Single in the City: Mixed Messages, Club Confessions, and Hook Ups

I often find myself feeling confused and lost when it comes to being single at university. I think it’s difficult to distinguish between just a club hook up or when someone wants something more because singledom at university is such a unique experience. The music, the lights, the empty bottle of Barefoot’s Pinot Grigio, followed by those deadly 99p jaggers can quickly cloud your judgement on the dance floor. 4s can very easily turn into 6s and, I mean, as long as you’re tall and have brown hair you’re on my radar. 

But that’s something that makes university so fun. Being single means you can have that morning after debrief over coffee in the Lime Tree with your friends, recounting the events of the previous night. We can all relate to being slowly hit with those terrible flashbacks of you dancing on the pole at Labs or cringe as you remember the jokes you were making with that guy at the bar. Or in my case, hearing your friends recount the tale of how they had to carry you away from your class crush as you ended up falling and face planting the floor right next to his feet when attempting to introduce yourself.

However, being single can be hard. You have to be ready to put yourself out there and be prepared to make mistakes. We are all guilty of getting with people that you really shouldn’t (friends, flatmates, your friend’s flatmates and your flatmate’s friends), and you will commit at least one of the ‘-cests’ (flatcest, friendcest or coursecest) by the time the year is up. But who cares! I would much rather my love life be complicated than boring.

Everyone knows that the first term of university is a serious no-no for relationships. Why would you want one now? In the first term of university you have the most freedom – your degree is not weighing you down; people are desperate to go out and make new friends and you are still at that point where you think going to Peachy’s will be a fun night out. Yet, as these winter months approach I find more and more that my single friends end up talking about how it would be so nice to go around the Bath Christmas market with someone special or cuddle up with a cup of hot chocolate and a cheesy Christmas movie.

But then I think about the positives of being single and the freedom it gives you. I love the uncertainty, the possibilities. Getting with a guy you really fancy at a club honestly does make the night – let’s face it, when you don’t get with anyone, your night doesn’t quite feel complete. Being single can be so easy and worry free, but if you are wanting to cross over to the other side, how can you do it? It is so difficult to work out whether that really cute guy who asked for your snap at the bar and who studies either engineering or economics (the music was too loud and it’s awkward to ask again) was really into you. How can you distinguish who is only shaggable and who is boyfriend material? How do you read between the lines into where you should or shouldn’t invest your time in?

The bigger question we find ourselves asking is, how can you tell when someone is actually interested or just wanting sex?

I’m not criticising anyone for only wanting sex and not wanting relationships. But for those of us who hope to meet ‘the one’ at university (because isn’t that such a flex!) it can be difficult to work out when someone wants something more. I have been guilty on confessing to finding the love of my life on the dance floor at Labs on more than one occasion, but what are the uni years for if not to fall in and out of love as much as you can whilst getting a degree! You need to have a few Daniel Cleavers before finally landing your Mark Darcy. 

So, in hope of us all finding that Mr Darcy one day I have formed a list of green flags for university hook ups. It is important to take all of these with a massive ladle of salt because in the first term of university – everyone is getting with everyone. You might think someone really likes you, then see them getting with someone else on a night out – believe me, been there done that, twice. That is completely normal. Until you are exclusive, they will be seeing other people. But hey, that’s life.

So, the finalised list of green flags for club hook ups:

  1. They walk you home late at night, even if it’s all the way from East to West
  2. They ‘accidentally’ leave an item of clothing (or a ring – even hotter) at yours, or give you one of their jumpers to walk home in so you’re less obviously walking through the Parade in your clubbing outfit.
  3. They made an effort to engage with the friends you went out with that night.
  4. They remember details about you i.e. your degree, where you’re from etc.
  5. They snap you during the day, not just at night.
  6. If you see them round campus, they come up to you and say hi.
  7. They chat to your flatmates when you awkwardly bump into them in the hallway.
  8. You get together on multiple nights out, and almost feel they are looking for you on the dance floor.
  9. They introduce you to their flat and you eat in their kitchen – weetabix for two anyone?
  10. They do not play rugby.

It is important to realise that this is not a definitive guide, but should rather provide the inspiration for your own decisions and choosing which person to invest the most of your time in hope of something more serious coming from it.

First term relationships pretty much always fail, but you don’t have to be in a proper relationship to find your special someone to make these cold nights a little less chilly. However, it is important to remember to not be too sad when spring comes, and the winter situation-ship you were in finally ends and melts away.

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