The Differences Between College Dating And Adult Dating


I was getting ready for a date the other night and to be completely honest, I was freaking the fuck out. This wasn’t just any date. Oh no, this was an adult date. Maybe right now you’re thinking, “But wait, what’s an adult date? I go on dates with guys from school all the time.” Well that’s fan-fucking-tastic for you, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there are about 18,488,320 differences between college dating and adult dating, the most important being that adult dating is soooooo much worse.

Let me break it down for you. College dating is easy, breezy. Maybe you meet a guy in class, he asks for your number, you text, he invites you to a pregame, you continue to text, he takes you to dinner (read: Chipotle), you go to the bars together a few times, you have sex, you continue to get drunk and have sex, and possibly at some point, you end up with a boyfriend. Boom, simple. Sure, the act of getting a guy to commit can be difficult, but the actual dating? That’s easy.

In college, it’s simple because before you even go out with the guy, you already know half his life story and the name of his second cousin twice removed. Sit in the middle during any chapter meeting, close your eyes, and toss five pennies in the air, and I can guarantee that you’ll hit at least one girl that knows the guy you’re going to date, or knows his friend, his ex, his brother, etc… As a female in the dating world, information is our most powerful weapon. You have to be prepared.

This is singlehandedly the biggest difference between dating in college and dating as an adult. Going on my date last week, I knew where the guy worked and what his first name was. That’s literally it. Hell, I didn’t even figure out his exact age until halfway through drinks. Even with my world-class stalking abilities, I was unable to find any of this guy’s social media pages. I was at a loss and going in blind.

Not only is the lack of information a stress-inducing difference between college and adult dating, but the venue changes as well. Maybe you are one of the lucky few who has been taken out on real, first dates (dinners, drinks, some sort of activity), but by and large, a first ‘date’ in college is going to be a pregame, a formal, going to the bar together, or grabbing food someplace on campus. It’s going to be lowkey and something you’re prepared for. Not only that, but there is almost certainly going to be copious amounts of alcohol there with the key intent on getting fucked up.

Contrast that with the adult dating world and you have a whole slew of other worries. First of all, your date could be any sort of unimaginable hell, like mini golf, and you may or may not know that beforehand. God forbid this guy tries to surprise you and end up wearing completely inappropriate footwear for the planned activity. There are just way too many variables to factor in.

More importantly, and more scary is the topic of alcohol and exactly how much you should drink. If the guy knows what he’s doing, casual drinks and apps are going to be the first date move. This is the least stressful of all possible situations, except there is still a whole hell of a lot of stress associated with this date. I like to drink. A lot. But I’m also a lady, in the most loosely defined way possible, meaning I am not going to outdrink a guy. If he has one beer, I’m having one vodka soda. If he orders a second, I’ll order a second. But I will never order another before he does. I personally find this difficult, because I’m a borderline alcoholic, and because when I drink, I drink to get drunk. Having anything less than three drinks really just seems like a waste of time and calories to me, but on a date, you have to let the guy set the pace.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if the guy is pounding them down, should you keep pace and get drunk? Especially if this guy is an older professional, you probably want to keep some semblance of dignity, meaning you can’t get shitfaced. But you also can’t be a prude about drinking. Factor in that you may have to drive later that night, drinking to the perfect level to get tipsy/drunk but not shitty is a delicate balancing act, one that I have unfortunately not been able to perfect yet.

College is the best four years of your life for so many reasons. You live like an adult without any of the responsibilities, but mostly, everything is just so damn easy. These last couple years, I (stupidly) thought I was a pro at dating and had that shit on lock. And then I entered the adult dating world and got a dose of reality. I wish I could be more helpful to those of you about to embark on this hellish, fun, crazy, stressful journey into adult dating, but right now, the best advice I have is trial and error, and if that doesn’t work, wine is always an acceptable option.

This featured image is a stock photo from our database. The people photographed are not in any way associated with the story.

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Champagne Showers is a contributing writer for TSM. She is your typical Northern Diva. If curse words, sexual content, and drug use offend you, then bless your heart. CS will continue living the life you're too scared to live. email her at:

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