College Relationships
The Sex eZine - Love and Romance

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Hooking Up

By Natalie Jones - December 2007.

I remember my freshman year. It was like a soap opera.

I admit classes were not my top priority. Trying to figure out men was. I still haven't figured them out, but I'm closer to the mark and I've stopped worrying about it as much.

I was finally on my own, away from my parents, free as a bird. I could stay up late, deliberately ruin my appetite (because I knew I'd always get another appetite later), go binge drinking if I felt like it, and because I lived in a dorm I was surrounded by hundreds of the horniest creatures on the planet.

Highschool was a nightmare of drama (which in retrospect only prepared me for the worst aspects of college dating). Is he cheating? Is he just using me? How do I know he is sincere? Can I trust him or is it just my hormones, my infatuations getting in the way?

I am always second guessing myself. You'd think being a psychology major would help me determine whether you can truly trust someone, or at least trust them enough with certain things, but it doesn't.

I wanted university to be a whole different experience from highschool and it was. Just not in the way I expected.

We are all idealistic sometimes and I'm a little more so. I wanted my college romance to last all four years and then we could get married afterwards. Such great expectations.

Instead I quickly discovered that college men are really still boys for the most part and are looking to screw around with as many different women as possible.

After all, they too have just discovered their personal freedom and by golly they're going to use it. Some guys had a different girlfriend every week. They'd meet them in classes, during lunch, in the dorm, while shopping, online, at university clubs, during Frosh Week, at the library, standing in line at the cafeteria... I know this because guys asked me out in these locations and the vast majority got either a polite no or a total absence of flirtation.

One of the funniest was a guy who approached me in the library. He saw me in the section on mythology and apparently had an interest in such and wanted to know if I felt the same. Which I did and we ended up having a nice chat before he finally stammered out the question of whether I'd like to go see the re-release of Monty Python and the Holy Grail (which was showing in the theatres again).

And I said yes.

And it was a great movie, I had a fabulous time and I slept with him. We dated for several months and then we eventually stopped seeing each other. It happens.

I think he realized that I was more into my fashion magazines than he was into Dungeons and Dragons, and perhaps that scared him off. The D&D thing didn't scare me off. I watched them play one time and it actually looks like a lot of fun, like interactive storytelling. I think it is the fantasy element that turns some people off.

Hooking up with someone new does come with some obstacles:

  1. Roommates: Obviously you're going to want some privacy when you're alone and the last thing either you or your roommate want is someone walking in. This happened once with D&D boy. My roommate walked in and I was sitting on the bed and D&D boy had his shirt off. Her face turned all red and she backed out. Socks or other kinds of markers on the doorknob is a typical warning sign. Some roommates will do their thing (quietly with music to muffle the sound) regardless of whether the roommate is in the room.

  2. Showers: If you're on a co-ed floor there is very little privacy when the pair of you decide to do it in the shower. Pick a time when not many people are awake. Otherwise they will be able to see multiple pairs of feet under the door and can usually tell who it is by their feet (and gossip spreads like wildfire). Taking a shower together is another way to get away from the roommate.

  3. Interference: Sometimes people on your dorm floor, your friends or your roommate don't like the person you're dating. My roommate told me that D&D guy was a loser but that didn't stop me from seeing him. He was sweet, funny and I liked him. End of story. If my mother can't stop me from seeing a boy my roommate certainly isn't going to be able to interfere. Sometimes this interference takes the form of lies designed to expose a lack of trust. (ie. I saw your boyfriend talking to another girl in the cafeteria...)

  4. Parents: My parents were worried about me and called regularly. Do I need food, money, toilet paper, anything. Then came the questions about school and boys. They wanted to know if I was seeing anyone, how serious it was, who they were, what they were studying and when my parents get to meet them. Depending on how serious the relationship is its probably best to wait it out a bit. Meeting the parents can be rather unnerving for both of us.

