I went to 17 classes today. It was the most atrocious experience of my entire life (barring of course, all of freshman year). Welcome to shopping period. No one, it seems has any kind of pity for me, because EVERYONE is going through the exact same thing. “The Creation of the American Politician.” “Conservation Biology.” “Japan Before 1868.” Does it really matter what happened to Japan before 1868? What happened in THIS country before 1868? (Don’t answer that.) The list goes on and on. And on.

Shopping period makes me frazzled. More than frazzled. It makes me insane and stressed out. I eat more. I exercise less. I drink more. I even smoke more. Shopping period ruins my life for the first two weeks of every semester.

I noticed that it ruins most of my girlfriends’ lives as well. A few nights ago, before the madness began, the four of us were all sprawled out in a Saybrook College common room. No one said a word. We were hot and sticky and bothered (no, we did not take off all our clothes) as we had just completed two hours of alleged “blue-booking” during which we realized that all classes offered at Yale meet at the same time on the same day. For the next 45 minutes, we were silent, save for the occasional sigh, or the odd imploring wail of “whaaaat am I going to dooooo?”

My anguish continued all week long. I’ve been scurrying from class to class, my hands full of syllabi (plural for syllabus) and notebooks. And of course, my trusty Blue Book. As I plopped down to take a shot at my eighth pre-industrial, non-Western history of the week, it seemed as if I had reached shopping hell. I looked to my right, and there sat my good friend Steve, calm, cool and collected, in great spirits (and even a good outfit).

“What’s wrong?” he asked me, looking concerned.

“WHAT’S WRONG???” I replied. “EVERYTHING is wrong, shopping is the worst!”

(Whoa. I never thought that I would say “worst” and “shopping” together in the same sentence. I implore the gods to grant me forgiveness. Prada, please continue to love me.)

Steve looked at me strangely, and in a mocking tone, he said, “Dude, shopping period rules. What are you talking about?”

And then, it dawned on me. Shopping period is sexist. It’s biased. It is created for men, not women. Shopping period epitomizes male dating habits. When was the last time you heard a guy get upset because he was dating two or three or even four girls at once? Shopping period allows a little taste of everything, without committing to anything right away.

It’s like an hors d’ouevres happy hour.

Women on the other hand, rarely, if ever, date more than one guy at the same time. We are slaves to one man and one man only, even if that “man” exhibits only weak signs of interest and poor wallet opening capacity (read: he’s cheap).

A few weeks ago, I met a good friend of mine during my lunch break. She was faced with the dilemma of the century. She had two guys who were interested in her (yes, life is hard when you’re 20 and single). One was a man of many words. A charmer, a lover of the arts and sciences, one might go so far as to call him a philosopher. The other was a looker. Hot like a latte in July. Like Gisele straddling a Ferrari. HOT.

She asked me what she should do. She said that she NEEDED to choose. She had never even been on a date with either of them, yet she NEEDED to commit (even if he didn’t). She wanted to choose one man and stick to him. Pursue him. Take him to the hoop and slam-dunk him.

Uh. Right.

The girl is an econ major, yet she refuses to diversify her portfolio. I have noticed this pattern everywhere. Women are too considerate. We shrink from the possibility of “playing” someone or of “hurting someone’s feelings.” Yet, by doing so, we ruin our optimal dating potential.

There is nothing wrong with keeping a roster of men, instead of just one designated hitter. Guys do not hesitate to date five girls in consecutive time slots. Yet we get propositions from an athlete and a comedian on the same day, and s— hits the fan. We don’t know what to do, so what’s the answer? We choose one.

Even mathematically, this makes no sense!

So, to kick off this grand old year, I am dispensing a little advice. Yes, it’s something that I rarely do, but in this case, something had to be said. Shopping classes is like dating, you need not reach a verdict, the final schedule, until the deadline approaches and you are going to be fined $35. Exercise all your options, it will be well worth it.

Oh, and since I’m already handing it out, Freshmen, put your IDs in your wallet and your keys on a key chain. The whole “around the neck” phenomenon is tres Zach Morris circa 1995.

Natalie Krinsky ’04 is the reason you came to Yale.