Illustration by Sophie Sargent

Dear Dream Come Blue, 

I’ve never been in a relationship before because I didn’t feel ready for it in sixth form, but I do feel ready now. I don’t know how to meet people in Oxford, though! I’m pretty introverted and have low self-confidence, and I look younger than my age so I feel like any of my attempts at flirtation come across as ridiculous/ stupid (straight cis-woman talking). The guys I’ve met that I’ve been attracted to have all been either in a relationship or gay. Am I doing something wrong?? I don’t really wanna go on a dating app because that feels so forced…


Dear Reader, 

How are you ? Are your studies going well ?  

Ok, now we have passed the Bechdel test, let’s talk boys. Your response is a seminal piece of literature, artfully capturing the anxieties of the Oxford woman. More importantly, it is incredibly pertinent to my life right now and so allows me to descend into a self-indulgent, narcissistic deluge whilst ‘technically’ answering your problem – thank you.  

Firstly, don’t let the chinos fool you! It is easy to see other people coupling up and feel ‘ridiculous/ stupid’, but I promise the dating scene can make you feel just as ridic. In order to prove my point, I shall regale you with a vignette of my recent romantic escapades: the first date when the boy saw my most recently Googled ‘average salary of a Guardian Agony Aunt’ (not enough); the time I mistook the frequent Facebook poking as flirting (he had been hacked); the time when I thought the term ‘clapt’ meant ‘friendly’ (he left). What I’m saying is that I think that the life of an Oxford girl whether you’re single, married, or in love with your college dad is designed to make you feel a bit silly and less than confident at times.  

You mention that you haven’t been in a relationship before, because you ‘weren’t ready’. It‘s easy to question ‘why’? No, you are not doing anything wrong. Loads of my most lovely, gorgeous, hilare friends haven’t been in relationships either, and only some of them have deep-rooted personality flaws that make them incapable of a fulfilling romantic life. JK… just Georgia. And, for those who dated in 6th form, whilst the term ‘ex’ has a truly spectacular ring to it, perhaps the term ‘boy who I kissed on Saturdays for a bit’ is a more accurate descriptor. So, don’t let it play on your mind.  

The big question is: ‘how are you gonna meet Mr Future Boyf’? Well, my very wise friend (chronically single) once told me (terminally single) what I deem to be good advice: ‘do stuff regularly.’ It’s rare that a singular glance across the Plush smoking area leads to love (might lead to some other things… stay safe out there), but regular contact builds connections. Where would your man be on a Saturday morning? Brunchin’? At a society? In another girl’s bed?  Wherever he might be, go there. 

I highly recommend incorporating The Missing Bean coffee shop into this mission. The man known to my friend group as ‘the Hot Barista’ is most definitely a PB (potential boyfriend.) I know it’s scary, but take small steps, you don’t have to ask anyone out, you just have to order a chai latte with oat milk.  

You said that you look young. Join the club! I will not ‘help’ you with the useless advice cited by mums and girls over 5’3 – ‘you will love it when you are older’ – but instead nudge you to change your outlook. Whilst looking young can at times be less than ideal, it is economically brilliant; I have never paid for an adult ticket or tax on shoes. Whilst all my friends worry about getting on the property ladder, I rest easy knowing that I will be very happy in my neighbour’s Wendy house. What I am saying is that what we may lack in cheek bones, we make up for in Missing Bean funds. 

Truly, every person has their variation of ‘looking young’ – probably something you would either never notice or actively love about them. Embrace it! I’m currently writing in Uggs and bunches.  

You are most definitely NOT doing anything wrong. However, I would say the best thing would be to take the pressure off yourself. Uni can make you feel like you HAVE to be in a relationship. But remember that for every person who met their husband at Oxford, there are equal numbers who have been dumped by (name redacted.) Try your best to build your confidence, do things you enjoy with the people you love. I prescribe a girly chat and soon you will know that these feelings are universal.  

I am running out of space to address the ‘in relationships’ or ‘gay’ issue –happens to the best of us. For the former man, perhaps blare out ‘Girlfriend’ and let Miss Lavigne speak for you. For the latter, may I suggest Oxford Blue’s first link to ‘Teen Vogue.’ (best-unrequited-love-songs) Enjoy the angst. 

I wish you luck, dear reader. I hope to bump into you in The Missing Bean one of these days.

Lots of love,

Dream Come Blue 



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