Tag Archive: love

  1. And some more winners are…

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    Date #1

    I had been to Soul de Cuba on a date once before, but not with a stranger. After my date introduced herself as Rose, we eased into the usual small talk of colleges, classes, and life goals. Rose stopped me when I mentioned my philosophy lecture — she was also in the class! So it turns out that my second date at Soul de Cuba wasn’t with a stranger, either. Because I sit in the back row of the lecture hall, I know the procrastination habits of my classmates well. “You’re the girl who plays solitaire!” I exclaimed. She nodded shyly and proceeded to assure me that she still listens to our professor intently — not that I was judging.

    Rose is a Computer Science major (looking to make that a double major alongside Linguistics) and plays trumpet in the Yale Precision Marching Band, although she doesn’t do it for her love of sports. Discussing one of her classes that I’m not in, “Science Fiction,” got us chatting about our favorite books, and then onto our favorite movies and television shows; Rose got hooked on “Buffy” while at public boarding school in Illinois and cited her all-time favorite novel as “Pride and Prejudice.” After having overanalyzed Jane Austen in AP Lit, I couldn’t agree quite so whole-heartedly. (If any readers happen to be interested in my own reading habits, I recommend my personal favorite, Marcus Zusak’s “I Am the Messenger.”)

    I found myself struggling to think of more questions in order to keep our conversation flowing. I learned about sleep-away math camps and how much colder Chicago is than New Haven, something I cannot begin to fathom, since I’m from California. As we enjoyed our respective delicious dinners — a meat dish for her, the eggplant milanesa for me and flan for dessert — I found myself relaxing into the conversation more. After all, blind dates are scary. Even when you kind of know the person!

    I had figured that I would recognize my date (since I’m so popular), but I truly enjoyed getting to know someone whom, in other circumstances, I could have spent the semester just sitting behind without ever holding a real conversation. I don’t know if I’ll see Rose around campus much (except in lecture), but at the end of our walk back I gave her a genuine hug! I was happy to spend evening with good food and a new friend.

    Contact Genevieve Simmons at genevieve.simmons@yale.edu .

    You would think that, having grown up in Chicago, I would either know how to walk on icy sidewalks in ballet flats or have enough judgment not to wear ballet flats on icy sidewalks. However, based on the number of times I almost slipped and fell while walking from Silliman to Soul de Cuba last Sunday, you would be wrong.

    Needless to say, I was the second to enter the restaurant. At least I wasn’t wearing heels. Then I might not have made it there at all.

    As I sat down at the table, Genevieve told me that she’d never done anything like this before, and I said that I hadn’t either. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this date. I had technically been on a blind date before, Freshman Screw, but then my friends and my date’s friends had served as a buffer between the two of us.

    We started by asking each other the standard questions: name, year, major and so on. When she said that she was a Cognitive Science major, I mentioned a class I had taken on the cognitive science of language. We then began to discuss this semester’s courses and discovered that, in a way, we had met before, since we are both currently taking “Philosophy of Language.”

    In fact, it turned out that Genevieve and I share a love of language, and we found plenty to talk about, from language to food to books. We swapped movie recommendations, discussed the oddities of the public boarding school I attended and agreed that the plot of “How To Get Away With Murder” was completely implausible. (How could a law professor constantly abandon her class to work on her own cases and always call on the same five students? The world will never know.) The differences between our home states, Illinois and California, provided a jumping-off point for a number of discussions. I was more or less accustomed to the temperature that night (around freezing), and Genevieve was not. In fact, she was shocked to hear that during last year’s winter break, Chicago had a wind chill of -40 degrees, a temperature we agreed was horrifyingly cold. In turn, I was surprised that she didn’t consider Science Hill a “real hill”, as it was significantly larger than the largest hill in my hometown: an artificial hill built for the train.

    While there were occasional awkward pauses in the conversation, for the most part, we spent an enjoyable evening. The food was excellent, and the conversation was interesting, even if we did wind up talking about our difficulties with the latest philosophy paper. By dessert, we were discussing the lack of visibility of queer women at Yale and joking about her brave struggle to reach the plantains at the bottom of her flan dish. We left the restaurant happy, even though she was shivering in the cold, and I was slipping on the ice in my flats. As we parted ways — she was attending a friend’s Oscar party and I had to finish an English paper — we hugged and said we’d see each other in class.

    Contact Rose Sloan at rose.sloan@yale.edu .

    Date #2

    It was nearing 7pm. As is depressingly common this winter, it was bitterly cold outside. Despite the fact that (as my trusty iPhone informed me) Rubamba is roughly six minutes and 0.3 miles away from Pierson, I’d never actually been before. In flagrant violation of the unspoken conventions of Yale Standard Time, I got there a few minutes early and was greeted by a waitress and promptly shown to my seat. For a few minutes, I had the run of the restaurant -— no one was there on a Sunday night at 7 — and then Skyler, my date, arrived. Contrary to all those popular stereotypes about gay men, my fashion sense is pretty atrocious (no doubt exacerbated by my colorblindness), but Skyler was dressed sharply, with a nice tie and snazzy shirt. Don’t ask me what color they were, because I can’t tell the difference between blue and purple, and I was honestly too focused on not making a total fool of myself to fulfill my reportorial duties to the fullest.

