It's August 2021. You've just cracked open your fifth hard seltzer and are now gyrating to the sound of Ava Max while winking intermittently at hot strangers. Hardly anyone recognises you because you're on your third new hairstyle of the month. Later, you plan to hit the clubs. All of them. And then you're going to snog everyone. All the genders. You don't sleep these days because you slept loads in 2020. This summer, you're wide awake.
That's right, baby. I'm talking about hot vax summer – the name that media companies and TikTok users alike have given to the months ahead. More than half of the population here in the UK have now been vaccinated. As of Monday the 17th of May, we're legally able to eat out (in both senses of the word). And by the 21st of June, clubs will hopefully open their doors. Expect derangement and chaos to ensue.
That said, it can be hard to get your mind around suddenly switching from cold, un-unvaxxed spring to hot vax summer without a bit of preparation. So, here's a handy guide to what to expect from the season ahead.
A – Anxiety
Can’t wait for the club, you said. It will be fun, you said. Except, now that you think about it, the idea of being crammed into a dark, sweaty room with 1,000 writhing bodies actually sounds quite sinister. Also, what are you supposed to say to anybody? How do you make conversation these days? What if you open your mouth and all that comes out is a weird honk?
See also: Ass cheeks showing
B – Breakups
Breakups are inevitable this summer, seeing as so many of you all but married your brand new partners during lockdown without ever meeting their friends, family or maybe even seeing them in the harsh light of day or wearing shoes. The good news is that, unlike last summer, you can actually get over a breakup the traditional way: getting smashed, crying and snogging (in that order).
See also: Blow, Botox, balloons
C – The Club
It's been so long since we've actually been inside a club that “the club” has – like heaven, hell and purgatory – become a kind of mythical entity that we can only dream about. In our imaginations it's going to be like Studio 54. In reality it'll just be you repeatedly screaming “play Chromatica!” in the corner of Rowans before promptly throwing up.
See also: Chaos, cute new hair, chlamydia
D – Dating
Rejoice! Dating will no longer consist of exactly one million Hinge messages, one awkward Zoom call followed by one freezing “bench hang”. In fact, you may never have to sit on a bench… again!
See also: Drinking, dicking down
E – Eating out
No more Netflix and nuggs for one. No more crisps and cans for tea. No more “TikTok eggs” or whatever weird shit you've been attempting to recreate in the kitchen. This summer we're eating at tables, on chairs, inside buildings with roofs on them, with food that has been properly prepared.
See also: End of the world
F – Face-to-face conversation
IRL conversations are not going to be easy after over a year of video calls and messages. You can't just walk out the room halfway through a chat and expect the other person to still be standing there when you get back. You can’t just say “lmao” in response to a joke. You have to nod to show you’re listening, and smile or look empathetic at the correct moments. Seems long.
See also: Flirting, fingering, festivals
G – Ghosting
Hot vax summer is essentially the opposite of cuffing season in that nobody is going to want to be tied to anyone else while the sun is out and the options are open. With that in mind, beware of the ghosters, the ghoulies and the “sry I thought we were on the same page?” messages from people you’ve been seeing four times a week for literal months.
See also: Grindr, gossip
H – Hallucinogens
After a year spent locked indoors ordering back-to-back Deliveroo and binge-watching true crime shows, now is the time to “find yourself” again. Maybe that means travelling to a distant country or trying polyamory. Or maybe that just means getting into mushrooms.
See also: Horny, hard seltzers, hangover
I – Ice lollies with alcohol in them
Can you think of anything more blissful than laying on the grass like a slab of raw meat with a tequila and orange popsicle in your mouth? Considering this summer is supposed to be the hottest the UK has seen in a decade, there is no reason to consume drinks that are not also ice.
See also: IRL hangs
Photo: Chris Bethell
J – Justification
Nearly anything can be justified by hot vax summer. Lost your job? Hot vax summer! Made out with your ex’s fit friend? Hot vax summer! Spent £457 of your rent money on Depop and frozen margaritas? Hot vax summer! The magic of HVS is that you can vow to sort your life out in winter, when it’s all over.
