Ever since kindergarten, I have had many guy friends. Wil, Chris, and I were the troublesome three musketeers back then. We terrorized our teacher and our peers, we left blocks in the bathroom, and we pulled Rachel’s pigtails on a daily basis.
After surviving my awkward preteen years and first kiss, high school began and things changed. Dawson’s Creek and similar dramas influenced the mindset of many teens of our generation, illustrating a story of a girl and her two guy friends who, when push comes to shove, have an everlasting menage a trois that we all openly wish would cease. Luckily, Wil and Chris did not attend my high school, and I was spared a Joey-esque life. This is not to say, however, that high school spared me old-fashioned dating and the usual gossip circles.
Ready to break loose from my high school bonds, I came to Yale expecting the boys to be of the confident, smart, go-getter type. I am afraid to say that I haven’t observed a whole lot of girls being actively pursued. The exceptions, of course, are those inseparable couples who got together during the first few weeks of school, flaunting bonds quite possibly never to be broken.
For the rest of us, what is a nice Yale girl to do? Sit back, grab some cookie dough ice cream, and join me in wondering why Yale boys have not been knocking down our doors, like grandma always said they would.
Perhaps Yale is leading students to jump the gun. At last weekend’s Freshman Screw, condoms and Hershey kisses were splayed across the drinks table in the back of Commons. Maybe the entire “screw” idea is a subtle hint to freshman to hook up before officially dating a romantic interest. (At least that’s what my dad — who is not so keen on the name of the dance — thinks).
At the same time, I cannot discredit the screw, because not only have I heard several screw-dates-becoming-serious-couple stories, but it is also a Yale tradition. Let’s just say it’s one of those things you have to endure, like roommates and papers.
Another Yale dating problem is privacy. Many girls who have had relationships, or flings, if you must, have said that everyone knows all of the details. Room gossip is suite gossip, suite gossip is entryway gossip, and soon a number of people in his residential college know.
Finding time to spend with a special someone is also a problem. A friend of mine told me that although her relationship started out strong, both she and the guy became busy with different extracurricular activities. They stopped seeing each other as a result. If you don’t make a planned effort to see your beau — such as watching Friends together every week or having Friday afternoon coffee dates — how will you know if it could work?
My final stab at the perplexing dating question is this: could Yale boys just be too afraid? Since I came here, I’ve had more than one conversation with boys who seem to have reverted to their seventh grade awkwardness.
“So do you like food?”
“Oh, I mean, what kind of food do you like?”
“I like sushi, I like pasta; I like a lot of things. What do you like?”
“Oh, I don’t know. That residential college food sure stinks, though!”
Sound familiar? If you are the guy who had this conversation with me last week, take this very simple advice:
See that girl sitting across from you in section? Yes, that one, over there, with the red fuzzy sweater, cute jeans, and sexy studious look on her face discussing French literature. Go up to her after class. Would she like to have coffee sometime? Really, we’re not asking for that much.
Whatever your style is, no one’s using the excuse that they don’t want to date too early in the year anymore. We heard before coming to Yale that old-fashioned dating was not “in,” but who says we can’t be the exceptional class?
Look beyond the library books and Tylenol and the dining hall pine trees and lights hanging from Vanderbilt Hall. Invest in your future — your future being that moment your palms get sweaty at Christmas dinner or during the annual Jews-go-to-the-movie-on-Christmas-Day outing because your cousin just asked you if you were seeing anyone at school.
And don’t worry; we won’t bite.
Sarah Weiss is a freshman in Branford College. Her columns appear on alternate Wednesdays.