Katy’s Korner: How does dating as a freshman girl work?

| Staff Columnist

Dear Katy,

What are your thoughts or advice for dating as a heterosexual female freshman?

—Distressed Damsel in Danforth

Dear DDD,

This is a topic I spent far too much time pondering my freshman year. For some people, like myself, dating as a freshman is an unattainable goal, but for others, like my suitemate, it seems to be written in the stars. In my experience, freshman year for some/most straight guys at Washington University is open season and is treated as such. Everything’s about partying and DFMOs (dance floor make-outs) and the purely physical forms of relationships. Girls are ghost-able, vulnerable and unable to ask for a relationship without the risk of the guy deciding to bounce to the next female. Not to say the same isn’t true on the guys’ side of things: I know plenty of girls who have dropped a guy due to clinginess. For some, this is a sustainable and rewarding cycle, a letting loose of primal instincts, a freedom of sorts to just not care. For others, this is a damaging cycle that slowly convinces a person they are unworthy of anything but being used.

When I was a freshman, I was a sensitive young soul yearning for a relationship that required actual feelings, thoughts and an emotional connection that was supportive and fun. I was unfortunately destined for failure. To this day, I could catch feels for a robot living 80,000 miles away—a terrible trait for a freshman year spent looking for guys in all of the wrong places. Good guys weren’t in the Phi Delta Theta basement or in the third row at WILD grabbing my hips unsolicited or lounging about at that sketchy dorm party that wasn’t really fun and was destined to get broken up. These rare artifacts—good, genuine-feeling boys—were hiding out in Olin Library, spending their time at Ursa’s Nite Life or sitting on a bench in Forest Park, wondering where all the good girls were. At least, that’s where they were in my imagination. My first note of advice is that there’s a very small chance you will stumble upon a pro-dating boy exclusively at a party. That’s not where they live. They may frequent the night life, but if that’s the only interaction you have with them, my advice is to abort the mission or have realistic expectations about their expectations. I’m not saying you’ll find them when you stop looking, but you might find them when you stop looking in the dumbest places.

When I caught feelings but nothing worked out, and I ended up crying over a whole roll of cookie dough from Paws & Go, it was because the boys I had caught feels for had the emotional intelligence of sea urchins and the empathy of roaches—and for some reason, I just couldn’t see that. I assumed it was my fault for being a grotesque female specimen undeserving of love and destined to die alone. I am not, and you are not; I was just very ignorant of reality.

cookie dough graphixIllustration by Brandon Wilburn

If a guy only texts you when he’s drunk, or won’t say hi if he’s with his friends, or says he just wants to know what being single feels like, or Snapchats other girls while he’s hanging out with you, or doesn’t remember your name, or seems to want to know as little possible about you or simply says he doesn’t have enough time to date you, then there’s a good chance he’s a bad guy for dating. That is to say, all of these examples are signs that I have missed or have chosen to ignore because I like to pretend to not see things that I don’t want to believe. Some guys will use the excuse that they really like you, but they’re just too busy. It’s embarrassing how many times this has been said to me. No, he doesn’t ‘like’ you because if he did, he would have enough time for you, just like he has enough time for his best friend Dave and enough time to binge-watch “The Office” every night and enough time to tell you he doesn’t have enough time. It’s a mean cop-out used to keep you, the wonderful girl choosing to give him your valuable feelings, around like a rentable toy but never a permanent fixture.

My advice to you is to catch feels. Cultivate those heart sparkles. Let yourself hold your breath after sending that risky text, gossip to your friends about every single detail of your last interaction with “insert covert nickname.” Let yourself have fun and don’t lose faith completely, but choose wisely who you have heart sparkles for, and don’t look for Ryan Gosling from “The Notebook” in a room full of Chuck Basses from season one of “Gossip Girl.” He’s cute, but he’s just a terrible person when it comes to women. If you succeed, more power to you.

P.S.: This might all be a prettier picture than I’m painting based on my own experiences. My friends would describe me as extremely awkward yet extremely confrontational, a mix that I imagine might be associated with singledom. Maybe you’re just better—I don’t know. On the other hand, you have a buddy in the trenches if you’re just as shambly as me.

Have a question for Katy? Email [email protected] with “Advice” in the subject line, or submit via direct message to Student Life’s social media.