See also: Just tryna live your life
K – Kissing
It’s officially kissing strangers season, baby. If you didn’t enter into a committed pandemic relationship over the past year, now is your time to shine. It feels like years since your last kiss so it’s time to do a lip scrub and spend the entire summer kissing someone you’ve just met.
See also: Ketamine, karaoke
L – Low Tolerance
Hot vax summer is all well and good until you remember that your threshold for social hangs that last longer than two hours and drinks that surpass two pints is now extremely low.
M – Must I?
On the same note as above, it's perfectly okay to not make any plans or want to see more than three or four people. This is hot vax summer, not stress vax summer. Just because everyone else seems to be booking festivals and getting their nipples pierced, doesn’t mean that you are failing at post-lockdown life.
See also: Margaritas, Mum
Photo: Chris Bethell
N – NOS
May as well?
See also: Nights out
O – Outfits
After 12 long months of wearing sad tracksuits and sometimes just Big Pants and nothing else, it's time to break out all your most uncomfortable outfits. The tight leather chaps. The complicated string halter necks. The tops whose sole purpose is “tits” and jeans whose sole purpose is “ass”. We believe in you.
See also: OUT out, orgasms, online dating
P – Pressure
You want this to be the best summer of your life, and it could be. The world is at your feet and you no longer only have the options of just “walking” or “freezing in a pub garden”, but more options create more pressure. It’s like how you always expect to have the best New Year’s Eve party hopping through all the events you’ve been invited to, but somehow end up outside in drizzle just as it hits midnight.
See also: Peripheral relationships
Q – Questionable choices
See: J, but also R.
See also: Queer clubs
R – Regret
You will end the summer with a couple of shit tattoos just because you can and it will be a bad idea.
See also: Roaring 20s, reunions
S – STIs
I don't know who needs to hear this, but just because you've been jabbed with a Pfizer / Moderna / AstraZeneca doesn't mean you are now immune from all the STIs you can still catch at 27 years of age.
See also: Soft bois, slush puppies, sex
T – Touch
It’s official, touch deprivation’s year-and-a-half long reign of terror is finally over. Get ready to feel a little spark of electricity every time you graze fingers with a barista or bartender and the first time you’re pressed up against a stranger so close that you feel their sweat drip onto you. That’s living, baby.
See also: Topless
Photo: Chris Bethell
U – Unexpected
This summer, expect the unexpected. You are a different person to the person you were before the pandemic. You have bangs now, and know how to grow your own herbs. You’ve had Zoom therapy and three to four virtual boyfriends / girlfriends. Don’t expect life to return to how it was Before. This is Life 2.0.
See also: UTIs
V – Vax Traps
Post-pandemic horniness will be like nothing we’ve ever seen before and the thirst trap has no choice but to evolve with it. You’ll get your vaccine and post an innocuous little Instagram Story of the needle going into your arm and the flood gates (your DMs) will open. Posts about Getting Vaccinated are the new thirst traps. They’re the mating call, that says that not only are you completely safe to get with but you’re also not part of the 14 percent of people who now “believe the real purpose of a mass vaccination programme against coronavirus is simply to track and control the population”.
See also: Verbal diarrhoea
W – Work
Going back to the office, the smell of microwaved fish and waiting to use the coffee machine isn't very Hot Vax Summer is it?
See also: WAP
X – EXes
Remember how a bunch of relationships dissolved at the beginning of lockdown because of stress and / or logistical reasons? Well, don't be surprised if said exes start sniffing around again now that you're actually able to hook up with new people. Avoid!
See also: xxx
Y – YOLO
Drake was ahead of his time. Bring it back.
See also: “Yeah, go on then.”
Z – AstraZeneca and Pfizer
The reason any of the above is happening. Enjoy!
See also: Zoom face