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Dating in high school wasn’t exactly a piece of cake for me. I usually had a very serious, long term boyfriend that was quite a bit older than me, and usually was in college, so it was usually maintained over long distances. Guys were never falling all over themselves to ask me to prom or homecoming or even to a movie... it just wasn’t my luck. I guess high school guys never even really appealed to me; I always gravitated toward the guys who were in college, because I thought them to be more mature, more experienced, and just generally “better catches.”
When I got to college, I was suddenly being asked on dates left and right; it’s like I had stumbled into a dating Never land; an alternate universe where people actually were bold enough to confront each other face to face, rather than handing the word down through a complex social network. But college was a different story. People seemed to be obsessed with how many dates they could tally up in one weekend. It even was socially acceptable to double book dates on one night, which I could hardly believe, or even bring myself to do. But no one seemed to care. It was all a numbers game.
However, this bizarre numbers game doesn’t last through all four years of your college career; it seems to be just a way of sorting through the enormous amount of possibilities in order to excavate all your options until you find “the one” that you could see yourself staying with for far more than one or two dates. To me, it all seemed like a processing plant; a sort of conveyor belt of dates that kept moving by at a slow and steady pace until you spotted one date that was a bit shinier than the others; a date that had something extra and popped out among the somewhat monotonous assembly line of potential boyfriends.
I think one of the major differences between dating in high school and dating in college is simply this; in high school, simply being “asked out” by a guy pretty much makes you exclusively boyfriend and girlfriend. That simple phrase “do you want to go out sometime” binds you together until someone utters that even simpler phrase “it’s over.” In college however, the first simple phrase is merely an innocent invitation to test out the waters. You are by no means exclusively bound from that phrase on; it’s just as plain as it sounds: “Let’s go out sometime.” If you decided to utter the latter phrase “it’s over” after your first date, the potential boyfriend auditionee would probably look at you as if you had just turned into the Queen of England or something to that bizarre effect. In college, you have to get to a certain level of devotion and exclusivity before you actually have the authority to bring the fling to a close.
So, if you felt confused and bewildered in the throes of the high school dating scene, you were probably warranted to feel that way. However, college is far more simple in that you have no commitment until you both decide you want to pursue the relationship further. So go into the college waters with confidence; this is a time to try a bit of everything until you find that one, bright and shiny guy that you could see yourself with for longer than one or two dates.
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