Swipe right: The challenges of meeting guys at a women’s college

A woman stands with a speech bubble containing the Mars male symbol.
(Greta Long • The Student Life)

As a student at a historically women’s college, it should not come as a surprise that it has been hard to meet heterosexual men.

When I chose to attend Scripps College, friends and family pestered me with questions like “Won’t you miss having guys around?” or “How will you meet men?” constantly. My answers to the questions always included a dramatic eye-roll and a well-rehearsed explanation of the benefits of the 5Cs.

I always assured them I would have plenty of male contact. After all, it wasn’t the 1940s; I was going to college to learn, not to settle down and find a husband who went to Pomona College.

As an English major who takes the majority of my classes at Scripps, there have been very few men in my classes. However, their limited presence has shaped my experience in those courses. It was like being back in high school — I suddenly became self-conscious of how I was acting. I was more aware of how I spoke, dressed and even how I sat in my chair. 

Regardless if I was actually being watched or not by these male students, I felt less comfortable in class. I felt like I had to carry myself a certain way, and changing my behavior quickly became exhausting. I felt less motivated to contribute to class discussions while the guys in my class felt compelled to speak freely, often rambling about basically nothing for what seemed like hours.

A study by Columbia University found that cisgender men are more likely to “blurt out answers without raising their hands” and also “speak more frequently and longer in class discussions” than other groups. Unfortunately, my academic experience so far has definitely echoed the results of the study. 

However, despite these few interactions with men in my classes, my experience at Scripps has been largely absent of men. While I’m grateful to be in classes with majority Scripps students, it does mean that my interactions with men are admittedly very limited.

I attribute this problem to being an English major, but this pattern seems to follow me in my extracurriculars. Somehow, I seem to participate in organizations and clubs that are dominated by Scripps students. While I’m not complaining, it is something that prevents me from meeting guys.

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With my limited interaction with men in my classes and extracurriculars, I got what I asked for when enrolling in a historically women’s college. Yet despite these expectations, I often feel frustrated. It has been really hard to meet guys, even as friends, and the only place it seems that I have the opportunity to meet them is either at parties or at dining halls.

From seeing a cute guy across the chaos of Frary Dining Hall’s lunch rush or accidentally bumping into someone hot while in line for tacos at Malott Dining Commons, dining halls seem to be an epicenter for attractive men. However, I would hardly call a dining hall as loud as Frary an ideal spot to meet someone.

As for parties, the type of interaction I’m seeking doesn’t occur at them. I’ve tried the casual hookup thing for a few months now and it’s quickly getting old. Am I asking too much in wishing for a friendship turned meaningful relationship?

This isn’t just a “me” problem. When I told my friends that I was writing this article, they admitted to facing similar challenges. The fact is that women outnumber men at the 5Cs, and this greatly affects our chances of finding meaningful relationships or friendships with guys. 

Given this statistic, it makes sense why it has been challenging to meet guys, especially considering my choice of major and my extracurriculars. Maybe one day, I’ll strike up a conversation with a cute guy in line for McConnell Dining Hall’s poke, but for now, I’ll continue to enjoy my Scripps English classes — without the mansplaining.

Meghan Condas SC ’22 is one of TSL’s relationship columnists. She’s an English major who can be found making Spotify playlists, consulting Co-Star for dating advice and searching for the best vegan cookie in Claremont in her free time.

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