    Anyhow, Skyler sat down, and then we perused our menus. Skyler had been to Rubamba before and recommended the arepas, so I ordered a shrimp arepa. He ordered a chicken arepa. He also said that their horchatas were excellent, so I got a horchata too, because honestly, why not?

    Having ordered our food, we started chatting in earnest. The conversation and food were both good -— the venue and context were welcome changes from the dining hall routine. We mostly focused on your basic Yale conversational standbys. Skyler is a junior in Morse and hails from Stamford, Connecticut, which is conveniently located quite close to Yale (although Yale’s proximity made it less attractive when he was choosing where to go to school). He’s a history major especially interested in material culture, and his classes this semester reflect that passion: he’s taking Beer in American History, The History of Food, Public Schools and Public Policy, Theory and Practice in American Education and Sondheim and American Musical Theater.

    You wouldn’t think it, but beer is actually linked to a lot of labor relations issues. Skyler is interested in the relationship between different shapes of glasses and shifting patterns of economic and social organization. We take the things around us for granted, but, as Skyler explained, they’re contingent, reflecting the influence of specific historical trends and events. His education-related classes sounded fascinating, as did Sondheim and American Musical Theater. Skyler and his classmates actually got to meet Stephen Sondheim a few weeks ago, which Skyler considered a highlight of the class.

    The Sondheim course, I discovered, dovetails well with Skyler’s interests. He’s extremely involved in the theater scene and acts on a regular basis. I actually saw him in “The Importance of Being Earnest” earlier this semester, and we discussed the wondrous abundance of drama (theatrical, not day-to-day) on campus.

    I asked him a question that I’ve often puzzled over: What is the experience of being on stage like? Contrary to my expectations, Skyler said that acting isn’t about fully becoming a character and suppressing your self; rather, it’s all about maintaining your individuality while responding to situations on stage as if you were your character. Acting is an act (pun intended) of constant imagination, and repeated rehearsals help make the character’s responses natural to the actor. Skyler explained with eloquence why he loves acting and has acted since the age of seven, when he first performed at a summer camp. He views acting as a way of exploring the full depth and breadth of human emotion and cultivating empathy. Skyler said that he’d like to work as a theatrical producer in the future, although he’s potentially interested in law school, and we commiserated about the grad school grind hanging over our heads as juniors.

    In addition to his acting and classwork, Skyler is a tour guide for the admissions office, does a fair bit with the mock trial team, and somehow finds the time to watch a very respectable amount of TV (he likes Game of Thrones, The Newsroom and Looking, among other shows). He says that he doesn’t get a lot of sleep, and I believe it! He’s a very interesting guy, and we had a pleasant evening. I’m not sure our paths would have crossed otherwise. Perhaps they’ll cross again.

    Contact Scott Remer at scott.remer@yale.edu .

    Who needs Tinder when you have the YDN?

    When I entered the Blindest Date contest for the third year in a row, I was expecting to end up empty-handed as in the previous two years. I didn’t even bother checking the list of possible bachelors that you, the YDN readership, could vote on to see if I was on it. I simply thought that an iPhone app (Friendsy, anyone?) would have to remain the best last resort for finding a date in the Dirty Have.

    But I was wrong!

    When I got the email on Saturday announcing that I had a date the following day, I freaked out a little bit. Who would it be with? What would I wear? What would we talk about? What if I knew him already?

    Then I remembered that it was a blind date, meaning that the stakes were literally as low as they could possibly be. Except that I had to publish my thoughts in the YDN. Whoops.

    I met Scott at Rubamba at precisely 7:01, thinking that I was so suave for arriving a minute late. He was there already, sitting at a table marked with a “Reserved” placard despite the restaurant being almost vacant. I sat down and we immediately got to the task of getting to know each other.

    In retrospect, we did a pretty good job. We spent almost an hour and a half discussing theater (my possible vocation and his avocation), politics (his possible vocation and my avocation) and culture. We talked classes and majors, interests and hobbies, siblings and life at Yale. There were few awkward moments during our dinner together.

    Still, I couldn’t help but feel like I was grasping for straws. The conversation proceeded like a checklist. Once one topic was exhausted, I would ask yet another question that two acquaintances might discuss on their way to becoming friends. As a result, the “date” felt more like “a meal” with one of the myriad people that I promise to reach out to each week. We rarely laughed and never flirted.

    I certainly don’t blame Scott for the dullness of our dinner. He is perfectly nice and intelligent. He was well-dressed and seemed present and engaged. Perhaps we just have different energies; I am almost obnoxiously boisterous whereas he is a bit more taciturn. In any case, I didn’t feel the “spark” that I had hoped for.

    I am not sure how to define “chemistry,” but I am confident that I will recognize it when I feel it. Until then, I guess I just have to keep swiping left!

    Contact Skyler Ross at skyler.ross@yale.edu .

