Knowledge and wisdom and sex

Let’s talk about sex.

That is the name of a song by Salt-N-Pepa and isn’t entirely what I’m going to talk about. Well, in a way. But now that I have your attention, let me spit a little bit of wisdom (though self-administered) about dating for all of the students here at Calvin who are but wee little babies, just beginning your journey at this school.

Now, anyone who knows me is definitely saying right now, with heavy sarcasm, “Mark, what the heck do you know about dating, is it because of all the women you’ve dated here?” And you know what? You’re right. I know as much about personally being in a relationship as I do about shamelessly hooking in a reader with a provocative lead title and sentence. But since I have a brain and a functioning awareness of the things that go on around me (still working on that), I don’t think I have to be a character from “Sex and the City” to know a thing or two about dating. So plug in your headphones, turn on some R. Kelly, and get ready to be learned a thing or two, kiddos.

First thing’s things first, I’m the realest. Second, I may have called you various names synonymous to infants up until this point, but let me be very clear when I say that you are not a kid anymore. You may be new to independence, and despite living in the dorms, some of you who grew up near or in Grand Rapids may be spending every minute of free time at your house. Make no mistake, though, you are an adult. Scary, I know, but it’s only scary because of the implications. Being an adult means that you are responsible for your actions. Mistreating someone while in a relationship, or outside of one, can no longer be attributed to your innocent “youngness.”

If you’re excited, though, you need to be careful with that as well. Can we be honest here for a moment? Young adults, especially those between the age of 17 and 22, can be very motivated by sexual desire. It’s a thing, and we can’t ignore it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be smart. I wish it weren’t necessary, but there are people who need to be reminded that consent needs to be given from both parties in order for a sexual act to take place. There is no way around it. There is a lot of weight in the decisions you are making when the immediate outcome is sexual fulfillment. Like I said, you are adults who can make your own decisions, but therein lies a responsibility to yourself and the people around you. I’m not here to make a judgment on whether you should have sex or not, but it is a situation that many people will face in their time here at Calvin, and more often than not, people aren’t prepared for the mental and emotional implications of it.

There is also dating in general. In a college environment there is more pressure to date than there is pressure in the Large Hadron Collider. I don’t know if that makes sense or is accurate. I’m not a scientist. But even those from public colleges would be confounded by the incredible pressure there is here to not only date, but to find the ONE. You know what I mean. We grow up with these fairy-tales where two people who are perfect for each other magically fall in love and live together forever in a world where farts don’t exist and maturity is unnecessary. I don’t know if you knew this, but … wait for it … THAT AIN’T GON’ HAPPEN. Well, at least not how you might picture it. You see, I am of the opinion that if you think the two-week b-quiv and Calvin walk–filled relationship you’ve had with someone on your adjacent floor is destined for eternity, you need a reality check (and more original ways of spending time together). It may be hard to believe now, but so much is going to change in the next couple years. It will blow your mind in retrospect.

Please, slow down, enjoy things, but don’t plan your life with Chad or Jessica just because they are, like, so cool and stuff.