Susanna Liu

dear sex on the wknd, i’ve wasted countless fucking hours having crushes on dumb men i barely know, going on stupid little dates with stupid little men, and curating dating app profiles that yield nothing. i’m about to turn 21 and i’m still a fucking virgin who’s never even kissed anyone. how do i stop being a serial monogamist in my own head only in terms of people i barely know and have a hoe phase once it becomes safe, public health wise? even if i decide i don’t want that, how do i just get in the situation where you get to kiss someone?

Wow … the anger in this message is so palpable. I feel you. I’ve probably wasted a good 20 percent of my life thinking, stressing and complaining about “dumb men I barely know” and “stupid little men.” I’ll just use “men” from now on, since I think it’s safe to assume most men at Yale are dumb and little — both literally and figuratively..

For my last column of the year, I think talking about a safe hoe phase is only fitting. Assuming you’re fully vaccinated, or will be soon, this summer will hopefully be full of many more opportunities to date and meet new people than last year. What I’m saying is: it’ll be a lot easier to have your hoe phase this summer.

But: is that what you really want? From the sound of your question, it sounds like you’re beating yourself up for still being a virgin and never having kissed anyone — neither of which is bad or unusual. You’d be surprised by how many questions I’ve received asking variations of the same question: “I still haven’t had my first kiss, boyfriend, hookup or date! What do I do?” Though this column, and Yale culture in general, likes to discuss sex casually and normalize hookup culture, I don’t mean to suggest that this is how everyone is, or ought to be, living. Not having had your first kiss yet might make you feel like you’re missing a badge on your Boys Scouts sash that everyone else already has, or you’re left out on the world’s cruelest inside joke. But it’s nothing to lose sleep over — chapped lips touching chapped lips isn’t quite the sparks-fly, life changing moment you might think it is. Disclaimer: your first kiss could be like this! It’s okay to want this! It’s also totally okay if your first kiss ends up being lack-luster. In fact, I don’t know anyone who had a magical first kiss.

Moving onto your “hoe phase”:

Everyone interprets this term differently, but I’ll assume that your idea of a “hoe phase” is being sexually active, seeing lots of people, going on dates, and, most importantly, not getting committed to any one person. Though you might go into it expecting to be independent and emotionally unavailable, you’ll be surprised by how quickly your attitude can change. After all, don’t we all want to date or even just hook up with funny, interesting, smart, kind, attractive people? Even during your hoe phase, you shouldn’t settle for mediocre dates and mediocre sex. You should date funny, interesting, smart, kind, attractive people. But, ah that brings us to the inherent dilemma with hoe phases. If you’re having a good time with someone, one of you is likely to catch feelings. And in that case, your hoe phase will either end, and you’ll start dating or go exclusive, or one of you will get hurt. This is called a phase for a reason. Hoe phases are unsustainable and, if taken too far, can leave you feeling a lot of pain and frustration.

Take my hoe phase, for example. Freshman year, I broke up with my long-distance boyfriend and commenced my hoe phase to get him out of my system. I started seeing someone in my residential college out of convenience, and the sex was unbelievable. So unbelievable we would meet up in the 15-minute window between classes, that 3:45 – 4 p.m. sweet spot, to sneak in a quickie. So unbelievable we did it in the bottom bunk of his teeny tiny bunk bed, and it was still that good. And the conversation was great. Teasing, good stories, the works. I had a decent friend with benefits, who even lived in my entryway — what more could a girl ask for?

You won’t be surprised to find out that I very quickly developed feelings. You won’t be surprised to find out that he, being a dumb and little Yale boy, did not care that I had developed feelings for him. You may be surprised, because this was a real dick move on his part, that one night, after we’d just had unbelievable sex, he told me all about the intense feelings he had for a girl he’d met at a party a few weeks earlier.

Don’t worry, I moved on — eventually. But it felt like a big punch in the face at the time, like I’d totally played myself. Of course he was into someone else. We weren’t supposed to develop feelings for each other. That was the whole point of the arrangement. I was in my hoe phase. Or so I thought. Anyway, there’s my little warning for you before you jump into your own phase. Know what you’re getting yourself into, and make an exit plan.

