I’m gonna let the girls, gays and theys in on a little secret: contrary to popular belief, there’s nothing wrong with treating men the way they treat us. When men see dating as a game and develop the title of “player,” they’re praised as charming studs just sowing their wild oats. 

When a woman takes on the persona of a “player,” she’s demonized, and I can’t help but observe the clear misogynistic undertones surrounding that double standard. The reality is that if men are treating dating as a one-sided game to be played, why don’t the rest of us do the same thing? I say this hot girl summer season opener needs to start strong, with a D1 roster and a championship mentality. 

For anyone who doesn’t know, a roster in dating is a set of people you casually talk to and hang out with during a phase in which relationships are the last thing on your mind. Some would even refer to it as a “hoe phase.” 

Just like a football or baseball roster, you have certain people who fulfill a certain need or want in your game. We’ll get into how that breaks down later, but for now I’m going to go over some rules of the game. 

While I am a fan of dating like a man with a winning mentality, that doesn’t mean you have to wreak havoc on the streets of Lincoln, leaving a trail of broken hearts behind you. When you add someone to your metaphorical roster, you have to be transparent about not wanting a committed relationship, and luckily this is pretty common in one’s 20s. 

When I talk about winning and losing, think of dating as a game you’re playing against your own wants and needs. Whether you want a relationship or a bunch of fun little flings, you have to play accordingly in order to obtain what you want. It’s not a matter of objectifying anyone, it’s a matter of showing up for yourself in whatever way you unabashedly want. 

With the rules out of the way, we can get into how to curate a winning roster for the summer. Seeing as how it’s April, we’re in the thick of preseason and need to get into regular-season shape in order to maximize our hot girl summer game plan. You can scout for talent anywhere, Tinder included, but there are positions that need to be filled to create the most efficient and entertaining lineup possible. 

An effective roster can be broken down into two overall sections, which can be further broken down into two different positions within those sections. 

First and foremost, you want your offensive and defensive line. In dating, offensive players are the guys who keep everything interesting. These are your exciting, go-to guys for a party, a night out or a quick and enjoyable hookup. These guys should be the most attractive players who, in some way, shape or form, worship the ground you walk on. Offense is not necessarily boyfriend material — they’re the most unpredictable players, but also the most fun. 

A good offensive team needs at least one ridiculously hot himbo who may or may not be literate. He’s funny, a good hang and, in my experience, a borderline alcoholic. This position can occasionally be scouted from the Greek life scene, as everyone needs at least one tryst with a hunky frat boy. 

You also need at least one literal athlete on the offensive line. It doesn’t matter what sport they play, but a man in uniform with stamina is always a good addition to the team. College athletes also tend not to be settling down anytime soon and understand the rules of the dating game. Beware, however, because athletes are notorious players. Never rely on him for emotional support because he will fumble the ball at the first sight of a cheerleading uniform. 

Additional offensive players can be anyone like a hot bartender with tattoos, gritty motorcycle boys, sexy foreign exchange students, military men or even a country boy, depending on taste and preference. The point of the offensive line is to keep things interesting. They are not the players you rely on for emotional support, and they definitely aren’t long-term dating material. However, for the sake of a hot girl summer, they are always reliable for a good time. 

Next we have our defense. Your defensive players are the boys you can hang out with casually when you want a chill night in or a relatively intellectually stimulating conversation. They are almost emotionally aware but still emotionally unavailable, and in my opinion, these are the best guys to settle down with once the off-season comes around. 

The defense are your grungy band guys, the soft boys and really anyone who owns Doc Martens. These guys don’t demand attention but are always there when you want to bask in their slightly more stable energy. 

Once you have your offense and defense set up, you can start assigning the players between starting positions and reserves, also known as benchwarmers. 

Starters are the cream of the crop. They are the guys who make you smile at your phone when they text you and don’t trigger your gag reflex when they speak. You look forward to spending time with the starters. However, these boys are easy to fall for and cannot always be trusted to carry the game. 

Reserves are necessary for this reason and might be the most important players. The dating game is highly unpredictable; one day you're having fun with your starting player and the next he’s ghosting you. When this happens, you need to fall back on your benchwarmer who’s just happy to be put in the game.  

Starters and reserves can be rotated out often, and both positions are important to a successful “hoe phase” or hot girl summer. If you find yourself choking at the bat and wanting a relationship, you can always drop your roster with a mature conversation about how you met someone. Most people are adults and will understand this. The dating game is fluid, and when your wants and needs change, you change your strategies.

For a really long time women weren’t allowed to play actual sports because men thought they couldn’t handle it. It’s a similar idea to playing the dating game like a champ. If men can do it, anyone can do it, and just like in football, the key to winning is a good team with eager players and a coach who is thirsty for the win.