>>> About Last Night…
By staff writer Ali Wisch

September 20, 2006

Being in a relationship in college is a mostly-difficult, but under the right standards do-able thing. It means regular sex (if it doesn’t for you, you should abortwhatever rigamortis thing you’re calling a relationship and go get laid immediately), an excuse to go out to dinner, and a person to bitch about your roommates to. There are other good things about being in a relationship, but they don’t really matter. Having said this, actually getting into a relationship in college versusgetting into one in the real world differs greatly. And I say “real world” because college is as far away from the real world as frat boys are from sober and sorority girls are from virgins.

For starters, you can meet people during college in ways that would never be acceptable out of college… i.e. Facebook. For many kids, that's what it comes down to. It all begins with a little poke to that cute kid in your calc class. That poke then leads to a little message on your wall, “Thanks for the poke!” Which you then respond to with a private message back, “Haha, are you going out tonight?” Before you know it you’ve run into each other at a party and are ripping each other’s clothes off in the bathroom, all thanks to Facebook.

“After a couple of weeks wasting valuable time looking at pictures, it’s time to take the next step. An actual IM.”

Yes, this is the kind of “getting acquainted” we consider acceptable during college. If I asked you how you met and you said, “Well we started writing on each other’s walls and one thing led to the next,” I probably wouldn’t make fun of you. Now, if I had met you in the real world and asked how you met the person you’re seeing and you said, “Oh you know, we met on eHarmony.com,” I would probably smile, and then run out of the room so I didn’t laugh directly in your face. This whole form of meeting is in the same realm as instant messaging. If you meet someone via instant message, you probably aren’t that cool, no matter how it happens.

But I’m not going to lie and say that I’ve never dated someone where the affair began somewhere in the online universe. You start by getting their screen name from their Facebook profile (obviously). You then casually check their away message and maybe their “info,” if you’re feeling extra Inspector Gadget that day. If there is a link to their pictures you may or may not look at them, because first you have to decide whether or not they’re using that secret thing that logs your screen name when you click the link. If they have that link, well, you’re pretty much screwed and your mysterious façade is blown. You decide they are too cool to actually spend the time to set that up and you take a stroll through their photo album.

Keep in mind you should be studying, and you probably aren’t even allowed to be doing this on the library computers, considering there are people who go to your school who actually do work… but whatever. Some of the people in the pics look familiar; you think you may have even been at one of the parties where some of these pictures were taken. He has his arm around that chick in two of his pictures… WHO IS SHE, whoa calm down, just check her out on Facebook, she’s probably in a relationship with some other kid anyway. So you check out her profile, she’s harmless, and it’s now been approximately forty-five minutes since you first innocently checked his away message.

After a couple of weeks wasting valuable time looking at pictures you’ve already looked at five times, it’s time to take the next step. An actual IM. You find yourself debating whether or not you should send this to his away message or to his active “running person” icon. Finally, you decide to balls up and IM him when he’s actually there.

You: Hey… I think you’re in my marketing class, do you know if we have anything due?
Random Kid: I don’t know, I never pay attention in that class anyways.
You: Haha, yeah me either…
Random Kid: You live in that dorm up on the hill right?
You: Yeah, my suitemates and I are having a party tonight actually
Random Kid: Sweet, I actually think I heard something about it earlier
You: Cool, well you should swing by
Random Kid: Yeah, I might do that
You: Nice. Well I gtg, see you later
Random Kid: peace

Batta bing, batta boom. Next thing you know, you two are waking up the following morning nude in the spooning position.

While I don’t recommend meeting your future other half either through Facebook or instant messaging, there's something to be said for its simplicity and appeal. It substitutes all of the awkward crap like exchanging numbers with a simple friend request or a click of the send button. Utilize these outlets while you can, because once you hit the real world, eHarmony.com won’t help you get laid, it will only help you get laughed at.