In our last American Presidency lecture, Wendy Schiller (one of my favorite professors at Brown/people in the entire world) took our final moments together as a class to talk about life and love. One of her main theses was, “If someone is mean to you, they don’t love you.” And with that one thought, I knew what I would write my Senior Send-Off about. Throughout my tenure at Blog, I have tried to back up my articles with real anecdotes from my own life. With this one, my last, I am going to attempt to sum up everything about love and sex that I have learned in the last few years. Most importantly, I want to make clear that loving and respecting yourself is the key to finding your own internal happiness, and as a result, finding the love you deserve.
When I entered college (what feels like eons ago), 15 pounds lighter than I had been in high school and with a blank slate, I was determined to set myself up for romantic success. I flirted hard, and DFMO’d harder. I definitely wanted a significant other, but I had to admit: the adventure along the way was pretty fun. I became comfortable with other people seeing me naked. I lost my virginity. I perfected my blow job technique. I took everything that happened in stride, whether it was someone I had hooked up with blowing me off, or doing the same to someone interested in me. I was exploring entirely new territory and was happy to take the battle scars along the way.
Sophomore year, things started to shift. It was harder to just ignore that hurt feeling when someone treated me with less respect than I knew I deserved. That lack of respect was far-reaching: from one person who consistently ignored my texts until it was convenient for him, to one guy I had been dating for two months telling me he actually already had a girlfriend who didn’t go to school with us. “You’re so fun and great,” they would all tell me, “but I don’t want anything serious right now.” I put up with it because I wanted that affirmation that I had craved for so long. Maybe they would come around eventually, I rationalized.
It’s reading period, Brunonians, so it’s time to study up. And no, I’m not talking about learning BioChem or about the American presidency; I’m talking about perfecting your pick-up method. As my tenure at Blog is finishing up (stay tuned for my “Senior Send-Off“), I want to take my final columns to parlay my greatest acquired knowledge from my time in college, which means sharing my patented 3-step method to hooking up with whoever you want. It’s not guaranteed to work 100% of the time, but trust me, the success rate is high.
1. Choose wisely: Something I have learned over time is that it’s harder to hook up with someone if you have no idea what you are looking for (unless it’s a random DFMO with someone whose name you can’t hear over the blaring EDM). You can’t just show up at a party and expect something to happen. Therefore, when I go to a bar/party, I scan the room and look for people I’m attracted to. From there, I pick which one I’m going to make an effort with. Just like applying to college, it’s easier to narrow down your options, instead of applying everywhere.
2. Engage: This is definitely the hardest step, and something my friends often complain about.
“Am I supposed to just go up and talk to this phe I think is super hot?” they ask incredulously. Answer: yes. You literally have nothing to lose, except maybe ten minutes of a bruised ego if it doesn’t work. It either goes well, and you progress; or it doesn’t, and you move on to greener pastures.
Brown students are often ranked the most attractive among the Ivies, so much so that there was once a rumor that the admissions office required headshots with applications.
While that’s up for debate, I can easily say that I see at least one person I am attracted to every day on this campus. Clearly, other Brunonians feel the same way: just look at Brown Admirers or Brown Confessions. Regardless of the overwhelming hotness of our student body, many of us pinpoint that one person who is the epitome of physical attractiveness to you. You stare at them across the Main Green, daydreaming about what they’re like, and what it would be like to finally kiss them and be with them. So, what happens when you actually hook up with them? Does the fantasy come to fruition?
On Sunday, I went to the final IFF event, an advanced screening of Judd Apatow’s new film Trainwreck. I won’t lie, I was somewhat dubious about the film before the screening. Was it a RomCom? A regulation Apatow comedy without Seth Rogen? Where did it fall on the spectrum between Bridesmaids and The 40-Year Old Virgin? After two hours in Granoff, I still don’t think I can define it, but I will say: it was AMAZING. And seriously got me thinking.
Amy Schumer, the hottest lady in comedy right now, stars as Amy (so creative, right?), a writer at a ridiculously hetero-normative men’s magazine in New York City (one article pitch is, “Are you gay, or is she just boring?”). She may be doing alright professionally, but in her personal life, she is a hot mess. Believing that “monogamy is unrealistic,” a lesson her dad taught her at a young age, Amy gets drunk/high, hooks up with randos, and stumbles home with reckless abandon on the regular. I obviously have no problem with random hook ups and one night stands, but Amy really takes it to a new level. Thanks to a random assignment on a successful sports doctor, she meets Aaron, played by Bill Hader at his most adorable, and the rest of the movie is the story of Amy’s first real relationship.
I left the movie with my friends, gushing about how cute it was, in addition to retelling our favorite jokes (I literally had tears streaming down my face at one scene with Amy on a therapeutic treadmill). We all cooed about how much we want a relationship just like Amy and Aaron’s, which was so natural and fun and believable. I started thinking about relationships in college in general, something I often think of as rare and harder to find than Josiah Carberry. Because while I’ve definitely hooked up with a lot of people in college, I have not ended up in a relationship with any of them. Was no one willing to settle down?
Admit it: you have that one friend you have always thought was cute/hot/sexy. You may have wondered if there was something more there, behind the witty banter and flirty arm touching. So what happens when you/they finally make a move? How do you remain friends no matter what? Let’s walk through the different scenarios.
One time thing: You two hooked up OMG! Whether it was a DFMO, after a late night study sesh at the Rock, or while watching a movie, it happened. The most important thing here is to acknowledge it after the fact. While you may not want to make eye contact with that phe you hooked up with at ADOCH when you pass each other on the Green, you owe it to your friend to at least admit to it, in whatever manner you deem appropriate. It might feel less awkward to sweep it under the rug, but having that unspoken gorilla in the room will just make things weird. Trust me, it took me years to figure that one out.
Friends with benefits: The first time was so great, you decided to go for it again (and again and again). This is truly the ideal hook-up situation: someone you genuinely enjoy spending time and physical affection with. What could be better? I would advise you to tread lightly here. It is very easy to develop feelings; as I said, you are already friends, and when you add intimacy, it can get messy, especially when feelings are mutual.
Vacation is not real life. You eat whatever you want; drink beverages that easily have over 500 calories; and lay around doing nothing for hours (what reading?). Therefore, vacation is the perfect time for a no-strings attached, purely fun hook up with someone you honestly will probably never see again. Yet, a problem that arises: without your friends and/or a space you already know (a.k.a. not Whiskey or my friend’s house/dorm party), how do you meet someone you can get down and dirty with? Just like our packing list, let’s lay out the necessities in advance.
Tinder: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Tinder is great. Tinder is even better, though, on vacation, as it enables you to peruse so many options from the comfort of your hotel/hostel bed. During an extraordinarily boring spring break with my family last year, I started chatting with Will, a recent college graduate and aspiring singer/songwriter. After a day or two of texting, he asked if I wanted to hang out. I invited him over to my hotel, where we went for a night swim and hooked up in a cabana. Mission accomplished, and all it took was a swipe right.