Jack’s Beginner’s guide to college hookups: good luck

You’ve broken up with your high school sweetheart, you’ve bought a liter of Ketel One from that liquor store that sometimes-but-not-always doesn’t card, you’re out with all of our new college friends, and all of you are on the prowl.

It may sound shallow, but a hookup with a random girl at a party or a bar is practically considered a rite of passage for many. Everybody seems to have that story about the time that they stumbled into an amazing night with an awesome girl that they never had the burden of having to call again.

But actually being in those situations can be a little more nerve-wracking than the stories that your more, uh, experienced friends tell. So here’s a nice little primer the next time you spot Ms. Right Now from across the room.

Rule 1: There are no rules. This is college — normal social rules don’t even remotely apply. You can have a girl swooning for you, stop to go to the bathroom, and see her leaving with your best friend — or even your own brother — by the time you get out. And that’s totally fine.

Or you can have the hottest girl at the party ready to go home with you, and decide that you’d rather play card games with the people you just met, or argue about who is better, Ronaldo or Messi (correct answer: Messi). That’s fine, too.

If you make the classic mistake on Friday of falling for a 10 at 3 a.m. that turns into a three at 10 a.m., don’t be embarrassed — walk her home, drink some water and hope for a better Saturday! If you see her that night, give her a big smile and wave and politely do your best to stay out of her path.

The beauty of college is that, short of committing felonies, or deciding to never attend class, you don’t have to apologize for or explain anything you do. And that goes for when that magical moment comes when you do manage to snag that stunning brunette from the second floor. Bring her to breakfast the next morning? Fine. Tell her why you think she’s super duper great, but things could never work between you two? Go ahead, Nick Lachey. Ask her to marry you? It’s a long shot, but what do you have to lose? In short: do whatever the hell makes you happy.

The one thing, as a man, that you shouldn’t do is disrespect the member of the opposite sex that you happen to cavort with, even if it is a one-night thing. Don’t proclaim the hookup from the mountaintops, don’t snap a photo if she’s not willing (or worse, not looking) and don’t make her feel inferior for indulging in her impulses. Always, but especially in college, men and women should be judged (or better yet, not judged) equally for their number of, shall we say, “conquests.” If you’re proud of your “number,” you shouldn’t expect your female counterpart to be ashamed of hers.

And if you happen to fall for one of your one-nighters? That’s great. If she doesn’t feel the same way? Whatever. She ain’t better’n you. Next Friday promises a whole new crop, and a whole new set of opportunities.