It can be easy for the city’s pollen-intolerant elite to forget just how good they’ve got it. The coach from London to Glastonbury next month will be filled with bright-eyed optimists excited about the prospect of a weekend ingesting, among other things, copious amount of fresh country air.
Mere days later, however, the return coach's passengers will have been transformed into puffy-eyed penitents swearing never to leave Mother London's protective concrete embrace again.
It’s not just about avoiding the worst of the nation’s pollen, though. Having hay fever puts you in pole position to really make the most of the full range of London’s career opportunities — the effort to stop yourself from sneezing produces a permanently furrowed brow and intense stare, giving the impression you're paying serious attention to everything your colleagues say. That promotion is surely just around the corner!
Meanwhile, the ability to mask a hangover with a set of (admittedly) even worse symptoms will mean you can still get that pay rise while continuing to ‘network’ late into the night.
London’s hay fever sufferers are also, unlike their peers across the rest of the country, at a distinct advantage when it comes to the dating scene. The tears flowing from your reddening eyes, far from being seen as unattractive, will help con your date into thinking you have a deep, sensitive soul as you traipse forlornly through the Tate Modern.
For those of you more concerned with saving the planet than with personal gain but who can’t bear the humiliation of openly supporting the Green Party, a grass pollen allergy can also be a real boon.
Rather than irritating your friends with moral invective over Facebook, why not spend all of your free time eating honey to help alleviate your symptoms and, presumably, sustain Britain’s ailing bee population?
(Note: the above will only work, according to some beekeepers, if the honey you imbibe is produced by local bees. If you don’t have your own bee farm at home, though, all is not lost – just contact the London Beekeepers’ Association for details of your nearest hive.)
For all these reasons and many more, the growing number of sufferers each year shows that the hay fever trend is really catching on in our great city. There is even talk of a pollen bar, to be opened soon in Shoreditch, where hipsters will be able to sit and sneeze at each other in exchange for a very reasonable entrance fee.
Boris’ planned Garden Bridge, meanwhile, will help turn the Thames into an allergy powerhouse, bringing thousands of pollen tourists to the capital each year.
As the gentrification of London continues apace, it’s becoming increasingly clear who the real drivers of progress are. Hay fever rules.
By Neil Watkins