Summer is my season. I’m just happier when the sun is shining, the air is warm and the days are long. I’ve also noticed that it’s no coincidence that summer is also the time of year when I typically find love—or when love finds me.
My propensity for finding summer love took root during my nine summers spent at co-ed sleep-away camp, where it was a badge of honor to have a “boyfriend” as a prepubescent tween, even if the relationship lasted a total of 1.5 weeks and consisted of a “Shabbat kiss” on Friday nights (the only sanctioned “fraternization” at my strict camp) and a slow dance at a “social.” With those criteria, one could easily have two to three boyfriends per summer without being deemed a something unsavory at the tender age of twelve.
When I moved to New York after graduating college, I was introduced to the Hamptons—the beach towns along the South Fork of the easternmost end of Long Island—for the very first time. After being a guest at a friend’s share house, I realized that as strange as it was for eighteen people—many of whom didn’t know each other—to live in a house together for fifteen weekends, I had stumbled upon fertile ground for finding new summer loves.
I’ve been hooked on the Hamptons—and the promise it holds for summer love—ever since. As a result, I have lived in almost every possible share house situation: from the stereotypical multi-member party house with a tennis court, pool and Jacuzzi to the tiny, ant-infested beach shack with four close friends.
And as the composition and atmospheres of those houses changed, so did the nature of the loves I found (or already had) during those summers. Some “loves” were about as deep and short-lived as the ones I had back in summer camp; others turned out to be some of the most important relationships of my life. Because during the summer emotions (and hormones) are as heightened as the temperatures, I’ve learned through trial, error and the occasional success that one must tread carefully through this particular field of wildflowers so it doesn’t quickly turn into a minefield.
In my new novel, LoveHampton, my main character, Tori Miller, trips over fifty “Hamptons Unwritten Rules,” several of which have to do with dating. But these rules are universal and apply not only to the handful of semi-rarefied beach towns along the East End but anywhere where the mercury soars, strappy sandals are de rigueur and the whirring of nocturnal creatures sends pulses racing.
Here are some examples of the unwritten rules of summer love: