Dating at Tulane is a four year pipe dream. Of the eight girls I live with, only one of us has ever had a boyfriend here, and they’re still together as of now. Two others are in long distance relationships, four are extremely single (for better or for worse?). Do the math, and you’ll realize that’s only seven people. I myself am neither single, nor taken. I am confused.
Since I’m baring all, a little walk down memory lane will help those of you who don’t know me to conceptualize my life up to this moment. I came to Tulane still dating my hometown boyfriend, and we stayed together for that entire year. There was a brief 5 week break (the details of which are way too personal for the internet, sorry!) but was generally a good time until it wasn’t anymore. I ended things with him when we were sent home for Covid, not realizing that there would be no dating for the unforeseeable future. Not that you should delay a breakup because of a pandemic. Follow your heart! And go on lots of walks.
When I finally returned to campus, I entered what would become the most chaotic year of college. I was an absolute menace to society, and no man was safe. Just kidding. Kind of. I definitely wasn’t going to get serious with anyone, though. This moment in time was the closest I’ve ever been to being in a “hoe” phase. I don’t typically like that phrase, because it doesn’t fully encompass the trials and tribulations of hookup culture. Especially not here. Single Tulane men are questionable at best, and at their worst, straight up not a good time. We all bemoan, “the good ones are taken!” and you know what? We’re not wrong. Guys who check off all of the proverbial boxes get scooped up quickly, or have been in a relationship with someone from home since they arrived on campus.
This was really disappointing to find out when I finally realized I was over the strictly physical intimacy part of my sophomore excursions. I would have been okay to start dating again my junior year, but, to no one’s surprise, I stayed single. My first semester was spent in Dublin, Ireland, where I barely spoke two words to any straight men. That was one of the best times of my entire life. Not because I didn’t talk to romantic interests (although let’s be real…), but because I realized I didn’t need to. My study abroad friends became some of my closest confidants, and our travels resulted in memories that, since no one broke my heart, would never be tainted.
In the spring, I entered my first semi-continuous thing with a Tulane boy. Let me be the first to tell you, it is exactly as weird as one might think. I had no idea what was going on, we never talked about whether we were on the same page or not, and I acted like getting a text from him was the most amazing thing since sliced bread. I asked this boy to my sorority formal (which was fun and I appreciate that he came), but promptly got ghosted for the entirety of the summer. When he reached out again, I had two choices. To forgive, or to kick him to the curb. Like the kind (and semi-emotionally vulnerable) person that I am, I forgave him. I did not, however, forget. A month into senior year and I started to realize that this man was just not the one for me.
Around the same time as the school year started, I booked a ticket to Los Angeles. Why? To visit my high school situationship, of course! Everyone, including myself, was like… what? I don’t blame them. It made no sense. I live a 4 hour plane ride away, he’s no longer in college, and it didn’t work out five years ago, so why would it somehow work now? I don’t know. Alas, the trip finally occurred in mid-September. As we approach the end of October, I find myself in a bit of a precarious situation. I also find myself with a ticket back to LA in November. And I find myself hosting a man in New Orleans in December.
“You’re dating!” -Max (at dinner last night).
No. We are not dating! But we do talk about our feelings. And we do have trips planned to see each other. But we’re not dating!
For the first time since I started writing this, I will be serious. Because this situation is apparently a very common one to be in. I’m 21 years old, and graduating in a few months. Not knowing what my life will look like, it feels like an impossible time to start seeing someone. He’s 22, and just relocated across the country. He’s navigating a new city, a new job, and a new life. Neither of us are really in a place that makes sense to enter into a relationship. So here we are. It sucks a little bit, especially with this particular guy. The timing for us has always been a bit of an obstacle. What I can say for sure, though, is that I’m finally happy. It’s time for me to put childhood romances and awkward college hookups in the past. Even if things with this person don’t work out, it’s another lesson to store in my back pocket about who I am and what I want.
Featured image via Maddi Matson