Eventually, the 90’s ended and so did high school. College was a chance for a clean slate, in both my GPA and the social scene. I was a poor student in high school, not because I couldn’t learn but that for various reasons I had simply lost interest in school. In fact, my guidance counselor pretty much bluffed me by threatening expulsion based on my lack of credits if I didn’t enroll in the school’s GED program, which happened to be ending the summer after I turned eighteen. I aced the exam and was soon on my way to my nearest community college. Suffice it to say, my expectations of college were far different than what I actually faced. Unlike no end of films from the 1980’s and 1990’s, there were no fraternities or sororities on or off campus. The college had clubs, but most of them essentially served to offer extracurricular credits in various majors and didn’t really exist for much recreation. By and large, the campus had little of its’ own “social scene” as most students seemed to come and go.
The first years of college were awkward for me. Not only was I getting used to attending daily classes as a regular student once again, but I was making the transition from being a teenager into being a young adult. Age twenty, in particular, was a difficult year for me, and felt like a crossroads. Naturally, things such as virginity were not something you wanted to broadcast in college, and the pressures regarding both it and dating in general were at a fever pitch as those hormones from puberty were still very fresh. It didn’t help that all of my friends from high school attended different colleges once they graduated. In truth, most of the friends I’ve ever gotten I got by all but stumbling into them or meeting friends of friends. By college, I’d grown so used to my clique that it was now even harder to branch out than before. I was also getting older and like most people aged 18-20, I’d thought I had everything figured out.
These were the years I was desperate for advice, but I also didn’t want to broadcast the fact that I needed it. All of my friends by now had had at least two or three relationships under their belt and had sex many times. My closest chums knew of my inexperience, but it was not something I liked to broadcast. So, I turned to that black cauldron for efforts at advice – the Internet. My access to it got easier in college due to their facilities, and the Internet as a thing was also evolving by leaps and bounds by the turn of the century. Things such as message boards and blogs were still new things, and I was getting adjusted to them. I would search for advice columns and by and large this led me to two places; the Playboy Adviser and the forums at About.com involving dating. I wrote a lot of long emails (under different emails) for the former and basically ranted about my own loser status on the latter. I got plenty of advice, but none of it seemed to stick or seem like something which was within my abilities.
These years were probably near the peak of my depression regarding my failures with the opposite sex. I seemed to see women everywhere with whom I never had the guts to chat up or talk to, and interaction with it seemed so much easier for my friends and peers. I would obsess about my lack of game and my own failures – believe it or not, in a manner which is far worse than I do now. I was in the middle of the five states of mourning the death of my love life. In high school I was in denial. By college I’d skipped past anger and would criss cross between bargaining and depression. I used to lament about how unfair it all seemed, about how it seemed so easy for everyone else but me, that I was the lowest form of life on campus. After a while of this routine on About.com a few posters finally pegged me as a sad sack. Even one reply from the Playboy Adviser to one of my more depressing letters recommended therapy. Yes, the historic soft core porn magazine’s online adviser was telling me I needed a shrink. Fun times.
There were some direct adventures with women during college, but not for quite a while. Instead there were some “never were’s” as my approach to learn as much about a woman in order to plan an approach (which I never did) or to make sure she wasn’t already dating someone usually kept me at a distance. I remember I had one teacher for a freshman orientation class which was 1 credit, 1 day a week who would have been in her mid twenties and was probably the first teacher in my life I had a crush on. I used to see her once a semester for assistance picking classes (as she also doubled as a guidance counselor), even to the point of stalling on picking a major for a year or so, just to have an excuse to hang around her. There was another lady from another class who was a ravishing red head with full, pouting lips who immediately captured my attention for that semester. We never spoke in class but she was so ravishing that I often felt smaller within her presence. Fortunately, before I even attempted to embarrass myself, I saw her being picked up by a beefy guy in a car after class one day, being driven off campus. I assumed it was her boyfriend and gave up. Naturally, the Playboy Adviser suggested I should have made a stab anyway, but what’d they know? Even if by some fluke that wasn’t a beau, I had no way to compete. I felt it best not to waste time trying.
It was about at this time that an added wrinkle came up which only added to the pressure of wanting to date anyone in class. I feared that a rejection would drive up tensions within that class as now not only would the entire class know I’d tried and failed to ask out a classmate, but now that classmate and I would have awkwardness between us for the rest of the class. Since I was barely going to classes in high school, that never occurred to me (even if I still never wanted it getting “out” that I liked any particular person). Now that I was making efforts to be a good student, I didn’t want to hinder it with drama.
As college would go on, despite my best efforts I did have some more chance encounters with women as I made my most valiant, but ultimately fruitless, attempt to overcome my own anxiety and get out into the field of dating. Those are tales for another day; this was just an introduction into the madcap era.