I did a post last year on this, and I didn’t think I was going to do it again, but I feel like I should.
I hate watermelon. I hate the taste of it, I hate the smell of it, and I just generally try to avoid it at all cost during the summer. I’m especially sad when it’s the only thing to eat at summer picnics because it looks tasty and refreshing to me, but I know my tastebuds don’t agree.
But what does that have to do with Pumpkin Spice Lattes and the general pumpkin spice obsession that overwhelms every store and cafe during the fall?
Watermelon is everywhere during summer. Everything is watermelon flavored or scented. Watermelon slices adorn almost every summer decor item (unless it’s all covered in cacti). And when I tell someone I don’t like watermelon, they act like I just admitted I don’t know what chocolate is.
Watermelon is to summer, what pumpkin spice is to fall. And yet, considering that, no one gets called basic for liking it. No one is told that enjoying the sweet, refreshing taste of watermelon means everything they care about is vapid and insipid and just generally uninteresting.
I did a little researching (a.k.a. Googling) to see what else I could find in regards to the PSL hate, and one of the big ones was the push for fall before summer has officially ended. Not exactly a valid argument, since everyone claims Memorial Day is the start of summer, when in fact, it’s still spring for another month. And honestly, those of us in the south need as much taste of fall as we can get since we won’t start experiencing it until at least Thanksgiving.
Someone else mentioned it’s the way pumpkin spice takes over everything. Again, not a valid argument considering it doesn’t replace original flavors, but is an addition to. Also, I feel the need to remind everyone of the simple “don’t like it, don’t eat it” life philosophy that shouldn’t be that hard to remember. And these two really go hand in hand. No, you may not like Pumpkin Spice Oreos, but just because they’re out doesn’t mean you have to buy them. You still have the option to buy regular ones. Replace Oreos with literally everything else that’s made into pumpkin spice flavor. Same principle applies.
I finally did see a response that I particularly appreciated, though. The commenter mentioned that part of it is the hate on everything popular. The idea that they’re somehow cooler or more important than people who enjoy things with a basis in pop culture. They also mentioned the misogynistic tones of associating Starbucks in general, and the PSL in particular, with women thus devaluing them. That one may be a bit further reaching than I would have put it, but I can’t argue the overall theme.
Not to go off on a whole tangent about “not being like other girls” (I’ll write a whole blog post about that later), but that’s part of where the hate lies, too. Girls either embrace the “basic” label, and make self-depricating jokes with it as the punchline — myself included — or they are anti anything that could imply they like anything considered “basic” or popular, because they want to make sure everyone knows they’re somehow more interesting or cultured.
So, while you’re sitting there watching the lady order a PSL, maybe stop to consider that this is her one treat or indulgence for the month. Maybe stop to consider that her mom died in February and this is the first time she’s felt truly, blissfully happy — if not also a bit sad — that her favorite time of year is coming. Maybe nothing bad has happened to her this year, but she just enjoys the spicy, warm flavors of fall. You know nothing about her except the she’s buying a PSL. Stop judging.
Whatever your opinion on the PSL and pumpkin spice in general, just remember to maybe be a little nicer to people? If all it takes is a latte to make someone’s day brighter, why would you want to take that away? And just because you’re not a fan doesn’t mean someone else isn’t, and there’s nothing wrong with either.