Illustration by Ward Jenkins
If I knew in college what I know now about dating, well, I’d be in exactly the same place I am today, 10 years after graduation — single and still somewhat baffled by men. Seriously, though, I may not be the best person to dole out advice, but I did somehow make it through college and a decade worth of post-college dating experiences, which I believe, in some infinitesimally small way, qualifies me to give guidance to you, my younger brethren. So, here we go . . .
DATING DILEMMA NO. 1 Casual sex in college: to boink a lot or not to boink a lot?
DATING DILEMMA SOLVED The goody two-shoes over at Harvard’s True Love Revolution celibacy club would have you believe that sex before marriage is anathema. Then, of course, there’s Harvard’s Lena Chen (class of ’09), the self-proclaimed nympho, who has chronicled her many sexual exploits across campus in her aptly named blog, “Sex and the Ivy” (sexandtheivy.com).
Yuppie logic aside, I suppose there has to be a happy, healthy medium when it comes to the horizontal tango. But there is a school of thought (which I share) that says too much casual sex in college can be harmful for women. I’m sorry to dabble in double standards here (hey, life’s not always fair, as you will eventually discover, my naïve little friends), but, emotionally speaking (and this may or may not be a compliment), men seem better equipped to handle one-night stands than are the fairer sex. But because our highly sexualized culture, and a powerful collegiate hook-up culture (check out BU Professor Donna Freitas’s recent book Sex and the Soul for more on this), promulgates the notion that the way to a man’s heart is through a great blowjob (okay, well, I’m sure that helps), or the way to true empowerment is through complete sexual liberation, women find themselves engaging in behavior that they often regret the next morning, when the guy’s out the door faster than you can say “fellatio.”
So ladies, if you’re looking for something long-term, try developing another, more substantive connection — intellectual, spiritual, platonic — with the object of your desire first before giving up the goods.
Then again, this is the 21st century, and I did graduate way back in 1999, which means my advice is possibly antiquated. I will therefore concede that there are plenty of collegiate women today who absolutely love to get after it, chasing orgasms like a storm-chaser races after tornadoes. If you firmly believe you’re emotionally prepared for fleeting dalliances, and if you’re in the slim minority of females who can actually orgasm consistently despite the status of your paramour, then I say . . . well, get after it!
And since there will always be horny collegiate women who want to get after it, that’s good news for horny collegiate men who are practically frothing at the mouth to get some. Just don’t overdo it, boys, because the only thing less appealing than a 24-year-old virgin is a hyper-experienced Romeo with a pair of shriveled testicles.
Which is a nice segue into my PSA: please be safe and wear a condom.
DATING DILEMMA NO. 2 Dating a dork: to geek or not to geek?
DATING DILEMMA SOLVED It’s always hard to see yourself dating someone other than your type. So I guess this quandary isn’t just about dating a geek if you’re, say, the star of the tennis team; it’s more about expanding your horizons and dating people who don’t fit the mold you’re used to. But for our purposes here, let’s call attention to college geeks . . . they’re probably the most underappreciated suitors out there (cue the resounding cheers from the MIT peeps).
Remember in Revenge of the Nerds when Betty Childs, the preternaturally gorgeous cheerleader, realizes post-coital bliss that the man in the mask who she’s just boned was not in fact her boyfriend, Stan Gable, but the nerd (Louis Skolnick) who’s been pining after her? Practically blushing from her orgasm, Betty asks Louis about his master foreplay skills. He responds: “All jocks think about is sports; all nerds think about is sex.” So next time a CGI Joe crosses your path, give him (or her) a chance, because once you peel away the layers of dweebism, you’ll not only discover a fascinating mind but a fantastic lover to boot. And, of course, you know what they say: today a geek; tomorrow a computer billionaire.
DATING DILEMMA NO. 3 Losing my virginity: to pop or not to pop the cherry?
DATING DILEMMA SOLVED We all know what the priests over at Boston College (and those Harvard celibacy kids) have to say about this one: abstinence does a body good.