The dos and don'ts of a summer fling
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Summer Lovin'1 of 10
By Denise Wolfe
Longer than a one-night stand, more romantic than a no-strings-attached situation, and not as intense as a full-fledged relationship, the perfect summer romance has its own code of behaviors and comes complete with expiration date. Master the art of the seasonal fling with these indispensable dos and don'ts.
Cast a Wide Net2 of 10
Do date outside your comfort zone and your usual circle of friends. Summer's a time for fun and frivolity, and even beach reading is light and frothy. Consistently date older men? Give that hot young barista another look. Always fall for the hard-hat hunk? Try bringing your personal sunshine to a pasty-faced music geek. Which brings us to a don't: DON'T dally with your best friend's brother or anyone else whom you'll have to face come fall.
Make a Splash3 of 10
Don't be afraid to wear a bathing suit or that breezy, colorful frock. Real women have real curves, or no curves, or anything in between. Even Sports Illustrated swimsuit models don't look like Sports Illustrated swimsuit models without airbrushing and Photoshop. Own your body and find a fling who enjoys you just the way you are.
Play It Safe4 of 10
Do use common sense. Wear sunscreen. Drink lots of water. Use condoms. You can be carefree without being careless. So do have a designated friend who knows where you are (and who you're with) at all times. When a fellow traveler in a youth hostel in Edinburgh invites you along to the Isle of Skye, go. Just make sure you're on the right side of the line between adventurous and foolhardy.
Family Matters5 of 10
Don't meet the parents. Nothing says "serious" like Mom, Pops and Muffin the dog. You're not auditioning for the position of Daughter-in-Law; you're simply giving their son the summer of his dreams. Playful, not proper, is the name of the game.
Ready for Takeoff6 of 10
Do keep your passport handy and current. Be ever ready for adventure, and you just might find it. Take an impromptu getaway with your summer companion, or accept a chance at meeting the quintessential tall dark stranger in an exotic, erotic locale.
Group Think7 of 10
Don't date a married man (unless he's married to you). Just because summer's the time for casual canoodling, it's simply bad manners—and terribly tacky—to ignore his wedding vows. Just because you can doesn't mean you should. (If his wife shows up and swears they're polyamorous, then you can reconsider.)
Stay True8 of 10
Don't make promises you don't intend to keep—to him or to yourself. He may not be the man you plan to marry, but he's still a human being and you're (of course) a heartbreaker. Don't lead him on, nor let yourself get carried away. Don't start designing adorable his-and-hers Halloween costumes or scripting your sublime New Year's Eve midnight kiss. Come Labor Day, the perfect summer romance will wilt like so many drooping tulips.
Face Time9 of 10
Do unplug. Turn off your iPhone, your BlackBerry, your iPad, your Tablet. It's time to rethink your Facebook addiction. Pics of your hunky new beau may brighten your profile, but others will know your summer romance is hardly sizzling if you're spending more time online than off. Concentrate on being with him, not posting about him.
Hey, Jealousy10 of 10
Don't use your summer sweetheart to make any back-home beau jealous. (Even if you think he's using that %^&*!!# witch just to get back at you.) In September, you'll have more than enough time to sort through those icky, complicated feelings. But for now, September is a galaxy far, far away. There are still plenty of sun-drenched days and magical nights for playing the vixen with splashin' and passion. As George Gershwin says, it's summertime, and the livin' is easy…