by Katie Sorino
Let’s set the scene here.
It was my last night at my home school in the states. I was helping my friends pack up their things to go home for break and saying my goodbyes. Though it was only halfway through the school year, I was not coming back in the spring. I had decided to study abroad in London and was the first one out of my group of friends to do so. I was scared shitless. I had no idea how I was going to survive without my tight knit group of friends. We did everything together– ate together, got drunk together, cried together…you name it we did it together (for the most part).
Four of my closest girls had decided it would be funny to lock me in a closet before I left. They had hoped that this would make me stay, and not leave for London. But nonetheless the ticket was bought and though I was nervous, I was pretty fucking excited too. I had always pictured myself living in a big city, living a life that I had only dreamed of or seen on shows like Sex in the City. Because let’s be honest, what 20 year old girl doesn’t want to be Carrie Bradshaw?
My friends and I were trying to focus on how much fun I was going to have rather than focus on being sad about me leaving. They knew I was wild, and knew I was going to tear up London and have the time of my life. Then… we got on the topic of boys. The ‘what if’ questions started swirling around in our conversation. Eventually my friend asked, “What if you kept a hook up list while you were in London?” At first I was shocked. A LIST? Did she think I was going to lock lips with that many beautiful British men?! I thought she was out of her mind…but then I sort of didn’t. Call me crazy (or maybe just super competitive) but I wanted to see how many guys (or girls, I guess, if I was drunk enough) I could put on that list. So I packed the journal that my friend Brittany had given me, and I was on a mission.
I boarded the flight to Canada and sobbed the entire way there. I skyped my mom in Toronto, listened to her words of encouragement, and got my ass on a connecting flight to Heathrow Airport in London. I landed and it was like a dream. Something out of a Mary Kate and Ashley movie, for all you 90’s babes. To make a very long story short– I took a bus to my house, met my flat mates, and got settled in. I didn’t go to a club that first night, but I did go to a bar. First night: unsuccessful. And I was kind of pissed. Did I not look hot enough? Did I not have enough liquid courage to make moves? What the fuck was I doing wrong?
That all changed mid-week. And by changed, I mean I had added five people to the list by the end of the week. I had gone to a club called Los Locos, which wound up being my very favorite club in London. Los Locos was located in Covent Garden, in central London. I had downed three bottles of cheap wine before going out, so needless to say, I was pretty drunk. I stumbled off the tube (no, literally– I fell on the cobblestone, but got right back up like the champ that I was) and headed towards the club with some old friends that had come to London with me from my home university and my new flat mates as well. I paid to get in, immediately went downstairs, and started dancing instantly. I definitely didn’t leave my “Jersey” at home, if you know what I mean. I was talking to guys left and right and was making tons of new friends. Then: it happened. I made out with someone. All I could think of while it was happening was “HOLY SHIT, I FINALLY have someone to put on the list!” And so, the list had been christened. The sad part is I couldn’t even tell you the guys name if my life depended on it. I knew he was from America though, which was pretty disappointing. But no worries. This tale includes many other British men. After I had made out with Random #1 (as he is named on my list) four more guys quickly followed. Three American men made the list, A British guy named Connor, and Connor’s friend who was black (again, this is exactly how they are named on my list.) That makes a total of five men in one night, ladies and gentleman. Something I had only accomplished one time in the states during my visit to Rutgers University. Now, I am not saying I am proud of this. But it was my first week in London, I was bound to go a little crazy.
Some of the other names on my list included neighbors of mine such as:
- Mitch the boy in the CAPA program poor life decision (not joking, that is how his name appears on my list)
- Alex Henry Thomas the hot British man I kicked out of my flat at 5am
- Strange Turkish man at Walkabout
- Random #7 super hot guy in plaid shirt at Roxy
- Guy I made out with at the bus stop
- Harry Fowler the Royal Guard at Buckingham Palace (YUP THAT HAPPENED)
…. and the list goes on and on. My friends gave me a goal and I completed it. By the time the five months was up, I had kissed (or maybe done more with) over 50 people. This may seem like a lot but over the course of five months, and the amount of times I went out, it really wasn’t.
Not very many people knew about the list until now (sorry mom). But you know what? It’s my life. And I truly don’t give a shit. If you think I am a slut, that’s fine. You’re entitled to your own opinion. I’m not saying what I did was right. However, this is how I like to think of it– I had one shot at London. Five months to let go, re-create who I was, in a city with seven million people. That list even served as a sort of confidence booster for me. After a long line of bad boyfriends in the past, it was nice to meet guys that treated me well. They were not all drunk hookups or scumbags. In fact, I wound up going on dates with some of the guys I had met. Though not all of them were successful (such as the date I went on where I had to use Google Translator the entire time to attempt to make conversation in Italian), it’s still a memory I made in the city that I love. And it’s not like ALL I did while I was abroad was get drunk and find random people to hookup with. I did a lot of cultural things too. I attended Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, went to almost every museum in London, traveled to other countries and saw all the sites. I regret nothing.
As for the list…well I still have it. It is now a document on my computer. I had started it in the journal my friend had given me, but I wound up using that journal for a class so I ripped it out, typed it up and saved it to my documents. For me, it’s a memory. Since it’s in chronological order, I can very clearly recall which night was which, at what point it had happened in my trip, etc. I would update my friends as the hookups progressed but they did not see the “finished product,” we will call it, until the beginning of last May. We all got a good laugh out of it, and it gave me plenty of stories to tell. Hopefully, the same stories that I will remember when I am 80, all because I wrote it down.
Photo credit: Stephany Yanez via Creative Commons.