25 Things I Absolutely Must Do This Summer

It is, at long last, warming up here in Toronto. I have been Googling “When will it get warm?!” for months, so I’m thrilled, obviously.

While Canadian weather leaves a lot to be desired, it does make me especially grateful for new seasons when they appear. I am always making dreamy lists in my journal of the adventures I hope to go on when the weather changes. Here are 25 activities I endeavor to embark on in the coming months…

Drink a mint julep on a patio. Mint juleps are my summertime boozy go-to. They are so refreshing and decadent when it’s balmy outside. Last I checked, you could get a good julep at Clinton’s during the warm months. I also keep hearing good things about Bar Isabel, and I love the classic cocktails and cozy vibe at Northwood. Here’s to lots of cold drinks on sunny patios this season!

Read lots of books. Speaking of patios: there are few leisures more pleasurable to me than sitting on a café patio with a big iced coffee (or mango smoothie) and a fascinating book. I’ve got plenty of good ones to work through this season: Love, Sex, and AwakeningThe Remedy, and I Love Dick, to name just a few!

Make out on a sunny hillside. Look, no summer in Toronto is complete without kissing a cutie in Riverdale Park at sunset. It’s one of the prettiest views in the whole city, and being there with someone I adore always fills me with a sense of renewed hope and optimism. (The Chester Hill lookout, pictured, is also a great spot for makeouts if a picturesque view is your idea of romance.)

Swim naked. I spent several evenings this past winter making out naked with cuties in the heated pool at a sex club. Being naked underwater just feels primally right somehow, when you’re in the right environment and headspace for it. Hopefully I’ll be invited to some lascivious pool parties or beach days this summer. Or maybe I’ll just invite a handsome suitor into my bathtub with me. Whatever works.

Buy a great new lipstick. Summer is traditionally when I rock my brightest pinks and weirdest purples. Having a new lipstick to wear can give you a whole new lease on life. I love going shopping with fellow femmes, trying out a zillion shades on the back of my hand, and buying the one that makes me happiest.

Go dancing. You can really do this year-round but there is something particularly hedonistic about summertime dancey nights: you can wear a short dress or tiny shorts, adorn your face with a healthy sprinkling of glitter, and boogie til you break a sweat. Clinton’s has frequent themed dance nights, and there’s also the Queer Slowdance and so many other spots. I want the unmatched exhilaration of moving my body to beats well into the wee hours!

Get a tattoo. I’ve gotten new tattoos two summers in a row, and maybe I’ll continue that streak this year… I have some ideas percolating but I’m not totally sure yet. Hmm!

Host a party. My get-togethers are usually simple affairs involving pizza, cider, sex gossip, and maybe a few rounds of Use Your Words or “Which Would You Rather Bang?” But low-key though they might be, they’re still nourishing to my soul. Laughing with good friends on the reg is so important that you should pre-schedule it if that’s what it takes to make it happen.

Go on vacation. My main trip of the summer will be for Woodhull, but I’m going to try to get away at least one other time as well. Maybe I’ll go visit friends in Hamilton, Kingston, or Montreal. Maybe I’ll trek down to New York to see Bex. Wherever I end up going, I think it’s critical to escape one’s home for at least a few days in the summer, just to shake things up.

Stay up all night. This is a habit I picked up during high school, when my loosey-goosey summertime schedule enabled me to fuck up my sleep patterns all summer with no repercussions. Now that I’m an adult with responsibilities (not to mention an aging body), this is less possible – but it’s still doable if I time it right. Here’s to watching sunrises from rooftops with babes I adore, and fuelling my jangling brain with coffee that makes my teeth chatter when I smile.

Go on first dates. You can spark new romances any time of year, of course, but they feel particularly salacious and fresh when it’s warm out, I find. I plan to hop on Tinder, OkCupid, or SwingTowns and find some new cuties to romance. Even if none of your rendezvous lead to anything beyond one date, you can still make the most of those dates and have a fun time. Getting to know someone new is an exercise in empathy and communication skills, at the very least.

Celebrate Pride. There are certainly valid criticisms of Pride – its corporatization, its predominant focus on cis gay white men, its tumultuous relationship with police. I still love it, or at least the idea of it. It’s tradition. I love putting on a ridiculous outfit, slathering myself in sunscreen, and shimmying down the street with other rambunctious queers, shouting proud slogans and singing silly songs. I love taking up space as a queerdo and insisting on our importance in this world.

