Starting university presents most 18 year olds with more trouble than a polygraph to a Barcap rates trader, but one thing in particular should be easy, at least in theory: hooking up with someone in Fresher’s week. But like many a conviction buy stock, everything can go down as well as up (and not in a good way). A good fresher hook-up can be harder to find than a new Governor of the Bank of England. Many pitfalls await the unprepared. So before you bare all to someone you barely know, here is the inside information that should save you from Bob Diamond levels of retirement-inducing embarrassment.
First: choose wisely. Not all freshers are created equal, and there are certainly some you want to avoid. Girls, avoid anyone who has ever used #Lad on Twitter or Facebook unless you want your nocturnal proclivities on everyone’s lips before the first espressos are drunk and the Lex column read in the morning. Guys, avoid Americans (they can never take their booze well when drinking for the first time) and anyone who clings harder than an FSA lawsuit. And of course, everyone should avoid would-be student union hacks. They’ll come back to haunt you harder than Iranian wire transactions.
Second: avoid your own year. Hook up with a second year and you will get a) all the clipboard bitches’ numbers (if you don’t know why that’s important then just go home) and b) the inside track on who’s hosting the must-attend house parties. However, hooking up with someone who does the same subject is a market-beating manoeuvre. You have guaranteed non-romantic pillow talk (if you don’t know why that’s a plus then this just isn’t the column for you – try the knitting section) and you’ll come home in the morning glowing and knowing which books to ignore on the reading list. Your college parents would be proud.
Third: don’t get with someone in your own college. See note above on #Lad enthusiasts. You may think that’s its convenient, and you’d be right, but your smugness at a 200-yard walk of shame will quickly be replaced by awkwardness if things turn south. Which they will, because you’re a Fresher, and your first term hook-ups have about as much chance of success as the Facebook IPO did. Anyone who can turn their first university hook-up into a long-term fuck buddy is either dangerously good in bed or far too lucky for words. Keep it outside college and you can drop them like an underperforming fund should past performance turn out to be no guarantee of the future.
Fourth: and most importantly, pick someone with the same attitude as you. This is where the problems really begin. Trying to determine how someone you’ve just met feels about casual sex is about as hard as a pink paper crossword after ten tequilas and a power nap in the cab back to the office. Recommended are people who’ve taken gap years (seems to help with the perspective), products of public schools (they’ll be better at it than you), or someone with a significant other in a different country. Moral? No. Effective at aligning your attitudes? I’d put my Christmas bonus on it. No romance in the Square Mile I’m afraid. The disheartening fact for casual sex fans is that most people don’t measure up to any of these criteria. Many guys will claim they are all about one night stands, but don’t believe the hype girls, feelings get the better of many a would-be womaniser. So guys, don’t assume it’ll be her ruining it for both of you. Remember No Strings Attached? If it can happen to Ashton, it can happen to you.
So maybe it’s futile? Perhaps the promised land of no commitment sex is no more real than the greenbacks Bernanke pumps out of the Fed. Before you start to despair at trying to find a second year Sloane from Hild Bede who’s been on a gap year and has a boyfriend in France, here is some advice that can help you find Mr or Mrs Right for the Night.
1. Chatham House Rules. Look them up; respect them.
2. Location. Hooking up in a club is almost as stupid as letting Greece into the Euro. Find somewhere that is either private or not a typical student haunt. If it comes down to a choice between yours and theirs, pick theirs, but only if you can get out of where they live discreetly (i.e. without their keys). Having to ask your hookup to escort you from the building is about as subtle as the ’06 Goldmans Christmas Party.
3. Mindset. If freshers’ week isn’t meant to be serious, then sex in freshers’ week certainly shouldn’t be. So don’t try to jump on the “we met in Freshers’ week and we’re going to get married” bandwagon (you know who you are). Don’t just open your legs; open your mind as well.
4. Timing. Hooking up on a night out is more clichéd than dollar-sign braces and slicked back hair. Afternoon delight is the new morning sex, so break up those shifts in the library. Cash bonus for staying in the library.
That’s all there is to it. So get out there and find someone with fewer morals than a Goldmans CDO sales desk. You won’t be disappointed.