Love and dating on the college campus in America

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From the moment you enter America, you will possibly be under a culture shock. What is simply considered not done in Asia or your home country may just as easily be accepted in America as is drinking water! The whole idea of dating and casual sex is something about which you really must have some background informa­tion or else you are likely to end up with a great deal of confusion.

Dating: the anxiety factor

Without a doubt, when it comes to adjusting to the culture that prevails on the American cam­pus, dating scores as the most anxiety- provoking chapter in college survival. Regard­less of whether you are new to the scene or an old pro, dating brings visions of pride lost, time wasted and hearts broken. No one no matter how attractive is completely comfortable with the idea. But the fact is, learning how to deal with members of the opposite sex is one of the most important skills you will learn at college. You should date, you will date and you’ll have fun doing so! Given below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about dating on campus while the latter part of this chapter will provide some helpful tips for your next date?

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Common dating questions

1. Is there an easy way to break into the dating scene?

You will arrive at college without any of the titles or labels you bore in high school. Your old group of friends will have dispersed across the country. So what do you do? For starters, talk to people. Talk to anyone and everyone in your dorm, Greek house or wherever. Visit some of the people you meet in your classes. Besides being the best way to make friends, this is also an excellent way to meet potential dates. In terms of an actual one-on-one date, fraternity, sorority and dormitory dances will provide you with a golden opportunity to ask someone out for a date. Remember, you don’t have to know a person too well to go on a date with him or her. It’s freshman year. No one knows anyone that well.

2. Group date vs. individual date

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To ease the anxiety of an initial date, many a freshman opts for a group date. When you are double-dating (or have hooked up with a group of friends with no one in particular as your date), interaction becomes much less intimidat­ing. In fact, at many schools, group dating has become the preferred mode. While group dates provide liveliness and comfort, they often lack in intimacy. If you excel at one-on-one interac­tion or if you really want to get to know some­one, the group scene might cramp your style. Many start out by group dating and once they get to know someone well, ask that person out.

3. What about my sweetheart back home?

As a freshman you may come to school in the US minus a special piece of luggage, mainly in the form of a boyfriend or girlfriend at home. Sometimes these long-distance relationships are able to weather the pressures of maturity and huge telephone bills but, more often than not, they flounder. It is usually a good policy to date other people at college. If you are calling your long-distance sweetheart every day, chances are you will miss out on many new experiences and some invaluable opportunities for growth. Even if you plan on being loyal to your boyfriend or girlfriend at home, figure out some ways to have an active social life. In this case, finding a group of close friends may be your best bet. Finally, don’t get paranoid about losing your home town boyfriend or girlfriend. If the rela­tionship is really “made in Heaven”, you have nothing to worry about.

4. What about sex?

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Some freshmen drown themselves in their newfound freedom. Free from the clutches of Mom and Dad and strict Cinderella hours (the ‘unreasonable’ deadlines for getting back home from late evenings), they think college is a time to experiment, a time to let it all hang out.

Whether or not you have sex at college is com­pletely up to you. But don’t get too carried away with the new found freedom. When it comes to sex, be careful and, even more impor­tant, be choosy. Just because people around you are doing it and there will be plenty, perhaps even your roommate doesn’t necessarily mean you have to.

Tips on successful dating

There’s nothing worse than a bad date. And you’ll know when it’s happening. Minutes will seem like hours, hours like days. Your stomach will turn. You’ll start getting paranoid and anxious. Ah, but never fear, here are some tips for survival. While they won’t guarantee you physical attraction, they should make your next date a little more interesting and definitely more enjoyable.

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Go for it!

One of the saddest realities about college is that students talk about dating more than they ac­tually do it. People get caught up in the what-if- she-says-no? Or what-if-he’s-going-steady? syn­drome. Instead of talking about it yourself, ask your date lots of questions. The way to a per­son’s heart is to have him or her know that you care. If you like the person, you’ll have plenty of time to shine and to wax philosophically. In the meantime, be a willing, interested listener. Your date will think you’re one in a million, which you are!

Watch out for scammers

By the time most freshman women reach their sophomore year, they’ve heard as many pick-up lines as Madhuri Dixit. College is home to many a scammer. But, in all seriousness, beware of guys who are more physical than you would like or who try to entice you to do things you don’t want to. Date rape is an ominous reality on most college campuses. Always use your common sense, presence of mind and caution. If you are feeling uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to leave. At the very least, state your in­tentions clearly.

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Be creative and fun-loving

When planning your date, try to be creative. While dinner at your campus cafeteria may be practical, it’s certainly not going to win over any hearts. Try to be a little different, if possi­ble. Here are a few sure-fire suggestions:

1. Picnic: romantic, practical, perfect

2. Local comedy show: laughs galore, great icebreaker

3. Major sporting event: expensive but fun

4. Hiking: romantic but sweaty

5. Bicycling to a restaurant: athletic, fun, ro­mantic

6. The pizza-movie date: is always a great al­ternative.

A lot of students like to stay on campus for their first date. It is practical and casual. Be­sides, most freshman men and women don’t have cars. Campuses are loaded with things to do: Concerts, lectures, movies, plays, sporting events, pizza parlors, and coffee shops…many a re­lationship has begun over a cup of coffee.

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