One of the prevailing themes of “Brat” summer is that anybody can be a 365 party girl and Live That Life Von Dutch. Just break out a sheer white tank top and your favorite pack of cigs, or whatever carefree items speak to you.

But amidst all the memes and appropriation, the meaning gets lost. Sometimes, it feels like only a certain subset of people–rich, hot gay men with lots of friends–can cast their inhibitions aside and work things out on the remix.

On Charli XCX’s Reddit fan page, a “straight white guy” asked whether he can enjoy a Brat summer, despite not viewing his life through sludge-green-colored glasses.

“I’m a white guy, mid 20s, I work at a gamestop and don’t really have much of a social life,” the person wrote. “How can I still have a ‘Brat Summer’? I keep seeing it everywhere but I’m not sure entirely what it means when i just go to work and go home and game.”

To understand the mindset behind Brat summer, one must first remember that Charli is a true gay bop queen, along with other queer-centric stars in the midst of their own breakthrough summers, such as Chappell Roan and Sabrina Carpenter. (Just last summer, the New York Times called Charli, Sabrina Carpenter, Troye Sivan and Carly Rae Jepsen “middle class” pop stars who “aren’t that popular.”

Meanwhile, this summer the grey lady published a “Brat” trend piece.)

As a gay pop icon, Charli is used to speaking to folx who dance on their own, disregarding the predetermined beats of life.

In other words, Brat summer is a mindset. The true fans know… including some straight guys!

“Fellow straight white dude here, having a brat summer to me is just not giving a f*ck and doing what you want as long as you’re not hurting others!,” someone replied.

“This is so cute. Paint ur nails neon green, listen to ur music loud, make ur drinks strong, runway walk whenever possible and stand up to homophobia – transphobia – racism and misogyny,” another person added.

It’s great to see straight men embrace their sex appeal and irreverence, even if they’re many, many years late. Short shorts, for example, have become increasingly prevalent in hetero culture… thank you Paul Mescal!

Yet, there is still some toxic debate, as designer Willie Norris recently explained to the NYT. “This type of granular sartorial stance is something I see straight men participating in far more than gay men,” she said.

One straight dude who’s always wanted in on gay revelry is John Summit, who headlined the Dreamland Pride event in NYC this year. The popular DJ asked Charli this week if she would bless his bratty summer of sin.

But again: don’t let Summit’s Charli fandom twist what it means to be a brat. Originally reserved for “beggars” in tattered rags, the word has undergone a profound change in meaning. “In popular culture, it typically points to the youthful and indulgent,” as the NYT says.

As of many folx told a gay Charli super fan who’s experiencing Brat FOMO of his own, self-indulgence is the best kind.

“You don’t need friends to have a brat summer… BRAT is a mindset, a lifestyle,” a wise person wrote. “Smoke a cig, have a private fashion show as you sort out your closet and listen to the album by yourself, that’s how I’ve been celebrating.”

Exactly! Just keep bumpin’ that–whatever that is–and you’ll be fine!

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