  5. Players: There is always going to be guys and girls out there who are just using you for sex. It goes both ways. They're charismatic, they have sexual wants, and they're charming enough to make you think they're sincere. This is one of the benefits of dating stammering D&D boy. He was practically guaranteed to be faithful. Warning signs of players are: Lots of girls phone #s in his cellphone, he doesn't return calls quickly, lots of excuses why he can't be somewhere at a specific time, doesn't answer his phone when he is with you because its probably another girl phoning him. Players are often popular and well-liked, but there is an off-side: They are complete sluts.

  6. Classes: Sooner or later you're going to have to do your homework. My advice is to just do it in advance and then you'll have more time later to spend with your special someone.

  7. Work: If you're working part-time during college you're going to have to keep the commitment if you're intending to pay your bills/rent on time (and without having to get the 3rd degree from your parents when you ask for more money). Don't let your love life interfere with your sleep and your lack of sleep interfere with work. If it does, don't drink coffee. The acid and sugar in orange juice is actually more effective at waking you up.

Long Distance

Long distance relationships is the biggest obstacle of all, which is why I've set aside this special section on it.

When I started university I had a highschool boyfriend who ended up going to a different college. It was tough and it ended surprisingly quick. We both wanted out of the relationship, to learn more about ourselves and look at other options.

The first month alone had a hefty phone bill, the internet just didn't cut it when we were used to daily phone contact.

People change when they hit college. That sudden explosion of freedom lets our guard down and we end up doing things we thought we'd never do in highschool. I joined a politics club, something I had avoided previously because I hated politicians. I just couldn't trust them, but I learned that trust wasn't the issue, the issues were the real issue. Things like global warming, fair trade instead of free trade, and killing people for their oil reserves. I became rather leftwing in my first year alone. I was discovering more about who I was and what I truly believed in.

Because sooner or later the topic of politics comes up and your mate is going to judge you upon your beliefs. You can't say you don't have any beliefs because then you are just plain lying.

Small surprise my next long distance relationship was with a political science major studying at a different university. He was visiting a friend at my university, we met, exchanged emails and he started to visit regularly to see me (and his buddy).

It was difficult but it worked for half a year. Eventually we broke up because he was graduating and going overseas to teach English in Japan. The long distance thing was working because the distance was relatively short. Japan was too far away for both of us.

I think the initial success is because it was already long distance in the first place. My highschool romance died quickly because we both wanted out of it, whereas this worked for us because we already knew what to expect from a long distance relationship (really long emails) and how to go about it. A little experience goes a long way.

It can be heartbreaking however. You end up having such high hopes for the relationship and much of it is due to a mental image you have in your head. We both made very good first impressions and ended up idealizing each other.

There are benefits to having a long distance relationship: More free time, no interference from roommates or parents or friends, and if they are a player you will know about it fairly soon because they won't be emailing regularly and be excited when they send their emails. A sure sign they have moved on is when the emails dwindle (which in my case meant he had met some nice Japanese girl).

So long distance relationships can work and they do have their benefits, but they're only for certain types of people. Players/sluts will quickly lose interest and look elsewhere, and even for regular folks it will be tough even if you do try hard.

It can be rewarding, but only if you work at it.

Facebook Stalking

Our contemporary culture has come up with a new way to keep track of your lover's activities: Facebook.

This can be a tricky matter because sometimes the people on a person's friend's list they either barely know or they might know each other intimately. If they have over a hundred people on their list chances are most of them they barely know. (I get friend requests all the time from complete strangers so that makes total sense to me.)

Facebook is also a huge time waster. People who use it constantly obviously have no life (or are stuck on the opposite side of the planet and are looking for contact in English as my aforementioned ex sometimes does).

Poking people can be creepy but I can understand why they do it... they're not sure if its the same person they're looking for. They are too embarrassed to ask, so instead send a poke. Creepy yes, but I at least understand why they do it.

Some people use their Facebook page as their personal blog, so its full of endless junk about what they just had for lunch, what TV commercial they just watched and how much lint they just pulled out of their bellybutton.

