Love is love is love — unless it’s summer love. In which case it’s a summer fling, which is definitely a type of love, if much more fleeting. Essentially, it takes place sometime during the months of June, July and August (duh). Though if endless teen comedies and coming-of-age stories are to be believed, summer flings mostly occur over the course of some kind of summer camp, job or vacation — an even more specific time period trapped within those three months. See: Adventureland, The Lifeguard, Dirty Dancing, Summer Catch, Say Anything…, etc. While they (both summer flings and the movies documenting them) mostly take place in high school and college, no one is immune from them. Most especially us.
Andrew Fiouzi, Editorial Assistant: In the summer of 2010, I was a busboy at a high-end Italian restaurant. On my first day, the owner’s daughter, Ella, happened to be filling in for the usual hostess. The restaurant was bustling and I must have looked pretty hopeless because unsolicited, Ella started to help me bus tables I couldn’t handle alone. I smiled; she winked. It was all very service-industry romantic. At the end of the night, I limped over to her podium and formally thanked her for helping me survive. “Prego,” she responded in her Italian accent before asking me if I’d join her for a cigarette.
After that night, she must have adjusted the schedule so that she could be there whenever I was. Several cigarettes later, we started going out on dates. It wasn’t long before the owner unexpectedly invited me to a private lunch at his “usual” table. He was a cool guy, in that “don’t fuck with my daughter and we’ll be good” sort of way. I think it helped that he thought I was Italian. (I’m actually Persian.)
Ella and I dated from June until the last day before I went back to school. We stayed in touch for a few months afterward, but not much longer after that. I did, however, run into her a few years later. She had married a real Italian guy — not a Persian her dad mistook for one — and they were expecting their first child. None of which stopped her from enjoying a glass of wine and taking a drag from a spliff. It would have been like old times except for the fact that everything had changed—even if some of the electricity remained.
Jeff Gross, Social Editor: I met her the summer before 7th grade at sleepaway science camp in Massachusetts. We sucked face pretty much from orientation to until the final night’s dance. We listened to Black Flag and Prodigy on my Discman, and said “Oi!” a lot. She insisted on having gum in her mouth at all times, even while we Frenched. I made her cry on pick-up day because I refused to say goodbye. For the life of me, I cannot remember her name. Still, I remember everything else.
Tierney Finster, Contributing Writer: My favorite summer fling happened a couple years ago at an illegal rave. The party was called “The Copy Shop” because the host had access to an actual dilapidated copy shop and took it over every few weeks for a night of the L.A. Underground’s most insane grime and trap music. The party and building itself were always dirty and borderline unsafe — i.e., just dangerous enough to encourage even the most Puritan of basics to go wild. And since it stayed open until 4 or 5 in the morning, it inspired an interesting after-hours crowd as well.
One particular August night, I was sitting on the only couch in the whole place, taking a quick reprieve from dancing, when a hot, Armie Hammer-looking blond guy in a formal suit asked if he could join me. I told him that would only be okay if he told me why the fuck he was wearing that suit to this 100-degree hellhole. Apparently, he’d just been the best man in a wedding, which completely seduced me. We smoked a joint and began making out. The lit joint, however, was still dangling in my hand while we kissed, so one-by-one, my shameless, fiend friends gathered on the couch to get high, too.
Since we were proper exhibitionists, these onlookers didn’t cramp our style until he asked me to leave with him, at which point I felt embarrassed to abandon the real loves of my life to go fuck this random, if besuited, stranger. He was undeterred: He asked not twice, but three more times if I was sure I didn’t want to go back to his room with him. It felt like I’d won an Oscar for kissing! Upon his last attempt, my friends just broke into applause, conflating his desperation with my prowess.
C. Brian Smith, Staff Writer: During the summer of 2010, I was writing a story about the Axel Hotel in Barcelona for the Advocate. Alejandro handled press for the hotel and served as my tour guide in Barcelona for five days. Our days were spent eating tapas, drinking white sangria and learning about Antoni Gaudí’s significance on the architecture throughout the city. Our nights were spent drunk, naked and laughing through fits and bursts of broken Spanish and English, respectively. I was certain I was falling in love; he repeatedly referred to the whole thing as a gran paso, or “big step.” I wept in the cab to the airport. We made plans to meet again in Manhattan the following summer, but ended up never seeing each other again.
