E.E. Holmes, 41, a writer in central Massachusetts, sees versions of the phrase roll across her Twitter feed every May. In 2021, she scrolled past posts about Hobbit Girl Summer (living in a shire, eating potatoes) and “Gone Girl” Summer (disappearing mysteriously).
Ms. Holmes added her own to the canon: “Golden Girls” Summer. “I’m thinking, the chilling and the cheesecake and the girlfriends and drinks on the lanai,” she said. “I don’t want to have to shave too much.”
‘The Apex of Living’
Making such predictions may be a way of dealing with the immense expectations of the season.
Beginning in childhood, Americans look forward to summers off from school, from which they might return with bangs or new boyfriends. The season is often the backdrop of coming-of-age stories, from Edith Wharton’s “Summer” to the film “Wet Hot American Summer.” It can also be a time of social upheaval, as in 1967, when nationwide riots against racial injustice coincided with San Francisco’s freewheeling Summer of Love.
There is a pervasive idea that “summer is the apex of living,” said Sheila Liming, an associate professor at Champlain College in Burlington, Vt., and the author of “Hanging Out: The Radical Power of Killing Time.” It is a season of exposure, especially in the Northeast, where warmer weather and more hours of daylight are welcomed after a chilly winter.
“Summer is the season in which we actually live out in public,” Professor Liming said.
Gazelle Mone’t, 29, a stylist, said she felt more pressure to socialize in the summer. “In the winter, it’s cool if you’re just inside,” she said. “In the summertime, it would be fun to kayak, like, not alone.”
Ms. Mone’t began telling people that she wanted to have a Soft Woman Summer, hoping to find others who might skip the club scene and go paint in the woods. She recently took a road trip with friends from Seattle to Joshua Tree National Park, in Southern California.