Last week, a friend came in to work with a nasty hangover. When I asked her where she had picked up this unfortunate case of the twelve-hour spins, she listed off the various bars and dance floors that had turned her into some sort of manic zombie overnight. She described it as her last hurrah of the summer. Every year, she said, she finds herself bidding a reckless adieu to the season, as though the first stroke of fall would turn her party girl self into a pithy, pitiful pumpkin.
I’ve seen this all over town: friends throwing up their hands and their cares one final time, just to have their thrills and half-hearted regrets buffered by the warm sun at next-day’s brunch. It’s crazy how many people cannot seem to imagine getting someone into bed without an upper lip stained in sweat.
Summer love is so easy: the varying states of undress, bodies brushed with moisture, exhausted from long days in the sun. Anyone can buy into this. It’s fast cars, and thumping beats; and blockbuster movies with fast cars and thumping beats. We’re sold to the idea, obviously, but it’s a cheap deal, panned off by the sentimental equivalent of a used car salesman.
And it’s nothing that lasts; nothing with maturity or wisdom. Take any of the classic summer lovin’ movies and stand them up next to a movie like When Harry Met Sally. Those sugar-sweet plots dissolve in water quicker than the Pepto tabs you need to stomach them. But see a relationship digging roots for itself amidst the golden decay of September, and tell me that’s not sickeningly beautiful. Or new love blossoming inside the rusty cracks of leaf-jammed sidewalks? That’s not called cute or fun, that’s called something to cry about. If the antique words of our most romantic writers found such amorous inspiration in autumn, why are we ever-clinging to the idea of summer love?
It’s tough to warm up to fall, as certain truths seem to highlight themselves even in the darkened glow of the season’s lengthy dusk. Our days eclipsed minute by minute, we note the shedding of our calendar’s anticipatory scribbles and the silence of streets by ten. We have less reasons to go out, spending more nights at home. And If our summer flings have landed far from reach, we spend that time alone. That phrase “Nothing gold can stay” applies just as much to summer as it does to fall, but when everyone is veiled in summer’s haze, we at least have the illusion that something will stick. Fall, however, gives physical proof of impermanence, the viewable curl and snap of leaves as they start to let go. Wouldn’t we like to sometimes forget that this is how it works?
Naturally, we turn toward durability this time of year. We hang up our summer’s best, delete the numbers of our summer’s worst, and think of couplings as we do our scarves and mittens: requirements for the cold months ahead. Maybe it’s not the most romantic idea to think our human wiring commands us to reach like robots towards another warm mass of hardware. But bodies can stick to each other with more than just their own sweat — with the real want for someone who will help us survive the hibernation. Someone who will share our bowls of homemade miso and Netflix subscriptions and pumpkin spice lattes when we get sick from all the artificial flavoring.
And at the absolute least, it’s the want for someone to share our flannel sheets with. They’re the dark chocolate of woven fabrics, after all, offered for a limited time only. Promotional codes do apply.