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Michael O'Malley is a senior studying political science at Ohio University.

For What it's Worth: The dating life of a college-aged, heterosexual male can be reduced to a science

Robin Williams once said, "No matter what people tell you, worlds and ideas can change the world." In 1687, Isaac Newton changed humanity’s understanding of the physical world with the publication of Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, which laid out his laws of motion.

In 1859, Charles Darwin fundamentally altered our conception of the natural world through the publication of On the Origin of Species, which put forth Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.

In 2016, another great thinker has come to the fore with a theory that threatens to reshape the boundaries of our understanding. This thinker, who is a close personal friend of mine, often reminds me of his unpublished "Theory of the Collegiate Dating Process in Heterosexual Males," which is as informative as it is next to completely unverified by actual research.

This brilliant theory is based on informal, observational research conducted over his four years at Ohio University as well as his personal experience. The theory holds that the romantic experiences of the heterosexual male students at public universities will, in the majority of cases, follow a similar and predictable progression.

In all, there are five stages:

1. The Awkward Freshman Phase

As they begin their first year away at school, there are two types of freshman: those who are single and those who are still dating their high school sweetheart. However, those in the latter category will soon join their single counterparts as their high school relationships inevitably weaken and collapse. This marks the beginning of the "Awkward Freshman Phase." This stage is characterized by relatively weak “game," limited success with female population, and a general “awkwardness” toward the opposite sex. During this time the average male will have a few hookups and/or flings, but nothing too serious. This period may be as short as a few weeks or extend into the first semester of sophomore year, but it eventually draws to a close with the arrival of the first college girlfriend.

2. The First College Girlfriend Phase

At some point during freshman year or somewhere near the beginning of sophomore year, most guys will meet someone “special” and choose to date that someone. Eventually, they will fall in love with that person and their relationship will blossom ... until summer.

While at school, the young couple see each other daily, do fun things around campus and most importantly have sex, all without having to worry about parental supervision or intrusion. This freedom from parental interference is a new experience for most and as a result, the first college relationship will carry on far longer than it should. However, the realities of dating during the summer will eventually intercede.

Couples who seemed rock solid while school was in session begin to fall apart under the stress of dating during the summer. These stresses include distance, parental interference, external competition for your significant other and the celibacy that comes with living with mom and dad. As a result, most couples will break up over the summer or shortly after.

3. The “Promiscuous” Phase:

Following the demise of the first college relationship, males tend to enter a “promiscuous” period. During this time, the majority of males will not pursue a relationship, but they will rather pursue casual sex, attempting to hook up with as many females as possible. There are several reasons behind this behavior: it helps men to overcome any unresolved feelings, this sort of behavior was prohibited while they were in the relationship, the male experience in a relationship allows them to polish and perfect their “game," and finally, it is really, really fun. This stage is of one of indeterminate length unique to the individual, however, this era will also draw to a close. As time goes on, wounds heal and the thrill of casual sex loses its luster to boredom and a fear of venereal disease.

4. The Hunt for the Second Girlfriend Phase

Eventually, the male will tire of casual dating and begin to crave the benefits of a long term relationship. However, unlike the last time he was in a relationship, the male is more mature and therefore more selective. As a result, his search for love will take much longer and the person he selects will be far better suited to him. This stage may take months or years to get through if it is completed at all. Additionally, it is possible to regress from this stage back to the aforementioned “Promiscuous” Phase.

5. The Second College Girlfriend Phase

The final stage in the process of collegiate dating is the second college relationship. This relationship will be far happier and longer than the one which preceded it and his partner will be exceptionally well suited to him. The same obstacles are not in the way for the Second College Girlfriend Phase, the people involved have grown and know more of what they want for their future. As a result, this relationship will likely be continued into postgraduate life.

While this progression applies to most, it is not quite universal and there are endless variations of it. Furthermore, individuals will move through some or all of these at their own unique pace.

Some may think this theory callous and reductive, but if one keeps an open mind and open eyes, this progression is apparent everywhere you look. We all know someone who is going through one of the phases. In fact, I have witnessed this progression in my own life.

The truth is in the four years I have been here, I have seen this theory proven time and time again. I advise you to learn it, accept it and enjoy the phases for what they are.

Michael O'Malley is a senior studying political science at Ohio University. How do you feel about capital punishment? Email your thoughts to Michael at

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