Get breakfast at a diner with someone cute. Grabbing an all-day breakfast after a night of bangin’ (or just platonic hangtimes) is one of my favorite simple joys. Eggs, toast, homefries, coffee, sausage, bacon, and good conversation. What’s not to love?! (My favorite spots for this are 7 West and the Detroit Eatery, but you knew that already.)

Go to an outdoor movie screening. Toronto always has plenty of these in the summer, at Yonge-Dundas Square and in Christie Pits Park and various other places. One of my fondest summer memories is laughing my ass off with a bunch of strangers at a public Anchorman screening years ago; I dressed up like it was the 1970s and we chorused our favorite lines at the screen. Communal movie-watching is so fun!

Try something new sexually. I first received oral sex one balmy July night in 2008, and I lost my PIV virginity on a sweaty evening in May of 2011, so I guess summers are entangled with sexual “firsts” in my mind. Maybe this’ll be the summer I finally get fisted, or go down on someone who has a vulva, or fuck on top of a grand piano, somehow…

Go on a long walk. I love exploring my city when it’s warm enough that I can do so without a coat. Podcasts or songs keep me company in my earbuds, and I go wherever my feet want to take me. Walks always calm my mind and sate my body – and I often have flashes of creative brilliance mid-walk that lead to fantastic blog posts, articles, or songs!

Visit a nude beach. I’ve never been to Toronto’s clothing-optional Hanlan’s Point Beach, and I can already hear my local friends groaning their dismay as I type that. Surely this is the summer when I finally make the trip! Being casually naked around other people is so good for your body image and self-acceptance.

Devour a TV show. In summers past, I’ve gorged on How I Met Your MotherThe OfficeThe L Word, and various others. It may sound trivial, but immersing myself in a fictional world always leaves me fulfilled and inspired. Each new lens through which you view your life gives you new tools and new ideas. I am always trying to broaden my horizons in any way I can, even if I do so by becoming temporarily obsessed with fictional romantic storylines!

Journal at sunrise. I don’t know why all my thoughts feel so much more poignant and important if I have them while the sun is coming up, but they do! I like sitting on a rooftop, café patio, or hillside as the day begins and meditating in my journal about whatever’s bothering me or whatever I’m grateful for. I always feel so cleansed and productive afterward.

Pose for gorgeous photos. Sometimes I think I hear the voice of Future Me whispering in my ear from decades ahead; she always tells me to appreciate what I have now. Part of that, I think, is appreciating what I look like now, because – shallow though this may sound – I’ll never look this young again! I’m lucky enough to have lots of photographer friends; maybe they’d like to indulge me in snapping some sunny glamor shots sometime this summer.

Go out for ice cream. This doesn’t have to be a date, but gosh, it’s cute when it is. You get to debate the best ice cream flavors and make fun of your date’s questionable tastes. You get to giggle at them when they get melted ice cream all over their lips, and then maybe kiss it off ’em. You get to banter wittily, or sit in comfortable silence, while crunching your cones. Like many food-related dates, it’s more about the ritualistic glee of it than the food itself – although, let’s be real, Baskin-Robbins’ peanut butter chocolate ice cream is a damn fine treat.

Wear high heels. I normally hate doing this, but hey, summer is the time for it. Even if I just end up gallivanting to the corner store or local café in my Sofft T-straps or Zara wedges, wearing heels in summer still feels crucial somehow.

Seek out new music. Spotify’s various music-discovery tools make this super easy, so I have no excuse! I love having specific soundtracks for particular times in my life, both because new music makes life feel more exciting and because it can act as a sensory time capsule when I listen to it again months or years later.

Get together with old friends. I have several pals who go to school in other cities but come back into town each summer, and I love catching up with them when I can. We go see improv shows or outdoor theatre productions, get dinner or drinks, and reminisce about old times. It always feels so necessary and uplifting!

Experiment with different identities. Summer is always the time when I try new perfumes or clothing silhouettes, push the limits of my personality, and consider launching bold new projects. The more relaxed climate lends itself better to identity shifts, somehow. I’m looking forward to seeing who I become this year.

What do you hope to do this summer, my loves?


Heads up: this post was sponsored, and as always, all writing and opinions are my own!