Summer Lovin’ Had Me a Blast (By Myself)

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Summer started four months ago and I couldn’t have been more excited for a hot, steamy romance. It was the perfect time to scope out my possible Danny Zuko as I frolicked on the beach in my new swimsuits. The sun was shining day in and day out, the bonfire parties made me feel like a kid again, but there was just one thing missing from this perfect scene─my summer fling. As school approaches to latch its claws into all of my free time, it’s becoming clear that a summer romance just isn’t in the cards. There were no flowers or rolling around in the sand, but there was something a tad bit more satisfying—a hot summer fling…with myself.

Summer nights are the quintessential time to be with that romantic someone. The warm air caresses your bodies and the dark blue sky hangs above you promising an endless night. Cars are rushing by as other couples walk hand-in-hand down the streets arriving at romantic candlelight dinners or cozy movie outings. This time of the year was handcrafted for love. Yeah they say cuffing season happens in the wintertime, but summer is really when the heart-filled emotions pour out of us and we yearn for the connections of others.

As I was daydreaming in my last class of the school year, I just knew this upcoming summer was going to be my time. We’d be that couple screaming out Drake lyrics at a July concert. We’d be those people laughing in the fancy restaurant on Friday night pretending we were mature adults when we were actually just making funny faces at each other. We’d take nauseatingly cute Instagram photos together on our weekly beach day. We’d be…well, you get the point. All of these fantasies filled my head and I couldn’t wait until I stumbled across my temporary prince charming. Would I bump into him at work? Would we meet in one of my summer classes? Have we already met, and I just didn’t know it yet?

As the days became longer and my Netflix options started to dry up, I came to realize that the chances of a summer love were dwindling. Every time I walked outside I saw couple after couple, it was like attack of the lovebirds. My friends were constantly busy with Mike, Ray and Bobby─I couldn’t take it anymore. I decided to take myself out on a date to the movies, instantly questioning the decision as I walked into the theater with my extra-large popcorn and sour patch kids. All I saw were couples on dates. It was Jurassic World for goodness’ sake, is that really a movie worth bringing your bae to?

I sat in the back, slouched in my chair, painstakingly awaiting the start of the movie. Then comes in a young couple walking hip and hip up the stairs to sit right in front of me. I looked up to the heavens wondering what I ever did to deserve this kind of torture. The girl’s high pitched giggles, as she nestled into her date’s ears, rung clearly through mine as if I were sitting right next to her. As the movie played, they started to morph into this mass of body parts, tangled in each other’s arms. If anyone asked me what Jurassic World was about, I’d say there was a lot of kissing involved.

Somehow, after enduring that tangled couple in front of me with my deflated heart beating in my chest, I realized that my lack of summer romance might actually be a good thing. No really—follow me on this. This summer, after spending festival days with my friends and having dinner parties with my family, I found comfort in my solitary life. Yeah I’m at a movie theater alone surrounded by my worst nightmare, but no one is actually judging me for being alone other than myself. Playing on the beach with my dogs at the time felt like an activity for losers, but I actually enjoyed myself and no one cares what I do with my free summer hours. In fact, I’ll bet some unhappy couples looked on and actually envied my independent frolicking.

The “alone” feeling comes and goes throughout the year for us singles, but sometimes it’s more prominent during the summer. The weather is beautiful, time is always is on my side and I want to feel close to someone other than my friends and family. But sometimes, the experiences and memories I make with myself can help me become stronger in the long run. You know what they say, if you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you going to love anybody else?

I proceeded to devour my popcorn while tilting my head to the side to watch the rest of the movie (spoiler: there really isn’t much kissing). My Danny Zuko did not appear in his leather jacket and greased-up hair this summer, but I still had me a blast.

Erika is a senior Communication Studies major at the University of Michigan. She enjoys reading, photography and binge-watching A Different World on Netflix.

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