On the Seductive Democracy of a Hot Girl Summer

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I’ve always wanted to be cool and alternative, the type of guy who wears all black and doesn’t dance at parties, whose personality feels as brisk as winter, but something within me cannot ignore the siren song of a basic summer. I’d love to be more Riviera, less Costa del Sol. More Rive, less Gauche. But the sun shines and my poise collapses—it melts like sidewalk tarmac. I don’t want a cool summer; I want a regular summer. More nearby than jetset. I want a crop-top summer. A wet-hair summer. A summer of late nights and lie-ins. Of hydration paranoia and short shorts. Of fizzy pop and junk food and no apologies. Of mules because I can’t be bothered with laces. No zips, please, because this summer is strictly elasticized. Anything too close to the body feels dangerous; this includes fitted jeans and fuckbois. 

What is it about an abundance of UV light that makes everything feel less shitty? Who among us can resist the upward mobility of a summer mood? Not to be too woo-woo or New Age, but the sun is the greatest democracy, shining on us all. I’m less keen on new experiences, new adventures; I welcome the familiarity of every summer before this one. 

And what a glorious summer awaits us, solar-powered, one assumes, by the forthcoming Lorde single. With all the (understandable) COVID-19 anxiety, we’ve earned our anticipation for this summer, like cooped-up chickens on day release. Time moving forward—the season changing—is a comfort, the humming worry of a static world eased for a spell. This is the summer we deserve. 

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Recently there’s been an uptick in talk of a “hot girl summer” and I just want to unpack that before I go skinny-dipping. I appreciate that summer doesn’t send everybody comfortably into a Zola-esque stripping frenzy. I don’t want to feed the narrative that hot girls bare all, that their flesh and body is in any way for public consumption. We all have a picture of a hot girl in our heads, and I want to reimagine that ideal as literally any woman at a high temperature. I won’t clunkily suggest you love yourself this summer like a RuPaul understudy, but two minutes not wishing you were improved in some way wouldn’t do you any harm. 

Summer is restorative, if not reinventive. We’re not new people in summer, in the same way our spring florals broke no ground. Summer is not for looking any different than you do right now as you read this. Sure, it’s pollen-ageddon and your windpipe is itchy as fuck, but this summer is especially for you. I guess it could also be for wearing all black and not dancing at parties. It doesn’t matter as long as you hydrate. 

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