If you still really want to get out of your head and just do the damn thing, here’s my advice:

1. Figure out what you want right now. A person to kiss? A stable relationship? Something in between? Since your question says that you just want to get in the situation to kiss someone, let’s go with that first option.

2. Okay, a person to kiss … First, you’ve got to get rid of every trope you’ve been fed about magical first kisses. Unless you have great karma and an experienced partner, your first kiss is going to suck. My first kiss was with a stranger from a neighboring high school whose stubble left tiny scratches on my chin that lasted for days. Your first kiss is probably going to be awkward — one of you will tilt your head the wrong direction and their glasses will hit your face and you’ll forget what to do with your hands and maybe they’ll slobber all over you and your tongue will get into a tangle with theirs and so on.

But Sex on the WKND …  Should I pre-game to get rid of the nerves?

Great question. Being tipsy will most definitely reduce your feelings of self-consciousness and awkwardness. But you don’t want to get into the habit of relying on alcohol to hook up with people. For a while, back in my hoe phase, I had to get near black-out drunk to even feel like I could pull someone to go home with me. You don’t want to be like freshman year me.
But a few shots of Tito’s before you go out? Obviously I’d never say no to that. Just be careful, especially your first few times hooking up with someone.

3. Alright, let’s find a person to kiss! Depending on your perspective, this is either the easiest or hardest part of this entire process. Redownload your dating apps and swipe from the perspective of wanting a casual hookup. You’re not looking for Mr. Right. You’re looking for someone to kiss. That’s it. And you’re definitely not going to find Mr. Right on Yale Tinder anyway, so let’s not delude ourselves here.

I would suggest someone beardless for your first time. You don’t want to be left with scratches. Look for someone who looks sweet and wholesome, but also like they’ve been around the block a couple times, you know what I mean?
If you’re not into dating apps, scope out your surroundings. Any cuties in your classes? Now’s the perfect time to slide in with that “hey is it just me or does professor XYZ look just like voldemort? also do you wanna study for the final together?” message. Anyone catching your eye in your apartment building elevator or your biweekly walk to the testing site? Remember, just like with the apps, you’re looking for someone to kiss, not someone to bring home to meet your parents and grandma.

4. Situations where you end up kissing someone can vary a lot. Let’s go with the most vanilla, tried-and-true option. The end-of-first-date kiss. Say you went out for dinner, drinks or a movie. You’re leaving the location and you’re about to call it a night. Suggest going for a quick walk to stretch the ole legs. Yes this is kind of stupid but what are they going to say? No? Stay with me here. Walk as little or long as you want, just make sure you find a bench. Maybe there’s a park nearby, or a subway stop. Literally anything. Just sit down. Ideally, it’d also be somewhere secluded but we can’t be picky. Sitting is also ideal as it puts you in control of your body and gets rid of any major height difference issues. Yale men may be dumb and little, but they can be pretty fucking tall. It’ll be much easier to lean in for a peck when you’re seated.

Now, here’s the important part. Make sure you are not sitting miles apart on this bench!! Take a seat smack in the middle of it if you have to. There should not be more than six inches between you two. Continue talking about whatever brilliant thing you were discussing, but — and this is key — you need to maintain INTENSE eye contact. Intense. Don’t be weird about it, but look at your date with intention. Your heart will probably be beating really fast by now and you’ll be unsure if they’re picking up the vibes. They almost always are. As you talk, get closer and closer until you could easily lean in for a kiss. Then do it! Maybe they will first. It’ll be pretty obvious by now what you’re trying to do, but it won’t be so abrupt that they’ll be surprised.

Green flags to look for: Do they keep looking at your lips? Instead of both facing straight forward, are you facing each other? Are their shoulders turned towards you? Are your knees touching? Are they smiling when you speak? It’s not rocket science, people. If they’re into you, you can usually tell.

Make sure to read their body language. If there’s any indication that they wouldn’t want to kiss you, STOP. Your time will come. Just not today.

Sex on the WKND |