Let’s face it, sex is common. Every day at university, I see couples who I know have spent nights together doing more than revising. At clubs, a guy with the right amount of dutch courage can take a girl with the right amount of intoxication in her, back to his place to do the horizontal mambo. It’s seen. It’s done. It’s fine. And then, a few days later, I will hear said girl complaining about how she hasn’t been with someone for so long, despite sleeping with Pete, John and Mike over the space of three weeks. So, has clubbing and pulling meant the death of dating?

Well, I decided to ask a few people I knew, to get their fair understanding of what it means to date or pull at university. For the sake of anonymity, all names have been changed.

KO’d to Knock-Out
Liz and her boyfriend, Dan, both went to different universities at different times (Liz to Nottingham, Dan to Birmingham City.) However, the divide seemed to be too much for Dan to handle. “Two weeks after we’d gone to uni, he text me to say it was over. We had been together for over a year, and he decided to end it with a text. Within a week, I found he had a new girlfriend. I’m not stupid, I know he was seeing her during Fresher’s Week.” However, Liz hasn’t let this get her down, and has rapidly embraced her life at Nottingham. “Sure, I was upset when he left me, but I realised that I could have more fun being single. Yeah, I slept with a few guys, but I had a good time doing so. It’s great to be free, to do my own thing and not worry about it the next day.” Liz’s single attitude can tell us all that we don’t need a partner to be able to have good times.

Outside Interest
Hayley and Ryan have been together for over a year now. Hayley is at Nottingham, but Ryan is a plasterer back where she lives. I wanted to know how they were able to have a relationship so far away from each other. “Me and Ryan had been on-off for about two years before I came to uni,” Hayley told me, “but it was only when I was here that I realised just how much I missed him. I returned home the second week of term to see him, and we’ve been dating ever since.” Obviously, living so far away from each other must have put the relationship under stress at times. “Some weekends, I’ll go home to see Ryan and other times, he’ll come up and see me. During the holidays, we try and make the most of the time we have together and if we can, go away on holiday, just the two of us. Yes, it’s not been the easiest thing to do, but there’s no-one else I’d rather be with. If you put the effort in, there’s so much you can get from it.”

Lonely Ladykiller
Steven is known as being a lad – goes out clubbing often, pulls the most beautiful girls in clubs and has more than enough notches on the end of his bed. “My main motive on a night out is to have fun with my mates. Trust me, I don’t get laid every night, but it’s not uncommon for a girl’s walk of shame to start from my room.” So, being so fortunate with the opposite sex must make him one of the happiest guys at Nottingham…or so it seems. “I do this because it’s the only thing I know,” Steven explained to me. “My housemate has a girlfriend and the one thing I really envy is that she will stay with him throughout the night. I don’t want to appear soft, but sometimes I just want someone there, to hold and be with. Nothing sucks more than being alone, and it’s when your one-night-stand leaves that you truly understand that.”

Perfect Match
Oscar met his girlfriend, Amy, in his first year in halls. Since then, he’s believed that his relationship has only gotten stronger, rather than weaker. “In first year, we saw each other every day and so we were able to get to know each other and understand one another really quickly. Now we both live in Lenton, we don’t see each other every day, but still often enough to still maintain a relationship. Communication with each other is key.” While lots of students go nights out on the pull, Oscar’s confident that he can go out and have fun without having to pull. “Sometimes, I’ll go out with friends from societies or my housemates – nights when bringing girlfriends is inappropriate. And I’ll see them pull, or get drunk, but all the while I know that I’m staying true to Amy and she is to me. We have that level of trust that we know the other can go out without us and we don’t need to worry about anything.”

Drunken pulling is far easier than dating – it requires less time, less money and less hassle. However, what we look for when we meet someone who we want to date is totally different. Yes, we still aim to get laid eventually, but that doesn’t mean it’s the over-riding goal. If pulling is an art, dating is an art exhibition. It requires patience, understanding, communication, affection, subtlety, empathy and respect. We date to get to know someone as more than a notch on a bedpost.

So, if you’re a Juliet looking for your Romeo, but will make do with Mercutio, or a love struck fool searching for “Ms Right” but will settle for “Ms Right Now”, pay attention! Dating is hard. It will require more than you think it will. Yet, what you get from it will be worth all those nights missing the “easy gash” found from being out on the pull.

And when you begin to wonder if it’s really worth it, remember this:
Sex is easy, but love is a worthy challenge.

Stu Hardy

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