Two of the most exciting things about college are the possibility of a relationship away from prying parental eyes and a whole new world of college guys to forge your way through. From a high school perspective, college men are like a beacon of hope. Not every boy in the world is an immature loser who burps the alphabet and plays World of Warcraft! But there are worries, too: Are college guys only looking for sex? What will they expect from you? Not all these dreams and fears have truth to them, however. Here are some myths and realities to both ease your mind and help you prepare yourself for the four truly wonderful years to come!
Myth: Once high school boys enter college, they suddenly mature into men.
Reality: I hate to be the one to break it you, darling, but as the saying goes, boys will be boys. For the most part, guys will always think farting is funny, playing videogames is a valid use of time, and the more girls they sleep with the cooler they are. Upon leaving high school and entering college, the only thing that changes is that they no longer have parents around to make sure they’re clean, well-fed and not doing anything too stupid/dangerous. Add a bunch of new, equally immature friends and easy access to booze, and you have a perfect recipe for an even lower level of maturity in college “men.” But don’t worry, you’ll keep up with the boys just fine as long as you can make a good “that’s what she said” joke every once in a while.
However, there are exceptions to every rule. Alex from West Chester University was impressed freshman year by how responsible some of her new guy friends were. “A lot of them were saving up money to live off campus in the coming semesters, or had their courses for the next few years all planned out to make sure they graduated on time,” she says. “I certainly didn’t have my act together yet at that point, but they did.” So yes, maybe guys enjoy a bathroom humor joke every now and then, but that doesn’t mean they can’t behave like grownups when necessary. Just don’t set your expectations too high, and let them surprise you rather than disappoint you.
Myth: All college guys just want to sleep around.
Reality: Okay, to be honest, there are a lot of college guys out there who really do just want to get laid many, many times by many, many girls. But not all guys are the same!
If there is only one thing you keep in mind while dating in college, let it be this: everyone is different. Yes, some of the boys you meet won’t be interested in a serious relationship. Maybe even most of the boys you meet won’t be interested in a serious relationship. But there will be a select few who want to get to know you, date you and spend as much time as they can with you. So judge carefully. Luckily for Sophie, now a senior at Mount Holyoke College, she learned quickly her freshman year that not every guy who hit on her at a party wanted to get to know her. “I learned to weed out the bad ones and only take risks on the people who were worth my time. I decided to stop being offended if some guy was just looking to hook up – just because I’m not interested doesn’t mean he’s a bad person.” Accepting guys for the way they are rather than trying to make them something they aren’t is a big part of college. It’s also important to do if you don’t want to get your heart broken repeatedly.
Myth: If a college guy keeps pursuing you, he wants to be in a relationship.
Reality: Again, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but just because some guy is telling you he wants to be with you doesn’t mean he wants to be with JUST you. If his conversation is generic, his efforts typically restricted to weekend nights, and his hangout suggestions limited to drinking together, odds are he’s looking for something less than exclusive.
“The guy I was into last semester kept wanting to spend time with me, but he kept telling me he didn’t want a relationship,” says Felicia from Penn State. “I ignored it and figured he wouldn’t keep asking to see me if he didn’t want more. But I was wrong.” In the end, she wishes she had listened to what he was telling her rather than reading the signs. But not every guy is that open about what he wants. At University of Michigan, Leann’s now-boyfriend never told her what he wanted until she pressed him to be open with her. “Before I asked, we were just casually hooking up, and I thought he didn’t want more. But it turns out he thought I didn’t want the relationship, so he didn’t push it. But he wanted it all along!”
Myth: Fraternity guys make good boyfriends.
Reality: I don’t want to over-generalize, but stereotypes exist for a reason. And when it comes to the stereotype of a sleazy, d-bag frat boy who sleeps with a different girl every night, about 85% of the time (according to my anecdotal evidence) it’s spot-on. “I have yet to meet a guy at a frat party that wants to be anything other than a one-night stand,” says Hannah, a sophomore at Temple University. “On any given weekend night they have a house full of drunk girls to make moves on –seems like the last thing they want is to give up that freedom.”
The best way to avoid falling victim to jerks like this is to look for a relationship outside the fraternity scene. If you’re in a sorority, listen to your older sisters’ advice – odds are they know who’s spitting game and who actually has his heart in the right place. And some do – Kelly from UMass Amherst is dating a fraternity guy. But she admits she was uncertain in the beginning. In this situation, as with any guy, be careful, and don’t get swept off your feet too quickly. For more on dating fraternity bros, check out this HC article.
Myth: College guys are more experienced with sex, and therefore, have higher expectations.
Reality: Hold on – before I can respond to that, I need to stop laughing. Wow. Being older does not make anyone better at sex. It also doesn’t guarantee that you’re getting any action at all. Many girls enter their freshman year feeling pressured to be a rockstar in the sack but forgetting one thing: the guy they’re hooking up with probably isn’t as experienced as he’d like to appear. Here’s a little secret: guys like to embellish their sexual conquests. Sarah from Wellesley College can vouch for that: “I was a virgin when I got to college and for the longest time I was so scared of hooking up with someone who was better at it than I was. But when I finally did it, I realized he was just as clueless as I was, even if he had slept with someone else before me.”
Even if he didn’t embellish and really is a Casanova, you should never let a guy’s past make you feel insecure about your own level of experience. Take things at your own pace, and never let anyone make you feel inadequate. Besides, if any guy is experienced enough to criticize your level of skill, he’s probably pretty sleazy. Move on!
College men and women from across the country