Solo cups piled as tall as the ceiling, guys with baggy jeans, polo shirts, and drunken grins. Sheets that haven’t been washed in weeks (possibly months), every rap song there ever was playing loudly, and girls gladly flaunting their goods to help their dude (or the guy they met that night) win a game of beer pong.
I can’t say I was ever the biggest fan of the college party scene, but I tried to be. Even though I knew the guys were way immature, almost-alcholics, and many forgot about a little thing called ‘class’ – I attempted (and succeeded) to date several of them. But the one to introduce me to the university dating world was much more of a class act than your average frat boy: Mr. Rebound.
We met the summer before my freshman year via MySpace (no judging) when I went looking for people who went to Appalachian State because I would be attending in the fall. He was very sweet, always flattering me, and he had this certain appeal to him that my 17-year-old self found absolutely irresistible: he was a college guy.
This meant he wasn’t like the young and ridiculous boys who paraded my high school, no he was in college. That meant he was sophisticated and educated and working towards a goal. And he wanted to talk to me? A little incoming freshman? How could I not swoon?
And swoon is just what I did. Within the first three days of college, I found myself pinned up against a wall and a hard place as Mr. Rebound tried to kiss me and I refrained for 24-hours – just long enough to break up with Mr. Faithful and set up a movie date with my ‘college man.’
When I went over for this so-called date to let Mr. Rebound know I was newly single, I thought he would jump at the opportunity to call me his girlfriend. I mean he had been texting constantly, always made himself available, and never forgot to invite me and my roommate to parties he knew of. I mean, he even took me out to dinner at Murphy’s – a place he called a “nice” restaurant to eat at. (My 21-year-old self later found out how wrong that statement was). But instead of swooning for me, the itty-bitty freshman, and proclaiming the love I was sure he had for me – he just jumped my naive bones.
Needless to say, we ended up in a “hooking-up” (although I never went all the way) relationship, and eventually he stopped talking to me, as those sorts of things typically go. While at the time, I was unfamiliar with this type of union – where the boy was difficult to comprehend and unreliable – I learned a lot.
The first time I had my official walk of shame, where I sported sky-high heels with basketball shorts and a t-shirt from his apartment to my dorm, I knew something was wrong. My roommate (and now best friend) raised an eyebrow at my attire, which caused me to question what exactly I was doing.
Mr. Rebound didn’t want a relationship. He didn’t want to love me. He didn’t want to take me on dates or court me. He didn’t care about getting to know me. He didn’t feel the need to be drawn to me or to fall head over his Dockers. No, Mr. Rebound wanted to have sex.
And I wasn’t down for that.
As a single woman, it’s so important to define your boundaries. To decide what you’re willing to put up with and what you’re not. To decide for yourself what is acceptable behavior and what is flat-out not cool by you. If you want to have a random hook-up for your own sake, then do it – but make sure you know what will make you happy before you dive right in. For me, I get too attached and I can’t do it. For others, it may work.
After an initial hiatus that allowed me to dis-attach myself from my romantic notions about him, Mr. Rebound and I eventually made up and over lunch before he graduated,we made peace. We’re able to laugh about what we experienced and he always makes a point to check-in on me and I doubt he’ll ever stop calling me “babe.”
I wouldn’t say I ever loved the man, but he did open my eyes to the dating scene that defines being a college student. Sometimes it is never about the romance or the love or the fire or the passion or attraction. Sometimes, it’s about getting your jollies off.
For this girl, it will never just be about that. And honestly, for that I’m proud. Sure, I’ve had my random make-out, but I know whoever I give myself to one day, I can feel proud of the decisions I’ve made in the past. I’m still the type of girl who only can be a vixen in bed if I feel comfortable and know that the guy has a sincere interest in my well-being. Preferably, he would love me. But Mr. Rebound taught me what would be the start of my dating career in college –and one that I wasn’t ever very good at. Even now, Mr. Rebound always comments on my butt (or since I picked up running, he says, lack thereof) – and I find it as a compliment, rather than feel objectified by a guy who I once wanted to date. I’m glad I made an impression and I’m even happier that we never explored a relationship.
Because one day, in this magical world, I’ll find the man who I’m meant to be with who will cherish and respect me (and enjoy all of my sexual talents because I trust him). And until that day, I can depend on myself and my ability to make the best choice for me.
Thanks Mr. Rebound, for opening my eyes and shaping my morals. I’m sorry that I had the boys in my dorm wipe their sweaty armpits on your basketball shorts and t-shirt when I returned them. I’ll buy you a drink for that one.