Some students choose to go home with others at the end of the night, but that doesn’t mean you have to
On Saturday night, I was sitting in Lucky’s Sports Tavern at last call, drinking a beer that I did not need, when the two girls I had gone out with approached me.
“We need to find our bad decisions,” one said, studying the faces in the crowd that were slowly making their way out the door. Zeroing in on someone, she assured us that she would just be a minute.
I watched in amazement as she boldly walked up to a man finishing the last of his beer and within a matter of seconds, was leading him out of the bar. She secured her “bad decision” for the night.
I’ve never been the type to flirt at bars or pick up mysterious strangers at last call, but I see it happening every week.
The moment we stepped onto campus, we entered a hook-up culture. What used to be taboo is now congratulated as an accomplishment. The “walk of shame,” while often hilarious, is less embarrassing because you are far from being alone. It is generally understood that you exercise your freedom when you go to college, even if it means waking up the morning after with a pounding headache next to someone whose name you can’t remember.
Every weekend I see people I would like to talk to, but I fear that I may be perceived as coming on to them. I quickly learned that it is entirely possible to be a neutral faction within bar hook-up culture by remembering two simple things.
First — and perhaps the more obvious point — everyone talks when they go out. Socializing is the main reason we go out. We want to mingle with new people while hanging out with those we already know. Talking to someone new could be seen as flirtatious, but unless you make it obvious that you are interested in leaving with them, by the time last call rolls around, they won’t be able to remember every person they met.
Second — and perhaps the more important — do not be afraid to say no. There is a delicate balance between being perceived as a “good time” and a prude. I tend to be too polite for my own good and it can be hard to let someone down easily. But if you do not intend on leaving with anyone but your friends, you need to be honest. It might sound corny, but I’ve found that slipping in a simple “I’m not looking to go home with anyone tonight” early in the conversation does the trick.
No matter what your intentions are, you can still enjoy mingling and not hurting anyone’s feelings at the end of the night.
Olivia Hupp is a senior studying English literature and creative writing. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.