Miles Klee, Contributing Writer: Summer 2015, New York, the smell of hot garbage in the air. My wife and I were both on OkCupid (long story) and looking for other people to date. I think she wound up seeing an 18-year-old at NYU she wanted to devirginize. I found a brilliant, beautiful French woman my age. She works as a translator for the United Nations, so for security reasons, I won’t give away her name, but on our third or fourth date, she did take me to the U.N. Lounge, where I was wowed by the view, the international buzz and the fact that everyone besides me spoke six languages.
What I didn’t expect was what came next — a total bender. We washed up at a Midtown East karaoke bar where she pressured me into singing “I Would Do Anything For Love” by Meatloaf. It probably helped that she was ordering Ketel martinis at a furious clip. We were drunk and dumbfounded when we got the bill, but laughed it off and set out to her apartment in Brooklyn. This was in the Bushwick “polyamory castle” you may have heard about. The building has been gut-renovated as an urban oasis for hot, horny millennials. There’s a room whose ceiling is covered in bondage equipment. And to think I found the U.N. happy hour intimidating.
We hung around an outdoor fire pit, chatting and drinking with my date’s housemates until she remembered she had chocolate-covered magic mushrooms upstairs. Knowing full well this was a bad idea at 1 a.m. — I was already staring down the barrel of a brutal hangover — I ate them with her.
That’s when she completely spiraled out and demanded we put on a Leonard Cohen album, which we listened to for an hour in her darkened bedroom. I’ll let you guess how much that helped. We woke in the morning wondering what the hell happened and why everything hurt. But it was a glorious summer Saturday, and we had to admit that the night before had been great fun up until the bad trip. After a lazy morning hookup — my favorite kind — we knew we’d be making trouble for another few months at least.
John McDermott, Staff Writer: A “summer fling” must hit a very specific set of criteria to qualify. It must occur during the summer, obviously, but it also must occur with the shared understanding that the fling will end once the moment the summer is over and you go back to your “normal” lives, whatever those may be. By this measure, almost all summer flings occur when you’re in school, and make the transition from summer break to the new school year.
By these criteria, my last summer fling was when I was 19 years old. On a whim, I’d applied to be a counselor at an overnight camp in upstate New York that exclusively catered to New York City kids living beneath the poverty line. To my utter amazement, I got the job, and several weeks in, I engaged in a brief fling with the shy, sincere young woman who tended to the horses and taught the kids how to ride.
This was ideal because unlike the counselors, she lived in town and wasn’t on the campgrounds 24/7. Our only “date” was a group trip to the local Indian casino. We surreptitiously held hands in the car so no one could see, then totally made out when we got back to town.
5/5, would recommend.
Serena Golden, Managing Editor: When I was 17, I did a year of college in Ireland. Before I came back to the States, I decided to spend a month backpacking around Europe while I had the chance. I borrowed a few hundred bucks from a wealthy aunt (I paid her back!) and a tiny backpack from a housemate and set out on my own.
I soon discovered that the continent of Europe has far more Australians than actual Europeans (at least in the summer), and many of them are very attractive. I met Marko, a 22-year-old from Brisbane, at Bob’s Youth Hostel in Amsterdam. We didn’t hook up then, but I was charmed by his wicked sense of humor, his just-out-of-the-army bod and, of course, his accent. So when he invited me to visit him in Prague, where he was going to be teaching English, I said yes.
After a few of the sweetest, most romantic days of my life, I knew I should be moving on. I left Prague for Český Krumlov, a beautiful old town in the south of the Czech Republic. There, I came down with a nasty cold, but I was revived when Marko finished his first week of work and came down on the train to see me one last time.
I haven’t seen Marko since. It’s been 13 years; Facebook tells me he lives in Tajikistan and hasn’t aged well. But the memory remains sharp and poignant enough that I teared up writing this out.
Sam Dworkin, Assistant Art Director: The only consistent fling I had during college was attending summer school. Because summer sessions carried the same weight as regular semesters, taking two drawing classes a week saved my ass from academic probation and being sent to rot in Reno (my hometown) for the rest of my young life.
Like in most rural college towns during the summer, the only thing to do was drink and get into trouble. I specifically remember the night before my first class when my friend had a big party. Being either really drunk or really stupid, I opened a twist-off bottle with an opener, causing the bottle to explode in my hand. I ended up getting stitches on my middle finger about five hours before my first class started. This hand also happened to be the same one I would need to pass my upper-division drawing class. I was able to convince the teacher to let me draw with my opposite hand for the term, which ended up being one of the more challenging things I faced as a young artist.
While I’ve never used that hand to draw again, unlike other summer flings, I’ve at least seen it every day since.