I love writing about sex, I love talking about sex and until recently, I thought I knew everything there was to know about sex.

For the past year, it’s been my responsibility to guide our student body through the sticky world of relationships, hookups and everything in between. I’ve tackled questions ranging from long-distance relationships to the perfect blow job, all the while claiming to be a sexual guru. However, recent events have forced me to question my so-called expertise in a way I can only convey through the following question: What the fuck am I doing?!

I’m back at school, single for the first time in nearly two years and ready to jump back into Madison’s avid hookup culture. While remnants of my freshman-year self are creeping up like a raging herpes outbreak (figuratively, thank god), what I’ve noticed most is the sheer cluelessness I feel every time I enter a room full of eligible guys.

After three weeks of socially questionable behavior, I’m finally re-learning the rules of attraction. Forget trials and tribulations — there are some things you should never do, no matter how many vodka tonics you’ve had or how new you are to the scene, which is why I’ve decided to commemorate the end of Welcome Week with a guide to Madison hookups. Enjoy, reflect, and for the love of all that’s good…don’t take me too seriously.

Texts from last night

DO: Be mindful of late-night banter. Whether you’re initiating or receiving the obligatory “What are you up to?” text, don’t act pushy. Overly eager texting can bump you up to creeper-status, and let’s be honest, no one wants to deal with that.

Example: If the person you’re getting with is at Brats, there’s absolutely no reason to rush there. To avoid coming off like a total desperado, stick with a suggestively casual response, like “I’m at a party on Langdon, let’s meet up later.” It seems obvious, but we all know that a few drinks can transform even the calmest person into a raging psychopath.

DON’T: Do any of the following: 1) Repeatedly text someone who clearly isn’t responding, 2) Respond to one-word texts like “Haha” or “Yeah,” or 3) Text someone intimate details about a previous hookup, or for that matter any information you obtained from their Facebook. Remember: less is always more, and finding that perfect balance between being yourself and not coming off like a social pariah will always yield the best results.


DO: Forget the stigma surrounding younger men: cougars are all the rage, just ask Courtney Cox! If you’re an upperclassman, you’ve probably felt like the oldest person at a party at least once this past week. No lie, it’s a weird feeling. But even though it may seem like you’re out of options, younger men can be just as exciting and even as mature as the older guys we once fawned over.

DON’T: While I’m all for multi-grade hookups, sometimes age isn’t just a number. Whether it’s a matter of maturity or expectations, there are times when either person could benefit from backing off. Surprisingly, social boundaries are often crossed by the cougar herself, which provides a strange form of entertainment not dissimilar to watching a car accident.

Example: Hooking up with a younger guy should never be synonymous with having a brand-new slave. Often, college cougars take their old age as a free pass to treat younger guys like infants, even going so far as nicknaming him something along the lines of “baby.” Bossing a younger guy around may seem desirable at first, but I assure you, stringing him along will waste your dignity faster than your younger man can say his ABC’s.

Revenge of the nerds

DO: Keep in mind that everyone plays by a different set of social rules. What’s normal to one person might seem completely off-base to the next. If you’re hooking up with someone who might seem a little nerdy at first glance, don’t disregard them right away. Research shows that sometimes, the most unexpected people turn out to be the best in bed.

DON’T: Assume that hooking up with a so-called dweeb gives you license to do and say anything you want. It’s a total misconception that whatever you do will be more normal than what they’re used to, and altering your social norms to their perceived level will only prove disastrous. Treat the situation just like any other, as if you’re hooking up with the most average, run-of-the-mill person around.

Example: So, you’re hooking up with a supposed nerd. Should you talk about school? Dungeons and Dragons? Anything should do, right? Wrong. Avoid lengthy rants on the following subjects, no matter who you’re trying to get with: 1.) The Human Centipede, a recent horror film about the surgical joining of three captives, mouth-to-anus, 2.) Ten-minute YouTube videos, or 3.) Graphic details about your recent UTI and/or yeast infection.

Pulling yourself up from the wreckage

No matter how much damage you’ve done this Welcome Week, just remember: It’s never too late to re-learn the basics — or in my case, the weird intricacies people usually disregard, almost small enough to miss. While I’m sure few of us are entirely and completely embarrassment-free at this point — such a feat would be nearly impossible — I have always been one to make light of my blunders rather than wiping the slate clean. Besides, it’s always helpful to keep those shameful moments as distant, fond reminders of how never to act in public.