In recent weeks, the Yale student body has paid more attention than usual to the sociocultural divides between high-income students and everyone else. I offer a simple and well-established theory that could bridge these gaps: Date me!
I’ve spent the last three years at Yale independently studying my wealthy and/or wealth-presenting peers. In my research, I’ve learned to read subtle cues of wealth, as well as how to recreate them myself. I can select black articles of clothing that are featureless enough to look very expensive. I own a Mountain School sweatshirt because I found it.
Putting on a patina of wealth, however, does not dissolve the barriers posed by class. While my scholarship has provided the unfathomably robust network of this prestigious institution, it does not give me the flexibility to take an unpaid internship or a semester off from my part-time jobs.
But the situation is improving. I am heartened by the recent announcement of the Domestic Summer Award. However, the work isn’t over. Should the student income contribution finally be eliminated, the fight begins to include a rich partner in my financial aid package. You simply cannot discuss the possibility of wealth redistribution and increased equity without, in the same conversation, acknowledging how dating me would further spur necessary progress on campus. Because, as it stands now, romance at Yale is not generally viewed through a class-conscious lens.
Discourse at Yale has taught me that the institution of marriage, like most things, is a construct fraught with politics and complications. It has also taught me that, though I and others may have entered Yale desiring a “ring by spring,” or, more preferably, the ten-year reunion, wealth equity directly influences the prospects of finding love amongst the ivy. I won’t delve further into the socioeconomic disparities of Yale’s hookup and dating cultures — thinking about it makes me sad. The point remains that even if our joining does not lead to a tasteful wedding and children with our best features distributed equally, dating me provides me with social capital and life skills that no fellowship or grant could. It is a commendable act of public service that can likely satisfy your membership requirements for a student organization. It is charitable to date me. Especially if we break up. Then I can knowingly nod at every mention of that comfortable freelance creative or that senator a few states over, and maybe I’ll make a wry reference to that time they lost me in the Toad’s line.
It is morally incongruous for the future leaders of tomorrow to not so much as consider dating me in the present. If you date me, my low-income background and medium-income aspirations would combine with your present or future high-income status to create a perfect balance; much like the balance I hold so dear as a Libra. A little more about me: I enjoy running, sterling silver jewelry and artisanal beer. I think I’d like long walks on the beach, but I’ve only ever been to the one near campus, and the water was very cold.
The Yale student body does not date Yale women. It hooks up, it ghosts, it emotionally burdens where it does not always emotionally invest. It does not commit to many things, be it meetings or meals, and I’m not asking it to. I’m simply asking for one person from it to date me.
I wasn’t in Directed Studies, but I’m well aware of the nuances of the moral paradigm we’re trapped in. This situation needs more boat shoes on the ground, and absolutely everyone can play a valuable role. If you find you are unable to date me at this time — perhaps you’re waiting for our five-year reunion to rekindle the singular conversation that happened after discussion section once — I welcome you to set me up with one of your friends or classmates — for now. There is simply no excusing the lack of direct action being applied to my very specific and easily-remedied predicament.
To summarize: I’m the right thing to do.
Phyllis Thompson is a senior in Pauli Murray College. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org .