When I was 15, I bought the single for “Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears – and it’s taken me seven years to admit it. Her B-side song was entitled “Autumn Goodbye,” a deeply profound ballad about the pains of summer love. It contained the sage lyrics, “Summer love will keep us warm long after our autumn goodbye.” OK, so she’s no expert on love, obvious in the fact that she’s still changing K Fed’s diapers, but Britney (or her songwriters) did understand the perils of summer love. And with that glorious season upon us, summer love deserves a good bit of attention to ensure that your autumn goodbyes are at least well anticipated.
Whether summer is spent in San Luis Obispo or the retreat is made back to the hometown, where you are treated as an unsung hero for being a – gasp! – college student, the hot season is the ideal time for a fun fling.
To begin with, the three months of summer are surrounded by a haze of evanescence. All parties are fully aware that with September comes school responsibilities (we all know summer school is a walk in the park) and the instant excuse to embrace singledom again. I’ve done the summer love thing, pretty much every summer I went home and another guy from high school suddenly looked hotter for the months spent in Vermont at some tiny college where the girls don’t put out. Sure here are risks – after getting in too deep, you could be sorely reminded of his annoying habit of laughing at his own lame jokes or puking in your parents’ pool (this is all hypothetical, of course). But the beauty of summer love is that you can blow him off after some mutual pleasure and never feel guilty about it.
In a recent conversation with a friend about serious relationships, she decreed that at this age, the shrewd lover should only enter relationships that have a hope of a future, or else there’s little or no point in entwining lives and putting feelings on the line. This is true – she’s wise beyond her years. But summer is the ideal time to remember that we are still young and, let’s face it, still able to get down with a completely unrealistic paramour and blame it on young lust. That option is stripped away in the same moment you are handed a diploma, along with the ability to sponge off your parents and recklessly abandon class (I’m feeling somewhat apprehensive about entering the real world, in case that wasn’t blatantly obvious).
Summer is pure fun, by definition. Internships and summer courses aside, the days are marked by a wonderful feeling of carelessness, mostly because as soon as the last final is done it’s hard to convince any college student that there is a future beyond the waiting keg at your friend’s barbecue. So it’s fine to let this feeling of carelessness make its way into any summer-borne relationship, unless of course you actually still like your fling by the haze of late August. In that case, special care must be made in making the adjustment back to your lives at school, which is no small feat in itself.
Whether the summer love lasts or fades faster than your tan in the rainy season, the warmth left over from the fun should still be cherished as a good memory. Yeah, yeah, we’re getting older and should be more serious about all matters, including love. But have some fun first, and never look back.
Janice Edman is an English senior and Mustang Daily columnist.