Consider this your self-care to-do list.
FOR SOME REASON, the older I get, the more summer flings I see turn into summer bummers. If you’re going through a breakup or something similar right now, allow me to be your GBF (gay best friend) for a moment and offer my recommendations for how to turn your blues into a bonafide hot girl summer.
First of all, it’s time to stop playing the supercut of you and him (or her). But I won’t try and tell you how or what you should feel after heartbreak. Instead, I’ll suggest you take a page out of Carrie Bradshaw’s book, circa Sex and the City season 5, episode 1—“Anchors Away”—when, on a solo jaunt around Manhattan, Carrie proclaims, “New York City is the perfect place to be single. The city is your date.” And while we may be 1,600 miles away, her logic still applies in Houston: “There is no end to ways to fill your day,” Carrie says. “Museums, parks, theaters, concert halls, nightclubs, and countless restaurants.” Make like Carrie and rediscover your own map of the city—one that does not involve your ex. There are plenty of beautiful places and fun ways to distract yourself from the pain, so get out there. You deserve it.
Throw Yourself a Picture-Perfect Picnic
He can’t sit with us, and our ladies at Picnics in the City know it. Commission an exclusive brunch for your girlfriends and Instagram the whole thing so he can see how happy you already are without him. Photo ops abound, and Picnics in the City—the first pop-up business of its kind in Houston—will take care of everything from the cute place mats and floor pillows to the cheeseboards and rosé. They’ll deliver anywhere, so the opportunities are endless, from Mykonos-themed poolside picnics to intimate indoor gatherings when leaving the AC is simply inconceivable.
Remember, Gays Just Want to Have Fun
Believe me, we do, so no more tears. Gay bars are the best places to let loose on the dance floor with a little liquid encouragement. A fully charged night begins in Montrose, where you can find the infamous $3 “Blue Ball” shots at Crocker, and the Insta-worthy “We Are Family” neon sign—plus all the men in crop tops dancing to Madonna around you—is there to remind you that you’re never alone. Once your thirst is quenched, make your way to San Jacinto for late-night shenanigans and even more dancing at Barbarella (Friday is ’80s Night) and, of course, Rich’s. I’ll call our Lyft.
Get Out of Dodge
It’s a hot girl summer, after all, but you should check your Bumble somewhere outside Houston. Since you’ve probably used up all your vacation days, a weekend getaway is in order. Call your besties, fill the gas tank, and hit one of our favorites, the charming Gruene, Texas. Taste local wine at vineyards, float the river, and explore the quaint shops that dot the downtown district, just a stone’s throw away from cozy Old Mill Resort. Get to swiping, and meet your new fling for a two-step on the dance floor at Gruene Hall, which carries the distinction of being Texas’s oldest dance hall.
Perk Yourself Up
Okay, if weekend road trips, gay nightclubs, and luxurious picnics aren’t your thing, you can at least appreciate a jolt of caffeine. Houston has no shortage of quaint, tasty coffee bars, and you never know what cute barista might be stirring your cappuccino. Plus, it’s totally acceptable to go solo here—sit back, relax, and journal your inner monologues à la our old friend Carrie B. My favorites: lunch at Brasil full of self-love in the form of a maple almond latte and garden “kabbouleh” bowl with grilled shrimp, the sweet delight of a caramelo iced coffee at Cielito Café, and savoring a Café Bonbon Frio while taking in the sights of the soccer fields directly outside Calcio Café, if you know what I mean.
Talk It Out…Then Toss It Back
Mental health is imperative—sometimes confiding in friends and family just isn’t enough, and we need to call in the pros. Therapy could do wonders for your state of mind, and perhaps that 5 p.m. happy hour near the doc’s office can help take the edge off, too. I’m not here to judge. Check out some of the city’s peer-voted top medical professionals, plus my can’t-miss HH picks: at La Table, the La Provence (gin, lemon juice, lavender bitters); weekdays, 3–6 p.m.); at Le Colonial, the Red Buffalo (vodka, muddled strawberries, Thai basil, Thai chili; $8 during 5–7 p.m. Social Hour); and, at Maison Pucha Bistro, the Beso de Primavera (habanero-infused tequila, guava, lime, agave; 3–6:30 p.m. every day through August). And, aside from a long list of great places to drink in Houston, I’ll leave you with this bit of wisdom gleaned from the cheeky notebook next to me right now: Always keep your heels, head, and standards high.