I’m a college student. I’m also a feminist, and not shy about the label. I’m also in what is pretty much my first adult relationship. (the kind where you don’t end the evening making out in a Civic while your parents watch from the upstairs window.) I was grossly under-prepared me for what a minefield this is, and for what it means. Because what it means—having a relationship that isn’t about “parking” (yes, where I’m from we still go parking) and making out in front of your locker and “you hang up first, no, you hang up first”—is that I’m really fucking old.
First of all, most college students don’t really have relationships anymore. I’ve done the booty-call thing and the random hookup thing and the you-have-a-girlfriend-why-are-you-touching-my-boobs thing, but in my two years of college I haven’t tackled the relationship thing. I like having fun, and I really like being independent. A boyfriend never really fit into my life, or anyway I couldn’t imagine how one would. Then, when I was busy living my life, working hard, playing hard, doing my thing…a guy who fit came along. Just like that. I live in a Cameron Diaz movie. It’s fine.
But after those few weeks of off-the-radar 24/7 coupledom were over, it was time to tackle some tough stuff. I still wanted to go out with my girlfriends. I still wanted to slob around my dorm with pore-refining mud on my face while eating cookie dough. (There’s a place on campus that sells individual cups of cookie dough, spoon included. There is no way to eat that alluringly, I’m sorry.) Plus, I’m a writer. I need time to think. I need time to be down in the dumps, because I just get like that sometimes. It’s usually followed by the most bearable writing I’ve done in months. So where do you draw the line? How do you say, I love you, but please leave me alone? Where is the instruction manual for this rig?
Those questions we’ve handled, so far. We’re getting the time management stuff down. But what about when I’m at a party without him? This is college—everybody is all up on everybody. There’s a lot of sweat and Keystone and other fluids all over everything, and there’s just generally a lot of mingling of fluids. It’s fucking disgusting, I won’t lie, but what are you going to do? Now, obviously I’m not letting anyone near my fluids. But what if I’m dancing with someone else? Or if I kiss my best friend in exchange for a six-pack? Nobody tells you. Not health class, not your mom, not your human sexuality class, not Cosmopolitan (otherwise known as “Twenty-seven ‘Sexy’ Things to Do With a Scrunchie”).
Answer: We have to talk. We’re a couple now, and we have to straighten this out. Almost like…grown-ups. Damn.