The Young and Disenchanted

“Let’s get to the point” – Dating in College, Part I

Posted on: 22 January, 2009

Back when I was younger and whatever the opposite of disenchanted is, I believed that most relationships began the following way:

  • Boy meets girl in coffee shop/independent bookstore/other suitable quirky location
  • Boy and girl talk
  • Boy and girl exchange numbers
  • Boy and girl go out on a couple dates to ensure that they are indeed compatible
  • Then and only then do boy and girl have sex, preferably on the third date (or second, depending on the elasticity of girl’s panties)
  • Boy and girl decide to be in relationship

Then I came to college and discovered that this is closer to what happens in real life (as opposed to romantic comedies):

  • Boy meets girl at frat party when both are drunk, horny and probably high
  • Boy and girl dance inappropriately while I laugh and take pictures to post on Facebook
  • Boy and girl go to one or the other’s dorm room and have sex
  • Boy and girl continue to randomly hook up for a few weeks
  • Boy and girl “talk”
  • Boy and girl decide to be in a relationship

Aside from destroying all faith I ever had in Hugh Grant movies, the college “dating” experience has raised one particular question for me. Why exactly is sexual compatibility the first point on the checklist for so many college-age people when trying to find a potential partner as opposed to mutual interests/shared life goals/lack of a criminal record? From what I’ve gathered, the other people I interact with on a regular basis (i.e. the teenagers that I teach and older adults) don’t seem to have a similar dating trajectory. I thought maybe this has something specifically to do with being at college.

One reason I guess why college is different to the “real world” is that we’re living almost in a kind of vortex: we have no real responsibilities yet (like adults with jobs and bills to pay), and because we live away from home we don’t have to worry about being walked in on doing it doggy style in the spare bedroom with Mark from the coffee shop our parents interfering in our lives as much (like teenagers do). This combination basically gives us a free fun pass to indulge in certain social behaviours without the fear of repercussion.

Although this explanation might explain why people might, for example, take drugs for the first time during college, it doesn’t completely explain why a person would choose to sleep with someone before going on a date with them.

Another explanation could be the situations in which most college couples meet. Thursday through Saturday nights (or Wednesday through Saturday if you have an obnoxiously light class schedule) are party nights on my campus, meaning that the local bars are packed with desperate willing singles who are happy to toss their draws at the most attractive person in the room. This isn’t to say that people don’t meet at the bookstore or the dining hall, but the alcohol at parties and bars helps to speed up the process and save much awkward talk and the “will (s)he/won’t (s)he” agonising that prevents the average college kid from getting some.

Again, this explains the ease with which college students can and do have sex, but not why they choose this over the more traditional dating conventions.

And so, I am at a loss. Am I just being old-fashioned and nostalgic in wanting the old “build up anticipation” method to dating to become more prevalent on my campus? Or am I exaggerating the easiness of the average co-ed? The only real conclusion I can draw is that college students don’t necessarily approach each other with a relationship in sight. After all, even the romantic comedy characters are looking for sex, underneath all that mushy “getting to know you” crap. Maybe college kids are just more honest about the whole relationship thing, and the fact that they’d actually want to go on a date with their sex buddy springs up on them after they bend into 25 different yoga positions while licking whipped cream off their chest. And maybe happily ever after does come after that. If not, no harm done. Just avoid their “come hither” gaze at the next Sigma Chi party you attend while you look for someone new.

Let me know.

P.S. I’ve been on Nelly Furtado since “I’m Like a Bird,” so when she joined forces with Timbaland (one of my favourite producers) on her album Loose, I was a happy motherfucker. “Promiscuous” is still one of my fav club bangers.

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2 Responses to "“Let’s get to the point” – Dating in College, Part I"

I feel you on this. It’s so true. College is really A DIFFERENT WORLD, where certain things that may not be ‘acceptable’ in the real world, are okay in the college world. GOSH.. do i miss those days!

I think you kind of hit the nail on the head with this one. I also think it might be that this generation of college students are highly practical and a bit cynical too hence they are not highly into that romantic comedy crap and realize they have urges and hence go about satisfying those urges. Whatever the case, kids should stay safe. College is meant to be enjoyed hence i say to you go forth and have sex in all positions and with all types of men/women, all races and whatnot. Sanctify your body by giving it the pleasure it deserves

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