Washington - "Summer fling, don't mean a thing," Danny Zuko sings in Grease as he pops the collar on his leather jacket, bragging to his friends about hooking up with Sandy Olsson.
Their summer fling is thrilling, intense, a chance to date someone outside their usual social circle. It seems fleeting at first, but gee whiz - it actually works out for these two! As the movie ends, the couple drives off into the clouds and their friends down below croon about how "we'll always be together."
Grease's songs are still infectious, but the story is several generations out of date. Danny and Sandy met in a fictional 1958; the film was released in 1978. Back then, a fling was an exciting break from a reality where committing at a young age was common.
Now, however, flings abound. You don't need to happen upon a cute lifeguard or carry a watermelon into a rousing party in the Catskills to find one. All you have to do is hop on a dating app.
Wherever you are, someone is always in town for just a little while - travelling, interning, trying to get their life together - and short-term romance is no longer a break from routine. In the Tinder era, it is the routine. As a result, the summer fling has become more tiresome than thrilling - yet another relationship that'll inevitably cool off and leave you burned.