Hooking Up With Your RA: Right On, or Wrong Turn?
Listen up incoming freshmen: in a few weeks, you’re going to find yourself on a huge college campus full of more hook-up potential than you could ever dream. In the next few years, some of you will have long-term relationships, while many of you will engage in short-term hook-ups.
There are several types of college relationships that have an urban legend-esque feel to them: the sexy school girl and the married professor, the sexy school girl and the teaching assistant, and, of course, the sexy school girl and the resident assistant.
I have never hooked up with one of my RAs, but that’s because I’ve only ever had female RA’s. Still, I know plenty of people who have dabbled in these waters. I’m not here to condone or condemn the practice, because I’ve certainly had my fair share of regrettable trysts, but I am here to lay out some of the baggage that comes with such a hook up.
First of all, consider the fact that even inter-floor mating can lead to year-long awkwardness. If you fear the inevitable walk of shame, imagine the anxiety that comes with the chance that one of your floormates sees you leaving the RA’s room in last night’s bar clothes. Even if you survive the W.O.S, you risk the rumors and reputation — people are more apt to label someone “the girl that banged the RA” than “the chick who nailed whatshisname in 5B.” Even worse, if you can’t handle the tension of a chance meeting on the elevator (or on the way to the showers), you are biting off more than you can chew with by shacking up with your RA.
Your RA is someone you will probably have to turn to throughout the year. He’ll be the one to let you into your room when you are locked out wearing only a towel. This means he also has the master key to your room (not implying anything, just saying). He’s also someone who will have to keep tabs on you throughout the year. He’ll be writing you up for dorm parties, open containers, and that hole in your wall that you forgot to fix before move-out day. This fact alone can open up a brand new can of worms in Relationship Land.
If he feels insecure about the hook-up, there’s a chance he goes on a power trip to get even. I’m not saying all RA’s are scumbags, but it’s a possibility. There’s also the possibility that you feel insecure, and blow things out of proportion: Is he writing me up because I never called him again? Yet another possibility is that you are overly confident: He won’t write me up, because I slipped him some poon, and end up getting yourself into trouble by thinking dorm rules don’t apply to you.
If you do get busted by your RA after having (or continuing to have) a relationship with him, it makes him doing his job more personal as well. Maybe he stops by to say hello and notices a box of Franzia on your desk on your “dry” floor. He puts his job first and makes you pour it out and writes you up. Do you really want any more emotions stacked on top of the pain of losing all of that perfectly good alcohol?
On the other hand, RA’s are people too. Many of them sign up to save money on housing– and I think saving money in college is something we can all relate to. I’ve known some really cool RA’s in the past, and some of them are so laid back, you don’t even realize that technically, they are in charge of the floor. If there is a real connection between you and your RA, who’s to say it can’t work out? Besides, he’ll most likely have a single (a rarity in dormland), so you won’t have to worry about a roommate barging in. In that case, I recommend having an adult conversation and weighing the pros and cons of pursuing your feelings, or even looking into swapping floors for future semesters. You might also want to find out if he has a reputation for seducing his advisees Van-Wilder-Style before you get in too deep.
In my experience (or my friends’ experiences, rather), the RA hookup is a bad idea. There are plenty of other fellas on campus to make regrets out of, so why make a mistake with someone who is pretty much in charge of your living quarters? Still, it’s always best to trust your intuition, and see where that takes you.
For the record, I also don’t advise going shot for shot in a foreign country with your orientation leader, but that’s a whole new set of wisdom.