A little too much info I think. Get a life people!

Keeping track of your ex or current boyfriend is also understandable. Trust must be earned and I follow understand wanting to keep tabs on what they are doing. Its not like you're on there 24/7 watching everything they do and analyzing it, its a matter of checking up on them once in awhile.

Which brings me to the matter of stalkers. People (men or women) who go to the same college, workplace or whatever as you do and end up developing a fascination with every little tidbit they can find about you. They memorize this info religiously so if/when they meet you they know what you like, don't like and can try to smooth your way into your heart (and perhaps your wallet).

My advice is keep your profile private and don't post messages on there that aren't okay for everyone to see. Delete junk your friends post you consider inappropriate.

Like all things on the internet you need to protect your personal info. There is no need to post the precise location of where you work, where you eat lunch regularly and the names of bars you go to. Keep it vague. Your friends will know what you're talking about and they're the only ones you really want to chat with anyway.

That said Facebook is still a free personal service. You can still meet people, but be cautious about it. Imagine for a moment if they were saying these things on the street to your face and consider whether you would still go out with them.

People say a lot of crap online that they wouldn't say in real life, partly because they are mostly anonymous and can get away with it. If they're saying something that would offend you in real life chances are this person has compatibility issues and you should avoid them.

Things Girls Do For a Date:

  • 1. Try on everything in our closets, which might I add, usually results in sweating like we just ran a marathon, all while ranting to ourselves about how we have NO clothes (minus the messy heap that was once our closet). God forbid we should be too overdressed, too trendy, too slutty, or look too high-maintenance. Yet, we still need that perfect ‘fit that makes us look adorable… so that he will like us.

  • 2. Email our friends 15 times on Date Day. “Can I wear a dress?” “What do I talk about?” “What’s our code word if it goes bad and I need an excuse to leave?” “What about the awkward silences?” “What if I’m not funny?” and our friends write us back and assure us that we are absolutely fabulous and he will definitely like us.

  • 3. Then the date rolls around and we sit up straight, eat fatty food so we aren’t one of those “Ano girls who don’t eat”, smile so much that our cheeks hurt (I really wonder how Ms. America does it) and bring our A game to the table.

    Why? So he will like us. Like us and want to call/email us. And we will inevitably spend our next few days staring at our gmail inboxes and cell phones. Never thinking we would be so bummed out over an email telling us of a MAJOR sale.

    While that is all peachy (usually nothing excites me more than bras that are 80% off) right now this is not the new email I was hoping for.

    And then, we get the call, we date the guy for a while because he likes us. Just what we wanted and we lived happily ever after. The End. Right?

    Until eventually we realize this guy gets on our nerves and we drop him like a hot potato.

    Why is it that as chicks, we go out and spend our energy trying to get the guy to like us without ever taking into account how we feel about them? Every time one of my friends gets home from a date, I turn into Dear Abby (or in some cases the dude from “He’s Just Not That into You”) and analyze every oh-so-scintillating moment of her date:

    Friend: “And then, he said ‘Oh really? I didn’t like that movie’ and then I laughed. What do you think that means? Why did I laugh? Do you think he likes me? Did I mess it up?”

    Me: half rolling my eyes and half sympathizing with her (and all girls) pathetic tendency to over-analyze every breath she took on the date… “Okay, but did you like him?”

    Friend: “I think so?”

    Some people don't seem to realize that the most important thing is whether you actually like him, not the other way around.

    So I’m passing this thought on to you. Really think about it. We are so caught up on “He’s Just Not That in to You” when in reality, maybe you just aren’t into him?

    Don’t overlook the fact that talking to your martini would provide more interesting conversation. Think about that next time you’re having an anxiety attack over how you have nothing to wear for your next date...

    We worry so much about trying to look good that we don't know how to relax and really determine whether we like the guy in question.

    The whole thing makes me wax nostalgic for stammering D&D boy.

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