If a milkshake brings all of the boys to the yard, I know a way to keep them out. So far past the perimeters they’ve taken a three-mile long-cut just to avoid walking on your grass.
What’s this guaranteed boy repellent?
The un-relenting light of day.
Call this a vampire conspiracy theory, but from my experience, suggesting afternoon coffee to a college guy is the equivalent of asking for their hand in marriage or to father your future child. I’ll meet one at a poorly lit bar, by the green glow of a lava-lamp at a ’70s themed party, or under the dimmed fluorescent lighting of the common room, and we’ll hit it off. He’ll ask if he can call me. He’ll “call” the next Saturday, in the form of a lackluster text message at around 9 p.m., approximately the same time we met the week before. Too early in the night to write it off as a booty-call, but too late that I shouldn’t have plans already.
“What r u up to?” he’ll ask, and I’ll wonder why a college-educated person would deliberately choose to downplay their spelling abilities.
Though small in word count and light in consequence, “what are you up to” is a loaded question. “Not much, you?” makes you sound boring or lacking a social life. Telling them what you are actually doing, “eating spaghetti with cheese,” or “walking home from the drug store” seems like an over-share. And you both know where this little text-dance is leading—“Do you want to hang out?”
“Hanging out,” for a college man, consists of one of the following activities: watching the last episode of 30 Rock from his laptop while sitting on his unmade bed, him reaching over to touch your hair during a commercial break; going to a sweaty dorm party where he graciously offers you beer from the fridge and shouts in your ear over the loud music; or, for the adventurous few, meeting for a classy drink at the college dive bar next to campus, where you happen to run into five of his friends and end up shoved between two of them at a booth.
And all of these activities, must, under all circumstances, happen at night.
My attempts to move these “hang outs” to the daytime have consistently been shut down, in a variety of mediums. When I suggested coffee to one guy, he texted “Let’s do drinks later instead.” When I said “what about lunch” to another, he IMed “Sorry, just ate.” I once had a guy take out me out for bagels in the morning, and I was thrilled. It depresses me how little it takes to impress me. However, I’m not sure if this still counts, as he asked me while I was already in his bed.
I understand the appeal of night; a black sky, a lurking moon, a sense of indescribable mystery in the air. Nighttime feels sinister; it feels full of uncharted and unrealized potential—you could do anything, be anyone. Not to mention drink alcohol, which means fewer inhibitions and more potential for sex. But most of the men I encounter by night are not even drunk; they are themselves, just with more cologne and a half-empty beer in their hand.
Call me a romantic, but I like to be able to see the face of the guy I’m kissing. I’ll take the awkward lighting of day over the veil of night, where I can see the pimple on their chin, and they can probably see mine, too. Daylight may feel more like reality than the topsy-turvy world of night, but shouldn’t what we do, in anytime of day, still count?
Or maybe the fear of day comes from the suspicion that daytime hangouts verge on, god forbid, “date territory.” A date is enough to give a college guy blue balls and a hernia for a week. I should explain here that I am not in the market for a relationship either. In fact, I’m just as scared of getting into one as any guy on Frat Row. But that doesn’t mean I want to feel cheap, or disrespected, or only suitable after 9 p.m. I’m still the same person I am in the afternoon. But for them, hooking-up by the glow of a TV-screen is far less intimate, far less “real,” than a walk in the park under the afternoon sun.
If they only knew; I would be far more inclined for a late night rendezvous after a mid-day sandwich.