How to safely master the winter break fling

The pros and cons of hooking up over winter break: the exes, something new, or the tinder stranger


Oh, the holidays. Hopefully most of you went back to your hometown for Thanksgiving, draped in your new Portland-edge and with more worldly ideas (i.e. you fought with your mom about Caitlyn Jenner and your uncle about ISIS. Trust me, first-years, you’ll get that whole informed dinner conversation thing down to a science in no time).

You probably also whipped out a location-based dating app to see what’s new in the old neighborhood. Gays, you’ll probably see some “straight” boys from high school. Many of you will remember why you left your hometown in the first place.

On the other hand, if you are from somewhere loud and exciting, you probably are thrilled to be back. Now, you can impress the local yuppies with your understanding of institutional oppression and various movements in art.

If Facebook relationship status changes are an accurate indicator, what has long been stereotyped is true: most breakups happen between Thanksgiving and New Years. For many students returning home for various breaks, it is a convenient time to breakup with your high school sweetheart, since face-to-face is always preferable. Former high school classmates will be around to swoop in with the ever-so-casual “how’s it been going since we last spoke?” after they’ve been alerted to your singleness.

So when you head back after finals, for what will be nearly a month, how do you select and execute your hookups? Do you resort to comfortable exes, try something new knowing that nobody at LC will hear about your endeavor, or tinder away your Tuesday nights?

Let’s weigh pros and cons.

Exes, pro: You already know how to please them, don’t have to curate your appearance or personality too much before you see them and conversation is easy.

Exes, con: Someone — it might be you — will have one glass of wine too many and get emotional. Trust me. You can be absolutely sure that you both are down a for a casual, fun and easy fling… but you could be wrong. Try having someone tell you they love you during the second winter break session of Netflix-and-chill, four months after you broke up.

Something new, pro: You are a new person now. You’ve been enlightened by Portland and liberal arts rigor. Never mind if it is all misguided cultural snobbery — you need to show the world the new you! Date a DJ. If you are 19, find yourself a bartender who can sneak you in. Have you tried a cross-generational relationship? Because it might be time for a daddy. Basically your parents will be concerned, but you can assert that the old you is dead.

Something new, con: It is sort of uncomfortable to jump into a new scene or sex culture and not feel clumsy. If you feel insecure about your body at the slightest social discomfort, then perhaps your ex is a safer bet. And if finding you with a 50-year-old man would give your mom a heart attack, then maybe just find a college-aged stranger.

Tinder stranger, pro: With a little investigation, you can reasonably conclude that a tinder/scruff/grindr match is safe. Ask mutual friends what they know about them, or meet first in a public place.

Tinder stranger, con: Well the downside to mutual friends, is that they could run their mouth. Also, remember that there is probably a higher chance of running into them at a party.

Whatever you choose, remember that everyone has feelings — even those who have had a lot of sexual partners. Respect your sexual partners if they get emotional for you. If they want to stay over when you expected them to leave, be respectful. If you are really such a player that a hookup means nothing to you, than have the courage to say hi the next time you see a hookup in public. Don’t go running right to your group chat to shit talk the morning after, because they deserve respect.

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