Well, dear readers, do you like a romance set in the summer? There’s no denying that there’s nothing better than lolling on the sofa during a heatwave with a cold drink and an engrossing romance (unless it’s lolling on the sofa during a winter storm with a hot drink and an engrossing romance). But have you set your romances in the summer? Or do you have any favorites that involve sun and heat?
Here in northern Japan, we’ve been enduring 35C (95F) temps for more than a week, and Hokkaido is not used to this. We don’t have an air conditioner in our home, and none of my schools have AC, either. We’re on summer break, so when we’re not doing special classes, we’re in a government high-rise, and the summer code-word ever since 2005 has been “cool biz” – it’s an effort to conserve energy which includes shirt-sleeved business shirts, and also keeping the air conditioning on the edge of comfort – I’d guess about 27 to 28 C. (That’s 80 to 82F for the Americans playing the sympathy game at home.) The campaign got a boost after the energy crisis after the 3/11 earthquake, and was lengthened from May to October.
So, I can say for sure that in REALIA, the heat sucks. How about in Romancelandia?
Heatwave + Romance CONS.
It’s too darn hot, and Cole Porter recognized this way back in 1948. (YouTube clip from Kiss Me, Kate 10:55)
I’m pretty sure “Sweet summer sweat” is a fantasy trope. (“Hotel California” Eagles Live 6:48) Stuff STINKS during summer heat, and places stink, and people stink.
When the temperature rise, tempers get short. People get into stupid arguments, and it’s such an effort to be polite. It’s even more of an effort to apologize. If there’s a crowd of cranky people, it can easily turn into a riot.
Lack of appetite. For everything. Ugh.
Heatwave + Romance PROS
After a super-hot day, the cool evening seems like a blessed relief. Romance under a full summer moon? Fireworks by the river? Dancing under the stars? Mmm, yes, please!
While the stink of summer is real, there are flowers blooming, and also many chances to wear scent – a spritz of lemony cologne or a dalliance under the roses . . . and the fresh smell of a newly mown lawn is full of vanilla overtones. Plus, stink means there’s a good reason to have showers!
And let’s talk about summer and water! By the seaside, suntan lotion must be applied, whether you love the person or hate them. The pool is a perfect place to cool down and flirt, and minimal clothing is the social contract! After a hot argument, getting sprayed by (or spraying) a hose (or an automated lawn system) can feel less like aggressiveness and more like a relief.
While I’m talking about arguments, just like a cool evening is so welcome after a hot day, making up is so sweet after a hot and cranky argument. It’s good to get the truth out in the open, and while it’s hard to deal with it in the heat, it’s not impossible.
Countering the lack of appetite argument, the food that is appetizing is often sexy. Popsicles. Ice cream with a cherry on top. Cold drinks that go clink-clink-clink when swirled gently by an MC’s lazy hand. Tapas and other finger foods! Garden tomatoes, ripe off the vine. Hand-feeding a partner with sweet bits of fruit. “Peel me a grape, Beulah!” Do I dare to eat a peach?
Summer clothes are a definite romantic plus. As I mentioned, minimal clothing is de rigeur pool side. Flirty sundresses, handsome shorts, bicep-baring shirts – the loud-printed blouse that flirts with the wind, revealing and concealing the curve of a clavicle.
And once the clothes are strewn, there are the cool sheets – the fan that allows your characters to be a tiny bit louder than usual – the curtains billowing in the summer breeze – the gorgeous afternoon light – the warm summer nights under the cover of darkness.
To tell the truth, when I started to write this blog post, I was afraid the heat had melted my brain and I wouldn’t be able to think of any pros. But now? Oh, I’m so glad it’s summer! Seasons greetings, y’all! If you are in the northern hemi, what’s your favorite summer romance? And if you are in the southern hemi, how do you like a summer romance in the middle of winter?
I’ll leave you with a song from my favorite summer album: kd lang’s “Summerfling” from Invincible Summer.(3:50)