"I’m stressed because I have not got a boyfriend which gives me a heat rash which people mistake for a hicky, which is the most ironic thing ever," one of my good friends at university told me once.
I think this sums up pretty well the experience I, and many others, have had over the course of my first year of uni. This rule does not exclusively apply to all of the girlfriends I’ve met this year, but there is certainly a running trend. This following post will serve to demonstrate my theory that in general, your first year at university will be filled with uncomfortable experiences and not remotely the fun-filled flirty extravaganza where you casually end up in a relationship with a boy who lives in Essex that’s conveniently a 20-minute drive from your London home. It's actually very stressful, and leads you to wonder how the hell your parents met at uni. Is there a secret club for people wanting serious committed relationships? Is it hidden under the guise of Fell-Walking Society? How much do walking boots cost?!
After the initial shock of freshers week, possibly having a cheeky/ totally unenjoyable club snog, and feeling like you’ve entered an ice bath of dick and hormones, you will slowly realise that your romantic endeavours and stellar personality are wasted on just-turned 18-year-olds who only want a shag.
You will re-open the trusty app store, and type those six letters into that search bar that are your best friend and your worst nightmare. Tinder claims you back into its clammy tendrils of objective judgement, the way you would never wish to be judged on yourself, and yet laughing at the boy who has three of the same profile pictures in a row or the guy who puts his height in his bio just keeps you coming back again and again. But underneath the mocking and the self-satire, you are really hoping that your soulmate will flash up on the screen, and you'll definitely know when you see him.
You might chat to Joe, who you know is in third year at your uni, before swiftly realising you’ve talked to this guy at the pub last week, because he's in your friend's band—and when he loads the "I think I recognise you?" onto you and you realise it's not a stale pick up line, you immediately panic and delete the app. Because we're not out here to meet REAL people, are we?
You might talk to Conor, who you reluctantly decide to go on a date with (after all, that's why you downloaded this thing), only to be completely relieved when an artic-style storm descends on your city and you just can’t possibly bring yourself to walk to the bar you so carefully selected for your date. You let the boy down and delete the app, quietly removing his friend request on Facebook too.
I have found myself in both of these situations, and whilst they accurately do sum up most people’s relationship with that cursed app, some of my university friends' stories about their dates really makes me glad for that storm. Between tales of stand-ups and boys with frosted tips, to boys who vape naked in their beds, and that guy who requested wrapping my friend in toilet paper (no word of a lie), Tinder unleashes the positively nasty sides of dating, and to be honest, you'd rather sit alone in your room than hear of someone who set himself on fire for Halloween, accompanied by photo evidence.
That Guy From Your Course
This is where you'd think to do the majority of your relationship grafting. Optimistically, you turn up to lectures with a full face of makeup, just hoping that someone will turn their head, not to the PowerPoint at the front of the hall, but somehow towards you, five rows behind and partially blocked by a pillar.
Doing a Creative subject? Forget it. It's 80 percent female, so for those of you that aren’t inclined that way, this is a dead end. There will be approximately 0.8 boys per each of your seminars and 0.5 of those will have a girlfriend 100 miles away (who they will end up dumping, but not until second-year). I've heard that engineering is great for meeting people!
The Really, Really Rough One-Night Stand Which Keeps Happening
What you forget is that, at the ripe old age of 18, or at best 19, boys are by and large, horrendous in bed. It’s not their fault. You’re definitely not as good as you think either. But what this means is that if you do manage to get a boy back into your shoebox room, you’re not in for the night of your life. On top of that, you both know you're not getting anything anywhere else, so this awkward encounter with someone who you are neither romantically nor friendship-ly inclined towards keeps happening, again and again, resulting in a half-friend man-boy who you kind of fancy but not enough to embarrass yourself for. He'll leave his sock in your room, and rather than engage in some delightful courting in which you attempt to re-ensnare him, you just throw it away, shuddering at the general ickiness of a male sock.
In conclusion, first-year throws at you a bad sex life, or no sex life. I'm not sure which one I would have preferred, but there are rumours on the grapevine that during the summer between first and second year, all the boys become men and their desire to drink and fall over switches to the desire to have a meaningful and committed relationship! Watch this space!*
*EDIT: I am now in second year and I can confidently confirm that this has not happened.