Playlist: Queer Summer Suburban Ennui

There comes a time in many twenty-somethings’ lives when we pack up our belongings and cats from the apartment we turned into our own little sanctuary and move back in with our parents, even if it’s only for a summer. Moving back home has reminded me of how much of a drag the suburbs are. I went to college in a small city with amazing public transportation, a small, but thriving queer community, and sidewalks. Back at home, there are no buses, no trains, no sidewalks (???!??!!), and worst of all, it feels like I am the only queer in the entire universe.

Like yesterday when I tried to take a smoke break on my back porch but ended up having a conversation with Rocco, my 80-year-old Italian neighbor, about his summer produce for 45 minutes. Or when I found out that almost all of my friends from high school have moved back and are all either engaged or married and pregnant. Or, last week when I participated in one of the most exciting activities at home to date — grocery shopping with mom — and was the only person in a crop top! In 2016! In the summer! Where am I?

This playlist encompasses all of the feelings I have being a car-less twenty-five year old in suburbia for the summer: gay, lonely, bored, and confused by my neighbors’ dedications to their lawns. It’s for listless days on the deck eating mangos your mom paid for and being disappointed once again while you browse dating apps. It can also act as an hour-and-a-half dance party for days when you think hitting up a high school contact for a quick hook-up might be worth it. (It’s never worth it. There are other better ways to stay cool for the summer.)

Welcome to My Life—Simple Plan
You Don’t Own Me—Leslie Gore
Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa—Vampire Weekend
Binary Mind—Ra-Ra Riot
We are Never Ever Getting Back Together—Taylor Swift
Cool for the Summer—Demi Lovato
Boyfriend—Tegan and Sara
Vacation—The Go-Go’s
Boy Problems—Carly Rae Jepsen
Golden Coast—Allison Weiss
Misery Business—Paramore
In the Sun—She & Him
Spectacular Failure—Lake Street Dive
Stacy’s Mom—Fountains of Wayne
You Don’t Know Me—Ben Folds
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun—Cyndi Lauper
Dream a Little Dream of Me—The Mamas and the Papas
Mainstream Kid—Brandi Carlile
Wasted Hours—Arcade Fire
Ocean Avenue—Yellowcard
Back Down South—Kings of Leon
Cruel Summer—Bananarama
Lake Song—Decemberists
Rivers and Roads—The Head and the Heart

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Ari is a 20-something artist and educator. They are a mom to two cats, they love domesticity, ritual, and porch time. They have studied, loved, and learned in CT, Greensboro, NC, and ATX.

Ari has written 330 articles for us.


  1. truer & funnier words never written. whenever i open tinder at my parent’s house it just goes “searching searching searching–no new people in your area–searching searching searching…” every day.

  2. I feel you! This sounds like my everyday life. The only queer in a rural village with more animals than humans. Cycling to work. Crossing fields of corn. Although I must say that the summer is the only time I can escape. Countdown to the end of the school year :D

  3. Ah Stacy’s Mom.
    I had my first “is this a crush or am I just in awe of this woman and wish to be as awe worthy” thing on a fellow girl scout’s mom.
    And it has taken me 13 years to realise holy shit my fellow girl scout’s name actually rhymed with Stacy. Whaaaaaat.

  4. SO MANY TRUTHS & GOOD SONGS ON THIS LIST!! I looooove Rivers and Roads, but alsoooo Misery Buisness and Ocean Ave! And STACY’S MOM!! Gurl my lawn looks a mess and I couldn’t care less! Immuna let this playlist ride me out to autumn.

  5. This speaks to me on a spiritual level

    In Portland I look like a Bible seller but in Northern Virginia Iam the only one pairing docs with bike shorts with jean jacket vests

    So many Polo shirts! So much Khaki! I’m surrounded by Agressively Normal Heterosexual People with Costco memberships and 4+ children, and they bring their kids to trivia night at the bar (???!!)

  6. Wow I’m extremely grateful to no longer be a lonely gay in the suburbs but also this is a bangin playlist and I’m gonna listen to it even though I live in Toronto now and I am never far from dozens of queers in crop tops

  7. This speaks to me so much. I’m stuck at my mom’s house in the suburbs for the summer, I have like 2 friends in the wider area and my mom is moving to a town where I will know 0 people. And I totally second the awkwardness of being the only person in a crop top in the grocery store! I can’t wait to get back home to my roommates and their pets and the ability to get somewhere interesting without maneuvering a car through NoVa traffic (or, as the case may be, begging someone, usually my mother, to do that for me). Until then, I guess I’ll be listening to this playlist a lot

  8. I have never felt more connected to a playlist. This is my entire life. Honestly though, I’m so glad we have the internet and safe spaces like this that we at least know that other people feel the same. Thanks for the awesome content.

  9. Yes! This is also my life right now. Even the mango on the back deck. And the army of people from my past that are married/pregnant and living here. What is with the lawn preoccupation? Also the phenomenon of the tv being on, always, in every household? It all feels so alien.

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