Let's all just face the truth here. We live in a bubble. This is college everyone. 99% of us are in our late teens/early twenties. Let me show you what this means in concrete mathematical terms. *Disclaimer* I’m an English major so bear with me here!
Horny teenagers/young adults in their sexual prime + confined, homogenous (in terms of age) environment = shit show = college = Duke
Okay, so I used loaded abstract terms thrown in with some mathematical notation; big deal I already said I’m in Trinity, give me a break. My liberal arts ignorance aside, you get the point.
There are so many wonderful people here to look at/drool over/wonder if they're straight or not/get upset at when nobody approaches us.
Many people BECOME sexually active in college, and many of us here have only known the "market" that currently exists around us. There are Duke students and more Duke students, and that's about it. Yeah, you can venture over to UNC or some other school, but let's be honest, it's pretty much more of the same.
My point is this: It's so easy to be bitter because a lot of us are just starting out, but it's also understandable because we don't know anything else. (Did any of you find "love" back in high school? I know I didn't!) Duke is a truly awesome place, and I love it here. I love many of the people I've met in my three years here, and have hated others, of course (insert your “favorite” frat-star or that annoying guy/girl from your freshman seminar here), but I have to step back and admit to myself that this isn't reality. Yes, Duke is obviously a real place where we experience real joy, real sadness, real pain, and real hardships. But this is also an incredibly artificial environment. Good luck making up your own schedule when you get your first job; There is no ACES, there is only your boss and his/her expectation that you will have your shit together every day. Didn’t get your assignment done? Sure you can go ahead and turn it in late—right after you clean out your desk, that is. Unless you go straight to grad school (and even then you probably won't live on campus), all of you--all of us--will have to move on to the real world after we leave the Gothic Wonderland.
Out in the wilderness that is the working world, there are no such things as LGBT centers and Fab Friday’s at which to scope out the, uhhh “talent”, or frat parties where you can try to play “guess the gay”, and realize well before you brown out that it isn’t gonna happen tonight. The ratio of your age group to old people will be very different than the 30:1 you have grown accustomed to here. It will no longer be attractive for you to show up to social events wearing a pinnie you made from a t-shirt that always seemed one size too small on you….At some point, sexy will no longer be how often you go to the gym, but how often you go to work, and without having to wear your sunglasses all day to hide the shame of the night before.
The real world is different because the situations are different, but so are the people. Think back to your first day of high school. Who were you then? You were you, of course. But maybe you weren’t quite as open minded then. Maybe your friends were a little less ambitious than the ones you have now. Maybe you weren’t as secure in your sexuality then…maybe you didn’t even know what sexuality was! “People never change” is a term we seem to hear a lot, and I think it rings true to some degree—I was Kory yesterday, am again today, and probably will be tomorrow. But even though I haven’t changed, I know that each day I pick up something new—some new experience, some new observation—that becomes a part of who I am. Slowly, you begin to think differently as all of these experiences start to stack on top of each other. Maybe people don’t change, but what I know is true is that people develop over time. What we think about ourselves in ten years will be different than what we think now, and how we think about other people will surely change as well. There are always wonderful exceptions, but chances are that the person you can’t get enough of right now will make the future you want to throw up.
I would argue that all of us are on some level pretty immature. No, don’t get defensive, I don’t mean childish. I mean that most of us are still pretty inexperienced romantically. Ever think you were in love? Well, ya weren’t. Love isn’t something you think, it’s something you feel. Trust me, I’ve been down that road before. My first romantic encounter was with someone I really really liked, but definitely not the kind of person I could now see myself with for the rest of my life. It’s easy to think that we lost out when we don’t know anything, or anyone, else. I only came to this conclusion after dating more people with vastly different personalities, values, character traits, etc.
I’ll concede the fact that the gay pool is also far smaller than the straight pool, because it just is. It also sucks that statistically we have to place everyone we meet into the straight category by default. Only when told otherwise can we even begin to feel like this is someone we could approach romantically, and even then that’s a whole ‘nother battle in and of itself. But I categorically disagree with the notion that these facts make it harder for us to find that one special person with whom we will end up. I had an AP English Composition teacher in high school give the class some rather colorful, but still excellent, advice about how to write a quality paper. She told us that she didn’t care how long our papers were as long as we made our point, adding, “I don’t want to have to search through a pile of monkey shit to find the gem.” I loved her analogy so much that I’m going to use it here to help me explain my position. Whether you believe in fate or not, your gem is out there, no matter how large or small the pile is. You’ll have to go through the pain of searching through that pile like everyone else, accumulating a lot of shit along the way. If you are a good person, you will find someone out there who completes you. If you don’t, I promise you it’s not because you’re swimming in the wrong pool. The LGBT community is just as diverse as any other no matter what its size.
Your situation will change. Your responsibilities will change. It doesn’t matter how hard you fight it, these changes are going to affect you in a tangible way.
My advice: Don’t panic over what you can’t control. Don’t panic over what isn’t even relevant right now. Don’t be bitter; just be you. After all, it’s the latter that someone is going to fall in love with.