By Evanne Gordon
Many Obies have been perplexed by the panorama of romantic engagements that exist within the Oberlin bubble. I, from the outset a horny and carefree first-year, plunged right into the Oberlin dating scene with no real concept of what it looks like on paper. So, for those of you who could use a map or some kind of cathartic summary, here it is: Oberlove by Evanne Gordon.
The most obvious place for me to start is the hook-up scene. At Oberlin people usually get together in one of three ways. The first is drunken debauchery, which you can all observe on weekends and almost certainly partake in if you so choose (author’s note: no glove, no love, people. Wrap it, or just don’t tap it . See the SIC for details). But where does it go from there? Either you wake up the next morning in horror and throw up all over your new partner as an excuse to make them leave your room and NEVER COME BACK…or you trade numbers with hopes of following up—or not. The most awkward part of this sort of hookup is that neither person wants to directly express what they want out of it. It is best to get that on the table at the outset so no body gets their feelings hurt.
The second way to meet people (and my favorite): around! Your classmates will sometimes ask you out, or to come over for a sexy cup of something or a smoke. Even someone you don’t know at all could confront you with romantic intentions. This can be a little weird, and I’ve seen it fail miserably, but sometimes people just run into each other at the right time of day—keep your hearts open! Still, although Oberlin is small and it’s easy to look for love where it can be found, beware of hook-ups of convenience with jerks or friends.
So, after hooking up comes dating, right? Many couples at Oberlin would dissolve before defining themselves as such. Some people spend years “hooking up” without labeling themselves “in a relationship” or even “dating.” For me, dating is going on dates. For many Obies, it is the whole “boyfriend,” “girlfriend,” “zefriend” thing. No one wants to admit they’ve shacked up. It’s kind of a freaky trend. Some couples are nonexistent in the public eye and won’t touch unless they’re alone. I respect that, but I also don’t mind PDA— to an extent.
Then, on the other side of the closet couples are the “polyamorous” units that choose to redefine the traditional relationship structure, including three or more people in a multi-party exclusive sexual agreement. Hot. This is not to be confused with an “open relationship,” which I honestly have never heard of in the case of all parties being Oberlin students, but I guess it could happen; nor with “friends with benefits” which is also usually a recipe for disaster.
Remember, readers, Oberlin is teeny-tiny. Your mistakes in the dating field will almost certainly come back to haunt you. People who don’t know you personally might know your name as that girl who fucked Tim Whatever or that guy who got harshly rejected by Erik Skinnyjeans. Don’t let it get you down; everybody fucks up sometimes.
My general dating advice for first-years is that you have four years of school here. Don’t try to get in all your sex in your first year, and don’t try to find your one true love either. If you do fall in love and fail, don’t be disheartened! Get in shape, get a cute haircut, and try again later.
My general dating advice for everyone is DON’T DATE PROFESSORS. It happens, I’ve heard, but it’s not recommended—you don’t want someone’s wife to write a memoir about you. Also, the best way to find love/satisfaction here and anywhere is to let it happen naturally. Don’t force it and good accidents will find their way into your life. And don’t kiss and tell; ‘nuff said. Finally, you shouldn’t change yourself to get laid. (I know this isn’t an advice column. Just thinking in ink.)
Good luck, may you find love and happiness, and always wash your sheets at least once every two or three weeks.