The right way to date in Cambridge

How to find love in a hopeless place.

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You know what you need now that the first essay crisis has blown over? Love.

Someone who will hold you as you weep over your latest supervision, who will enable your procrastination by watching Netflix with you and who will still find you attractive even after you’ve pulled an all-nighter and resemble a cast member of The Walking Dead.

This, my fresher friends, is a tall order. But fear not, I am here to be your guide through the perilously awkward world that is the Cambridge dating scene and show you the right way to date in Cambridge.

Though some would argue that I’m not qualified to give advice on this

DON’T bother with long distance

Whether it’s your sixth form sweetheart who’s swanned off to Durham, the sexy and mysterious international student on your corridor who’s going back to New Zealand as soon as term ends or that hottie from Girton you met in Cindies, just don’t bloody bother with long distance relationships. They make you miserable. You mope around missing them when you should be working, you drunk dial them when you should be out enjoying yourself and you stay up late skyping them on shitty college wifi when you could be catching up on precious precious sleep.

It will inevitably end with you talking your friends’ ears off about how sad you are and agonising over your situation before breaking their heart over the course of an awkward eleven-second phone call. Save yourself the hassle and break up before you leave.

STFU you saps

DO wait for people to reveal their true colours

I would generally advise that you avoid getting with anyone in the first week, not for slut shame-y reasons (as long as you’re both two consenting adults, party on) but to prevent awkwardness. Everyone is trying very hard to seem like a cool and friendly person in the first week. This will wear off by Week 2 and you’ll start to see their true colours leak through. That person who seemed hot and funny and cool in freshers’ week might actually be a total arsehole who secretly has a really racist twitter.

So give yourself a bit of time to suss out who everyone really is. Imagine if on your freshers’ week pub crawl you got with someone who turned out to burn money in front of homeless people, or kick puppies or is determined to become CUSU president/chairperson of CUCA/editor of the Tab.

Disclaimer: I solemnly swear I have never gotten with any CUSU presidents, CUCA chairpeople or Tab editors, past or present, though they are lovely people

DON’T get committed to anyone in your first term

I get it guys, the temptation is real, but don’t leap into the arms of the first person who flirts with you in the library. You’re at uni meeting a tonne of new people every day, don’t waste what could be countless fantastic opportunities to socialise, make new friends and try new things, because you wanted to stay in making heart eyes at someone you’ll break up with after a few weeks once you’ve realised you have nothing in common apart from the fact that you both like watching The Great British Bake Off.

We all know Selasi is a hottie, but you cannot base a relationship on that alone

DO play the field

The real trick to dating is to *gasp* go on loads of dates, ideally with lots of different people. Give everyone a trial run, if there’s a spark, great! If not, at least you discovered a nice new coffee place to take your next date and you’ll have plenty of amusing stories to tell your friends.

“All I said was Homerton doesn’t really count as a college! And the crazy bitch punched me and left!”

DON’T date within your college family

I feel like ‘don’t shag family members’ should go without saying, but because you lot are clearly sick, I’m going to say it anyway. Don’t shag your sibling. Don’t shag your mum. Don’t shag your dad. Don’t shag your spouse. College family is supposed to be a platonic supportive structure to help naive freshers.

Don’t cause this beautiful system to implode into awkwardness and tension because you can’t keep it in your pants.

It’s just not fair on the kids

DO ignore the advice of some Tab columnist who doesn’t even know you

I’m gonna level with you guys, I broke every single rule on this list and I’m pretty happy that I did. After sowing my wild oats for all of a few weeks, I started dating my college husband, who at the time was living in a different country to me, and by the end of term bop we were drunkenly professing our love to each other. Three years later, we still do that, but we’re sober (mostly).

*insert annoying caption about love and stuff here*

But I’m not telling you this as an excuse to overshare about my relationship or embarrass my partner (sorry babe). I’m telling you this to remind you that there is no ‘right’ way to date in Cambridge. The heart is a complex mechanism and sometimes you have to trust it. Even if annoying advice columnists who think they know everything tell you your relationship/FWB-ship/college marriage is doomed, always remember this:

As long as you are happy with your choices and can stand by them, then they’re the right choices for you.