Adults are, of course, allowed to bang other consenting adults, and as of this week, they’re also all allowed to get vaccinated against COVID-19. And after over a year of mandated—and necessary—isolation, everybody’s randy. Hell, everybody’s been randy, but the vaccine rollout has finally revealed a light at the end of the tunnel. And for many people, that light is a slutty summer.
Even though it’s still important to stay safe, slutty summer is coming and, from what our sources are saying, there’s no stopping it. Danielle Noguera, CEO of 5 Star Smiles, a Miami business that specializes in cosmetic dentistry, said it’s “evident” that people are preparing for a 2021 season that will make up for 2020.
“Now that [the city] is opening back up, everybody wants to feel their greatest. They want to look their greatest,” she told Lifehacker, noting she’s seen lines outside of cosmetic surgery offices in Coral Gables for weeks, and that everyone she knows is already partying hard. “They want to just get ready for summer, you know? It’s exciting because everybody’s been on a world timeout for a year and a half.”
Planning to join in the festivities and want to stay safe? Here are some tips to help.
Remember that the pandemic isn’t over
You might have followed all the rules since March 2020—worn a mask, stayed inside, declined to see family over holidays, and gotten vaccinated—but not everyone did or has. There are plenty of people who have been eligible for the jab for months but refuse to get it. You have to account for them, and for the people who haven’t had the resources to get vaccinated or the luxury of being able to work from home. People are still dying from this virus.
So first things first: You still have to wear your mask, at least at indoor gatherings, if you aren’t sure everyone else present is vaccinated. (The CDC says if everyone is vaccinated and doesn’t live with an at-risk person, you can be mask-free, but are you really going to ask that question of everyone at a party?) Keep washing your hands, too. Get your vaccine card laminated or stored in a holder, and find out if your state has an app to store proof of your vaccine on your phone. Even if you feel totally over it, keep COVID-19 top of mind.
Think of all the ways you combatted transmittable diseases and infections in your pre-pandemic social life. You’d never share a lip balm with someone who had a visible cold sore. You’d never sleep with someone who refused to use protection or got evasive when you asked about the last time they got tested. COVID symptoms are the new cold sores in this analogy, and masks are the new condoms. Test results are the new… test results. Just incorporate COVID precautions into your existing pre-hookup checklist.
Get familiar with some new pre-pillow talk
You might bust it open a lot in the coming months, but the fact remains that the process isn’t going to be just like it was in past summers. Namely, the days of bringing home a stranger and gaining carnal knowledge without first learning their name are gone.
The allure of an anonymous hookup might be strong if you’ve spent months sequestered with a roommate or family members you know way too much about—but hold off, at least for a while longer. You still need to know a few things about the person you’re trying to smash. Ask them when they had their last COVID test, what precautions they usually take, if they have a high-risk job, and whether they’re vaccinated.
Colleen, a Brooklyn-based 28-year-old and self-described “local ho,” told Lifehacker she’s going to spend the next few months “as naked as possible” and “being completely slutty” to make up for the summer of 2020. Still, she said, she plans on asking every potential partner about their vaccine status, no exceptions.
Drex Clemons, a stand-up comedian, “unabashed freak,” and recently-vaccinated 27-year-old Brooklyn resident, recently re-downloaded his old slate of dating apps and is ready to dive in, but he’s also been starting conversations with matches by bringing up his Johnson & Johnson vaccine to, “see if they open up about getting vaccinated themselves.” Clemons was clear he only wants to get with other vaccinated people, but noted that conversation hasn’t been a hard one to have at all.
“Being vaccinated is the new, ‘I have a dog,’” he explained. That is to say, most potential matches have already written it into their Tinder bios.
Prep with a personalized routine
Clemons and Colleen both said they’ve added a number of steps to their usual self-care routine in order to feel as good as possible, as fast as possible.
Colleen was always a runner, she said, but she started introducing HIIT workouts, yoga, and Peloton rides into her existing fitness routine. She was also always into skincare, but just splurged on top-of-the-line Drunk Elephant products and added new steps to her regimen, along with teeth whitening strips and a new electric toothbrush. A recent move was influenced in part by her desire to have roof access, and after signing a new lease she ordered new bikinis and plans to start getting “fully waxed.”
Clemons’ changes looked similar. He told Lifehacker, “I started going back to the gym, eating better, bought new spring clothes, moved to a better apartment, and updated my furniture.”
He also prepared mentally. Clemons pointed out he had a lot of personal growth in quarantine and no longer feels like the only thing he has to offer a potential partner is sex. From his experience on the apps, he said, he thinks other singles are in a similar state of mind.
“We all spent a year trying to figure out what we wanted,” he said, noting that while he’s encountered aggressively pro-slutty summer users with a Tinder bio instructing digital suitors to “swipe if [they] voted for Biden and enjoy eating ass,” he’s also found plenty of people who explicitly state they’re looking for meaningful relationships after so many months of loneliness.
Trust that if you weren’t among those who did a lot of quarantine soul-searching and self-improvement, you’re not alone, either. There’s still time to get your mind right, if you want.
Noguera added that she’s seen a lot of people embracing cosmetic enhancement after a year off from the beauty grind.
“A lot of people put on uncomfortable weight,” she said. “They’re not taking care of themselves. They haven’t done their hair or whatever it may be that makes one feel sexy or appealing. So right now, it’s just like an overflow of everybody wanting to feel good, look good, spend money, and be outside.”
Embrace the skin you’re in or do a total overhaul. No one has to know you just spent 15 months in your threadbare college sweats if you don’t want them to.
Get back into practice
Have you noticed you’re a little more awkward in conversation now when you do meet someone new? This Lifehacker writer recently bungled an in-person Dairy Queen order so badly that she was tempted to leave without her Brownie Batter Blizzard. Pre-pandemic, talking to people—from hot guys to ice cream servers—wasn’t really an issue.
The moral of this story is you need to stick with it, whether you’re waiting on a frozen treat after forgetting how to communicate or trying to talk with a prospective lover. There’s a reward at the end either way.
Clemons said that even though he’s logged back into the dating apps, he still plans to meet and talk to people in real life as much as possible.
“I’m going to be at outdoor bars, parks, hangs, and rooftops,” he said. “I prefer meeting people in person.”
We won’t lie to you: You might strike out here. But you also might have struck out trying to hit on someone back in 2019 when you had loads of practice, too. Don’t focus on how unaccustomed you’ve become to talking with people; focus on how easy it used to be, and remember you can get back to that point, even if you weren’t always successful then, either.
And here’s some good news: Colleen said she thinks she’ll end up lowering her old standards somewhat “in the name of having fun.” Even if you’re a little socially inept right now, everyone else is, too, so your odds at scoring are pretty high. Get out there—really out there, meaning outdoor bars whenever possible—and have fun. Safely.