Holiday No-mance

HOLLY STEVENSON gives advice on how not to get dumped on holiday.

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Forget your two-month expedition into the Amazon rainforest. Forget, even, your draining, 14 hours a day holiday job. The hardest task you will face in the long, summer holiday will be surviving a week, somewhere hot, with your beau.

The big difference from normality is that for a week or two, your boyfriend/girlfriend is possibly the only person who will speak the same language as you and eat every meal with you. There’ll be no ‘hilarious’ friend to break the tension, no lads' night out to blow off some steam. At the same time, holidays are an opportunity to kick back and relax, and be someone you can’t be at home. Therefore, your inhibitions may go, but dignity is often not far behind. So, that crappy Italian accent he puts on that seems so funny and cute on the first day will, by day 7, make you wish there were still lions in the Colosseum. It’s no wonder that a quarter of couples break up after their first holiday together. So, will your holiday be one full of endearing holiday snaps, or the week in which you discover his love of beat boxing?

They say that getting there is half the fun. ‘They’ are clearly the people sitting in first class sipping champagne with enough room to stretch their legs to China. For you poor saps in economy class, or, if you really have no shame, Ryanair, your journey will not be so idyllic. Getting pulled aside in security for no apparent reason, paying a pound to pee, and, when you finally land, finding that even though the airport is called ‘Barcelona Girona’ you practically have to take another flight to get to Barcelona, isn’t conducive to blissful harmony. Either acquire the patience of a saint very quickly, or put your iPod to full volume and pretend you’re already there. If you can’t hear your beloved, you can’t have an argument with them.

Last year, with the endearing but somewhat dangerous combination of naivety and doe-eyed new love, I waved my beloved off at the airport, off to a sun-soaked ‘boy’s holiday’. What I didn’t realise then, unfortunately, is that Magaluf is also known as ‘Shagaluf’. Thankfully, despite his friends’ promising that the trip would all be about ‘booze, beaches and boobs’, he returned with all his limbs and without any major STIs. He told me that he DID go to a strip club, but absolutely, positively, didn’t see anything whatsoever. Of course. And I’m Barack Obama.

So, I suppose the moral of the story is to trust one another. When you’re on the beach, a lot of flesh will be on show. However, I can guarantee that 95% of the sun-worshippers going topless will either be children or old women, who, without the proper support, can sling their breasts over their shoulder. Lifeguard’s honour. So, believe him when he says that he’s actually reading his book, not ogling bikini-clad beauties behind his mirrored sunglasses. Though, unless you know he loves reading Plato’s Republic whilst on holiday, check out his reading material first. Similarly, when she says she’s taking pictures of the scenery, don’t take ‘scenery’ to mean the Daniel Craig look-a-like in teeny-tiny shorts.

Now, ‘they’ (often the same people who travel in first class) say that love is blind. However, it seems that in order for the Ray-Bans to go on, the rose-tinted glasses must come off. Holidays are an opportunity to wear things you wouldn’t normally back in ol’ drizzly England, but there is a fine line between ‘holiday chic’ and Paris Hilton-ridiculous. Don’t wear so much jewellery you sound like a one-man band, even if those ‘authentic’ shell necklaces are hard to resist. The same goes for giant sun hats that can be mistaken for satellite dishes. And the socks and sandals combination is, quite frankly, a justifiable reason for bringing back death by hanging.

Whether you are in Barcelona, Bora Bora or Bradford, you are still in a relationship. And that means tolerance and good humour. If you see things going wrong as anecdotes to tell your friends and fill your Facebook statuses with, everything is a lot easier. Whenever we go away, I personally taunt my boyfriend for his choice of beach footwear at every opportunity; he for my blindingly white skin that will burn if the sun gets so much as a cheeky glance at it. If you become brittle and self-conscious, you may find the tables turned, and it's your socks-and-sandals-wearing partner who finds you less than endearing. And, getting the brush-off by someone with that level of fashion sense is punishment enough.