Let’s admit it: This hot girl summer was a giant flop and it was always going to be
Still disappointed I didn’t spend the summer in a crocheted bikini on a yacht
Back in the deep dark depths of the third lockdown, the prospect of summer 2021 was just a distant dream that we knew was unlikely to come true. We were stuck at home, back in our trackies, bored of Zoom quizzes with only the Duke and his spoon in Bridgerton to keep us entertained. It was a bleak time and no one really thought we would get pints in the pub come May, let alone a holiday abroad. And then the unthinkable happened – Boris announced the out of lockdown plan. Clubs, flights and causal sex were allowed. And that meant one thing and one thing only – hot girl summer was on the cards.
The first time hot girl summer was really in our vocabulary was during the summer of 2019 thanks to the queen Megan Thee Stallion. Back then it meant looking your hottest, sleeping with whoever and generally having the best time. But as the pandemic intensified the term evolved and at the beginning of Spring hot girl summer meant putting no pressure on yourself, prioritising yourself and your mates, and having the best summer in the sun with your Zara dress on and an Aperol spritz in hand.
It was the anticipation of this scene that propelled us through those last winter months of lockdown, because we knew it was now a possibility. We can finally make up for the lost time we had. We’re going to buy anything we want, say yes to every plan, snog that stranger at the bar and travel the world because we deserve it. It was going to be the best summer of our lives and yet now that August has come to a close, it’s time to admit the summer of 2021 was just a giant flop.
The reality of life happened and soon the summer wasn’t as wild and fun as we thought it would be. Plans were being cancelled – someone was pinged, another was working and another couldn’t afford the brunch. The exhaustion of having plans two nights in a row would knock you out and suddenly none of your clothes fit because you spent the last year inside. And it’s not just me, 80 per cent of students we asked said this summer wasn’t as good as they thought it would be.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom. We reached the Euros final, Love Island returned and a lot more of us could go on holiday. So why does it feel like this summer just fell flat?
Well this is the UK so we can easily blame the weather for not adding to our serotonin levels. The threat of Covid is still ever present, even if people have received the vaccination, many students found themselves staying in the week before an event just so they could make sure they were safe.
It appears we were never going to have the perfect summer with the pandemic raging on. But does anyone ever have the summer they dream of? Even this year when there’s been less restrictions 60 per cent of students said they preferred the summer of 2020 than the last few months.
We will never achieve the summer of 2018 again when beer was flying in the air as Harry Maguire scored a goal and Megan Barton Hanson flirted with Wes on the terrace. But were we ever going to get it again? And on reflection were those summers actually that good? Or is it purely our distance from summers gone by that makes them so tantalising?
Despite knowing it would never be perfect we still put a giant pressure on ourselves to have the summer of our dreams. The heavy romanticisation and nostalgia surrounding summers basically sets us up to fail as we pin all our hopes on those blissful months. The hope of an incredible tan, the hope of staying in the park all night because it gets dark so late, the hope of a perfectly cooked burger, the hope of catching an EasyJet flight for a week of Lays and Fanta Lemon.
However in reality the summer rarely happens they way you want it to, instead plans change, people cancel and sometimes you just can’t be bothered. Neuro linguistic programme trainer Rebecca Lockwood told The Tab our internal pressure to make summer amazing is due to seeing the period “as a time to take a rest, a holiday and due to this it can be commonly thought that we have to make the most of it.”
But when we don’t think we’ve made the most of it, the guilt comes in that we’re not living our BEST summer ever and we beat ourselves up. Rebecca explained it’s perfectly common to look back at the summer and not feel like you’ve done enough.
She said: “When we come to the end of anything it can give people the sense that they may have missed out or should have done something different. When things come to an end we tend to look backwards and question if we have fully embraced it.”
Rebecca advises that next year try to manage your expectations and instead take things as they come and be kind to yourself. Most importantly she stresses we can only really enjoy being in the moment when we have no expectations and are present with ourselves and those around us.
So next year don’t be annoyed at yourself that your summer doesn’t look like Dua Lipa and Bella Hadid in their crochet bikinis jetting around the world. Instead embrace the unexpected and be content with a spontaneous tinny in the park.