The generic college dream is to spend spring break on the beach, in a swimsuit, with loud music and people to party with. The “College Spring Break” ideal has been broadcasted through movies, showing a radical time with no consequences where anything goes. And this idea seems to stick with students for some reason. Rather than going on a weeklong hiking trip or going to save the pandas, a lot of college students seem to choose to have the beach free-for-all of every movie’s dreams. I never thought that I would be into that at all. I’m more of a save the pandas kind of type and not a huge partier. I can go weeks without drinking or partying or basically doing anything related to it and I will freely admit I am more of an introverted homebody. But this spring break I decided to go to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and see what the “College Spring Break” was like.
I’ll be honest, I probably wouldn’t have gone if my older brother hadn’t been going as well. I’ve never traveled to a different country alone before (which I had to do, there and back, for this trip) and I wasn’t sure how safe I would be once I got there. Traveling as a woman is scary enough, but I didn’t personally know anyone in the group that I was staying with. I knew one guy through my brother and the rest were all people that he was either friends with or acquainted with. I basically went into this trip blind; but the fact that my brother was in the same place and staying nearby eased some of my nerves. Plus, if my brother trusted the guy who invited me, then I was sure that it would be fine. I knew that a large part of the group that I was going to be with were male so I was a little afraid of what kind of guys they would be like. I mean, it gets on my nerves that I would have to be afraid at all, but as every girl knows, you hardly ever feel safe, especially with a bunch of people that you haven’t met before. Bad things happen sometimes to women by the people that they are closest too; so of course, if we can’t even trust our friends it can be difficult to trust strangers.
They ended up being really nice people however, and my doubts were eased as soon as I met everyone. There were three other girls staying in the same house/hotel with me as well, two with boyfriends on the trip and one without, and we became close which helped out as well. But once I felt at ease, I began to evaluate the culture that I had just stepped into. Not the Mexican culture (which I’m interested in, but isn’t really a part of this post), but the “College Spring Break” culture. Yes, there was drinking since everyone is legal in Mexico I’m sure to a lot of parent disdain, but I wanted to see if the Hook Up culture was about the same or maximized by a billion. For me, it seems to have been maximized. By a lot. The first thing the guys all worried or thought about was going to meet girls either at the club or at the beach to bring them home. And these were nice guys who I all like as people and consider my friends. But even so, their main concern the majority of the trip was not “let’s have fun” but was “let’s have fun and try to pick up with as many girls as possible”.
There were times when even I felt overwhelmed by the amount of pressure and attention that I was getting. I don’t like hook ups and am generally shy towards men. I don’t like dancing with a significant other during parties, so I especially didn’t like random guys trying to dance with me at the club. Sometimes even some of the guys in my own group would try and pick me up. I guess I felt a little flattered, but mostly I either felt annoyed or uncomfortable. I’m sure there were women that were there who wanted to be picked up, or who were interested in hooking up, but for a girl who likes to dance alone or with friends and doesn’t like that sort of thing, I felt truly uncomfortable by the amount of men that tried to get with me. I just didn’t understand the mentality. I was there to go to the beach, have a margarita, and have a fun time. It seemed that a majority of the college men there were there to try and sleep with random women.
The hook up culture and “College Spring Break” mentality was completely out of hand. One of the guys in my group even kicked a girl that he brought home out of our hotel while her sister was still inside because she said she wasn’t interested in sleeping with him. And then he was pissed for the rest of the night just because she didn’t have sex with him. What’s up with that? He wasn’t the only one out of my group that got upset when a girl didn’t want to get with him either. For me, spring break and girls in bikinis doesn’t immediately mean “have sex with me,” but for a lot of the guys that I met down there that’s what it seemed to mean. Now, I have more to say about this break that is really good too, and more to say about how I saw other women being treated, but I just have this question for now. What is it about our society that is teaching young men that the whole point of a girl (especially a girl in a swimsuit) is to have sex with them? Since this was such a free environment where it seemed a lot of people were acting on instinct without rules, why is it that the first thing that comes to their mind is sleep with that girl? And when she says no, she either gets thrown out of the group or backlashed with rude words or whatever else?
This isn’t just a “College Spring Break” occurrence either. This attitude is everywhere within the of college-aged men; I just saw it on a much larger scale down in Cabo. It got me thinking that no wonder our relationships don’t last and that we have so many problems. If everyone just thinks that everyone wants to hook up without establishing any kind of relationship, of course no one in the end is going to be happy about it. It also makes me think of other college women and what it’s like to be one. Back to the problem of being a prude or a slut. You either say no to this hook up culture or you say yes, and either way you are condemned by both the male and female student populace. The cycle must stop somewhere.
Over and out- Lauren