quarterback in shotgun, receivers run five to 10 yards up field, then cut back two yards. Because defenders play behind receivers, the QB can hit an open man.

Water in your ear, removal of

Grab hold of a wall or fence with the arm on the same side of your body as the water-clogged ear. Stand on the leg of the same side and tilt your ear toward your shoulder. Hop up and down until the water drains out.

Wine, anti-snob summer

In the U.S., sweet rosé is considered the Schlitz of summer wines. But in Europe, winemakers turn out a dry version that tastes more like berries. Now U.S. vintners are producing a Euro-style rosé that goes great at the beach. Brad Hickey, wine director at NYC's Bouley, suggests Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare ($11) from California. And let the snobs scoff.

Women at the beach, how to meet

Sometimes the clichés work. After surveying Orange County, Calif., surfers, who exhibit uncanny skill in this department, we learned that the surest way to meet women on the beach is to ask for sunblock. "Don't ask them to put it on you--that's creepy, dude," says Mike Shaon, manager of an O.C. surf shop. "Three out of four times, it'll lead to a conversation and maybe some beers later." Not to mention how women are impressed by conscientious types. "They know you're taking care of your skin."

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