This Viral Summer To-Do List Would Make Judy Blume Proud
07.17.17

While shopping at a Pittsburgh location of Urban Outfitters last week, a woman and her friend came upon the find of a century: an abandoned summer 2017 bucket list. They subsequently tweeted out a photo of it and the rest, as they say, is history.

Translation: It went viral, receiving more than 13,000 retweets, 51,000 likes and 1,700 responses as of today. The internet was, and still is, freaking out. Someone even broke down the list into categories in an excel doc.

That’s because it is no ordinary summer bucket list. Sure, there are a few run-of-the-mill staples, i.e. “Decorate room;” “Go on a picnic;” “Do summer reading;” “Buy Ray-Bans;” “Get a manicure” and “Get a pedicure.” (Those last two objectives are separate items, a decision I appreciate seeing as it acknowledges the whole point of making a bucket list in the first place: the satisfaction of checking things off). But the more niche agenda items are where things really get interesting. Highlights include:

+Pet a giraffe
+Buy 7 bikinis
+Get a little tan

Why a giraffe? I am not sure. They might be the new flamingo at this point. Why seven bikinis? I’m guessing she wants a different one for each day of the week, which I find commendable as a fellow laundry-avoider. Why “a little tan” instead of a lot? I’m chalking that one up to safe sun practices. Regardless of their true intentions, each task’s specificity is a mysterious and delightful treat.

Assuming the list’s unknown author is a teen, it’s not surprising her to-dos involve a handful of seminal sexual adventures:

+Have sex
+hu w/ Jacob (again)
+Get a boob hickey

What’s almost endearing about them, though, is how they’re written in bubbly letters alongside the remains of a childhood innocence still very much intact:

+Camp in backyard
+have a lemonade stand w/ Zoe
+Eat cotton candy
+Tie a message to a balloon and let it go

Endearing, but also a bit bewildering. How old is this girl? Maybe I’m crotchety, but prior to this I placed sex and lemonade stands in separate age brackets. I am 25 and didn’t even know what some of the hookup terminology meant (I googled a lot of it). I just hope she’s approaching the outlined objectives safely — that’s all! I feel a tender protectiveness over any girl who shares my love of giraffes.

As I took in the full scope of this particular agenda, I couldn’t help but think of Judy Blume, whose books so distinctly capture the weird mix of innocence, angst, joy and sex (or “love and other indoor sports,” as one of her characters called it) that accompanies the transition from kid to not. Off-beat coming-of-age movies like The To Do List and The Diary of a Teenage Girl also come to mind. Why are we, as a culture, so collectively interested in the emotional goings-on of teenage girls? I’d call it creepy if I wasn’t totally on board and aware it was from a place of pure, enamored curiosity.

At any rate, it would be a disservice to reduce Blume’s work to the aforementioned indoor sports, and I would say the same of this bucket list. It is ultimately an entertaining, candid window into the mind of an (assumed-to-be) teenage girl on a quest to live out her best summer existence, and it has permanently raised the stakes for summer agendas from now until eternity.

Now please share your summer to-dos below, and excuse me while I go locate a giraffe to pet.

Photo via Getty images by Arthur Elgort.

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