The Straight Girl's Guide to Meeting Boys at Festivals

Festival hookups can be fun, but make sure you do them right. Step one: Avoid anyone who says he's a shaman.

Jul 8 2015, 4:02pm

It’s absolutely, definitely and without a doubt summer festival season, and at The Levi’s® Tailor Shop (found in every Levi’s® store nationwide in the UK) you can customise, personalise & repair new or old Levi’s® products in an infinite number of ways in preparation for your extended weekend of misbehaviour and fun. Also, if you’d like to meet some boys, Emmy The Great has got your back.

Summer is here, along with all the things that summer brings. Things like: shorts! Weird sunburns! Outdoor drinking, setting fire to the park with your barbecue, sweating so hard on the bus it looks like you just had a shower, and festivals! Yep, it’s time for us to gather together in fields, and celebrate the spirit of music, hedonism, and caring about the weather at a level only known to those who have watched their own tents float down a hill.

Festivals, of course, offer great opportunities for mating. It’s either the romance of hearing your favorite songs as the sun goes down or the fact that there’s a lot of alcohol and a huge wall keeping people in that make festivals such a fertile breeding ground for romance. Often, that means stuff like forgetting someone’s name while you make out with them or watching someone you’ve just made out with poop in the woods, but in some cases, festival hookups can lead to fun. To maximize your chance at the latter, follow my instructions. I can help you keep your options open and your vagina free of disease. And though this guide is technically for girls looking for boys because that’s my area of expertise, feel free to dive in no matter what pronouns you need to swap out.

Not Cheating

Let me remind you that you’re only at this festival for a maximum of four days, unless you’re staying for a week—in which case we need to get on a private line to discuss your life choices. If you came to the festival solo and cheated on your partner, you’ll be feeling an increasing sense of dread as the end of the weekend catches up to you. If you came with your partner and cheated, they are going to find out really soon, and both of you will be miserable and stuck in a compound miles away from civilization. All your memories will be tainted with guilt, and you’ll basically have paid $300 to get yelled at. You’re not a Korean businessman in a sex basement, so don’t do that.

Wearing Clothes

When dressing for a festival, you’re going to feel an urge to test the boundaries of your personal style. In some ways the entire festival site is like a huge style amnesty, a mass agreement to go past the point when something inside is screaming ‘this looks bad.’ So OK—feel free to embrace flower crowns, butt cleavage, and bare skin. Be a cat with fairy wings, or a Khaleesi, or Sailor Moon, or whatever. Just make yourself happy. Maybe in this rare moment of sartorial abandon, you’ll meet the dating equivalent of your spirit animal and spend happy hours traipsing around with the only other person dressed as a Pokémon at the Greenpeace cafe.

Being Clean

Right now in the world, there is probably a room full of single millennials standing in line to breathe in the stench of strangers’ unwashed T-shirts because they think that it’s the most authentic route to finding the One. If you want to be one of these people, then a festival is the perfect location to nurture those raw pheromones and attract someone on a truly sub-atomic—one might even say artisanal—level. Instead of getting up at 7 AM to line up for the showers, sleep in an extra two hours, until your tent is like a pizza oven and everything in it is steeped in the essence of you. Everyone else, buy the largest amount of cleaning wipes available at CVS and carry them with you everywhere. You are at a festival; you didn’t go backwards in time.

Remembering Stuff and Staying Upright

Hookups are better when you remember them, so try not to get to a point where you start blacking out. So much can go wrong in this instance that I can’t even cover it without losing my entire word count in a huge panicked stream of sisterly advice. Keep yourself safe, drink some occasional water, and keep in touch with your friends, please. Also, don’t drink so much you forget how to stand. It’s not a good look to have to be carried to a medical tent or over the shoulder of someone you just met. Also remember: The ground has mud, toilet chemicals, and the underfoot gunge of thousands of strangers who are currently on a three-day dirt binge. Not falling is crucial.

Using Dating Apps

People on dating apps at festivals are wasting their batteries and relying on a 1/100,000th share of 3G in a huge data clusterfuck. A festival is its own dating app. At a festival, instead of studiously avoiding anyone who has a picture of themselves doused in glitter while rolling in a field, you can red flag these people in real time and even watch them take the dealbreaker photos that back in the real world would cause you to swipe left immediately. You can check on music listening tastes and uncover the horrifying clashes that, in a different environment, wouldn’t surface until he chooses Tiesto as your signing the wedding register song. Yes, what I’m saying is that a festival can save you thousands of dollars worth of wasted wedding invitations and venue deposits that OKCupid can’t. Turn off your phones and mingle.

Keeping it Casual

You paid money for that wristband. Are you sure you want to spend your weekend hanging around with someone you don’t know, pretending that you want to watch all the same stuff as him, including his friend’s 10 AM standup set on Sunday? Have you checked out festival food recently? Is that really something you want to try and eat neatly? Should you catch someone’s eye, do yourself a favor and imagine a first date that lasts an entire weekend. OR MAYBE YOU CAN’T BECAUSE IT’S TOO HORRIBLE.

If there’s one thing society has told women, it’s that we have zero time to waste. But let’s assume that when the media and your mean relatives talk about the clock ticking what they’re referring to is your precious downtime. So accept his email address, and agree to bump into him at the Strokes or something. Don’t ditch your plans. You’ll regret it on Monday when you finally get phone reception, check his Facebook page and see his post where he kind of agrees with disability cuts.

Using Protection

No one has ever successfully had sex in a tent, but if you must, let me run the risk of sounding like an 80s sex ed video by saying this: Bring condoms. You don’t want to be caught out and end up in a situation where your child is like, “Mommy, why is my name Coachella?”

Meeting Boys in Bands

Yes, this boy has access to hummus and beer and better walkways between stages. He may also have a nice comfortable bunk in a tour bus, on which he may let you use the Playstation and running water. BUT he is probably going to move into your house with all his equipment the moment you get back. Furthermore, everything you say will remind him of one of his own stories, and a large number of these take place in a Travelodge, or begin just before someone has peed themselves. He doesn’t have any savings, and eventually, all the things that impressed you about him will make you feel sad. Also, you probably have different wristbands, which will make most of your weekend a series of arguments with bemused security guards where you say things like ‘It used to be blue, but I washed it’.

Being Nice

Boys have feelings too, OK? I know you’re here to have fun and be free, but boys are human beings. If you say you’re going to meet them at the falafel truck at sunset to watch Belle and Sebastian, don’t take mushrooms in the dance tent at MIA instead, unless you’re fine with the idea of his pain being your fault, in which case you should be running a country, not wasting your time partying. Also, you know when someone texts you and you ignore it for three hours, then send back a single dancing girl emoji? Don’t do that. That’s mean.

Avoid these things:

– Anyone who says he’s a shaman.

– Getting in on a massage train.

– Kissing the djembe guy.

– Any hookup that begins at 3 AM.

– Those guys who go to 20 festivals a year.

– Anyone who brought his own laughing gas.

– Saying yes to the question, ‘Do you want to see my tent?’

Feeling Good About Lying

It is OK, after you have committed all these points to memory, to enjoy yourself and make a genuine connection with someone, be it in a nice ephemeral moment that ends quickly and naturally, or something that lingers, or even lasts. If you actually meet someone at a festival that you end up staying with in the real world, that’s really great. Just know this: You’re allowed to fictionalize the story of how you met. No one has to know if you met next to a toilet. Now go forth, my bbs, and find love.

You can find Emmy on Twitter.

The Levi’s® Tailor Shop can be found in all Levi’s® Stores nationwide.