Recently, I was walking around campus, reminiscing about all I’ve experienced in five years at UF: the classes, the shenanigans and everything, including all the drunken hookups and romantic pursuits that have brought me to now.
This got me thinking about how I’ve changed and I thought, “If I could cross paths with my freshman self, what would I say?”
Well, if my freshman self and I have one thing in common, it’s that sex is all we ever think about, so I think I’d start there. How I approach sex, dating and relationships has changed so dramatically over the years that I wish I’d known then what I know now.
For one, I used to think that girls were only attracted to looks, but I’ve learned that appearances are nothing without confidence and a sense of humor. Ask any girl and she will tell you that it doesn’t really matter what a guy looks like -- nothing is sexier than a guy who’s sure of himself and can make her laugh.
The fear of rejection was once my roadblock, but I’ve learned that feeling never goes away. A man who hesitates, masturbates, so you’ve got to ask yourself, “What do you have to lose? No one can blame you for trying, and with enough practice you’ll succeed more often than you fail.
I used to refuse to play into a girl’s games. Things like fishing for compliments or setting up little tests were childish behaviors, I thought. But everyone plays these games. The entire process is a game, and the little things girls do are all a part of the hunt. Playing cat and mouse makes the reward all the more satisfying.
When it comes to hooking up, I used to think only guys were interested in casual sex while girls were constantly reaching for committed relationships. But libido doesn’t discriminate – They want it just as much as we do, and they’re just as capable of separating sex and feelings.
Lastly, when I came to college I thought that I had everything figured out. Now I realize that in the art of love, there are no masters, only students. The most important thing I’ve learned is that you should be true to yourself and never compromise your values.
When I first stepped onto this campus four years ago, my dating IQ was lower than anyone could imagine.
This is probably why a large part of my dating history reads less like a Nicholas Sparks novel and more like a novel that begins at Gator City and ends with an awkward morning and a next-night text that reads, “Hey, let’s sex.”
For a while, this life was kind of fun, which is why if I had the chance to speak to 18-year-old me now, I would first tell her to enjoy it. I don’t regret any of the admittedly scandalous things I did after sorority socials or hours of tailgating, even now that I realize how dumb it all was. I’m not saying you should abandon all self-respect, but don’t take yourself so seriously that you never get to enjoy shacking with one person while texting another.
But this ride gets old after a while. And when I got over the meaningless make-outs, it would’ve been nice to know the things I know now.
First, I thought that “real dates” were just a thing of the past. But ladies, if a guy likes you and he’s at all worth your time, he will make the effort to hang out with you in a public place at a normal hour.
I also used to think any contact was good contact. If he was calling me, drunk or otherwise, it meant he actually liked me. But I’ve learned, the hard way, that what our mothers have been warning us all along has always been true and will always be true: He just wants to get in your pants. If he only contacts you while at the bar, he wants to nail you later and think about you never.
Once I learned these things, I was able to weed out a ton of losers. But then I fell into the trap of worrying non-stop about being too forward. I labored over clever text messages for hours, only to decide finally that I saw him two days ago and it was “too soon.”
Don’t get caught up in all the stupid boundaries we make up in our heads when we’re interested in someone—they’re just a manifestation of our fear of rejection.
If he likes you, he’ll call you. If he likes you, he’ll want to hear from you. If he likes you, he won’t stop liking you because you’ve made it clear you like him. If he likes you, he won’t be pissed that you don’t want to sleep with him right away.
And if he doesn’t like you, then forget him and move on.