When you think “college”, what is the first thing that comes to mind? While I hope for many that the thought may include change, hope, education, or higher learning I have an inkling it’s probably not the case. Parties, booze, drug and sex experimentation.
O.K., so I’m exaggerating. Still, the fact stands that partying is strongly associated with college life. I need to start off by saying that I have absolutely no problem with that fact. I love partying, and if you do it responsibly (and occasionally irresponsibly) it can be great. With the right group of people, by drinking just the perfect amount, and by having a good environment partying is heaven sent. It can create some great memories, you can meet new people, and you can even reunite with old friends.
My qualm, however, is that partying can create a very specific culture. Many college parties are not what I described. They are filled with strangers, people you wish would stay strangers, so much booze you puke, and cramped areas. I mean look up the words “college party” on google. You see loads of booze, sloppy people, and girls in precarious positions.
While I am largely a fan of both booze and women the “typical college party” atmosphere can be a dangerous combination. There are very obvious and serious reasons for this, as well as more light-hearted ones which involve comically bad kisses, or throw up. But for the sake of brevity I’m going to ignore these many faults, and look at one specific problem: College Parties murdering Romance.
I’m sure many of you look back on your first kiss fondly: Innocent, exciting, probably a little over-eager. It’s something many people never forget. Now, think about your first kiss with your current beau. If you’re lucky it was after a nice first date, or you were talking, caught each others eyes and it just happened. Now compare this to when you first kiss someone new at a party. Oh, you don’t remember the first kiss? Or maybe you went for the kiss because you were afraid someone else might get it first if you didn’t.
It’s a sad truth that the atmosphere created at a party is essentially sexually competitive. While I know that the real world is sexually competitive, and that of course you always have to worry about someone else swooping in on a new interest, it is enhanced at a party. The booze loosens everyone up a little, and you’re more open with people you don’t know that well. You start talking with someone, and just feel that connection! Well, likely you’re not the only one, and you don’t want to hover around them all night creepily. What do you do? You need to do something that conveys you like them not only to them, but to all your “competition” in the room, as well. So, sloppily, you segway into a kiss.
Of course at this point there are a few things that can happen. They walk away, and brush it off, rejecting you. They kiss you back, and kiss you back again…and again…and again. Or if you’re lucky it’s just a nice kiss. Regardless, it really destroys the dynamic of the first kiss. Having such a great connection with someone, not knowing when it’s coming, the hesitance, the shyness, and the eventual satisfaction.
While maybe it’s foolish to think you’ll meet someone you want to date at a party, sometimes it just happens that way. And maybe that rejected kiss wouldn’t have been rejected if you got some time, sober, to get to know each other. Or maybe you wouldn’t have made out with someone had you gotten some time, sober, to get to know each other. I just wish that parties weren’t some big rush to make out, or to have sex. That you could sometimes just talk to someone nice, exchange numbers, and see what happens. I understand the allure of random hook-ups, and I’ve had a few of my own, but I just wish it wasn’t the norm.
It’s hard to meet new people (Read: “Potential Lovers”) in college after the first year. You have a major where you see the same people over and over in classes. You probably have an established group of friends. Your best bet is at these parties. Yet it seems that it rarely amounts to something more if, the first time you meet someone, you hook up. I mean I love a good make-out, and I love good sex even more, yet some of the magic is in the build up. I want to go in nervously for that first kiss. I want to gain someone’s trust before we have sex. I just want it all to mean a little something!
At the end of the day, it will probably never change. It’s just the way things are, and i’m sure I’ll still involve myself in some random hook-ups out of that perfect brew of National Bohemian, loneliness, and a pretty girl, but I really do wish it were all just a little different.