  2. The Blindest Date: Queer Edition!

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    Feeling lonely? Lovelorn? Dreading Valentine’s Day? Never fear — WKND has devised the perfect solution to Yalies’ amorous woes. We’ve selected a handful of lucky bachelors and bachelorettes from a large and qualified pool of applicants for this week’s queer edition. They’ve summarized their: major; minor; superpower; future autobiography title; and ideal mate for you. Now you, dear reader, get to vote for your favorite contestant to determine who gets paired up for a V-Day blind date. Simply visit the WKND section of the YDN’s website, click on this article, scroll down and vote in the polls for your favorite bachelors and bachelorettes by midnight next Wednesday.

    Bachelor #1:

    Major: Ethics, Politics, and Economics (imaginary minor: East Asian Studies / Chinese)

    Superpower: I can spell basically any word you can think of.

    Future Autobiography Title: To Affect the Quality of the Day

    A description of your ideal mate: My ideal mate would be smart and thoughtful, with a genuine love of learning and sense of curiosity about the world. He would enjoy philosophizing till the wee hours of the morning, and he’d be an idealist, not a cynic — he would be capable of appreciating ambiguity, but he would also have deeply held beliefs and principles. He’d be a political radical who believes in the possibility of progress and making the world a more humane place, and he’d be compassionate and kind towards others. He would enjoy art, literature, theater, music and gourmandizing, and he would be adventuresome and willing to try out new activities and pastimes. He’d also have a good sense of humor and would be able to get me to lighten up when I’m too serious. Good looks certainly wouldn’t hurt, but I’m most interested in someone with a true personality.

    Bachelor #2:


    Minor: Comparative Children’s Literature

    I can draw a map of the U.S. freehand.

    How did I get here?

    Mr. Darcy’s wit with Mr. Bingley’s sincerity.

    Bachelor #3:

    Major: History

    Minor: Coffeebrewing

    Superpower: To never need sleep!

    Future autobiography title: Put(ting it) Together: My Story

    My ideal mate is someone who has a lot of energy and enthusiasm, enjoys doing and talking about a lot of different things, cares about the world around him, and appreciates the occasional Yiddishism.

    Bachelor #4:

    Undecided (still a freshman yo); Imaginary Minor: also Undecided (I am literally clueless)

    The power to seduce anyone at any time.

    “What I Learned from Grindr — and Other Life Lessons”

    Sweet and charming, great sense of humor (self-deprecating is a plus), able to hold a fun, “all over the place” conversation, around 5’8”, blue eyes, proficient at twerking. Defined forearms are also a big plus.

    Bachelor #5:

    Major: Djiboutian Studies

    Minor: Being #flawless

    Superpower: Faking my readings for section

    Future autobiography title: #YOLO

    Ideal Mate: Human with a pulse, between 18 and 22, under 5’11.” Funny, like Iliza Shlesinger, but as a gay male.

    Bonus quote: If I don’t understand this intro econ class, how am I supposed to know how many shoes I can buy in one semester?

    Bachelor #6:

    Major: History; Imaginary Minor: Political Science

    Superpower: You know, I’ve always wanted the power to turn my enemies into potatoes; if I were a super (or rather a supper) hero, I’d call myself “Spud” Bud.

    Autobiography: Not This Guy Again: The Life and Times of Me

    Ideal Mate: Someone swell, kind, and supportive. All else is on a per-case basis.

    Bachelor #7:

    Major: Sociology, with a minor in ugly selfies

    Superpower: Using beanies to cover up bad hair days

    Future autobiography title: (hair flip emoji)

    Ideal mate: Nice hair, kind eyes, and a burning hatred for capitalism

    Bachelor #8:

    Major: Music (with a minor in Unemployment Studies)

    Superpower: Waterbending. This has been confirmed by three independent buzzfeed quizzes.

    Future autobiography title: Blizzard Baes: The Musical

    Ideal mate: I’m interested in someone who makes me laugh. Someone athletic but who is secretly artsy in their spare time. Someone strong outside and gentle inside. Someone who likes to go on outdoor adventures. I tend to think blond and muscular, but that’s totally not a requirement. I’m a tea person, but I don’t discriminate.

    Bachelor #9:

    Major: Chemistry, probably. Imaginary minor: EDM (electronic dance music for those of you who aren’t hip with today’s youth)

    Superpower: I’m memorable enough that people know who I am, but not memorable enough that I’m ever suspicious 😉

    Autobiography: Oh God, What’s Going On: The Story of Some Guy, or Something

    My ideal match: someone who can surprise me. Someone feminist. Someone was voted “Most likely to secretly be a Russian Spy” in High School.

    Bachelorette #1:

    Major: Chemistry & Economics, minoring in global food appreciation

    Superpower: My cuddles. I’ve been told that I “just fit so perfectly”

    Future autobiography title: “I Dared to Dream”

    My ideal mate will somehow learn to love all sides of me: the sassy, the derpy, the nerdy, the idealistic, the logical, the ambitious, the adventurous (in all different ways… was that subtle enough?) and the loving.

    Bachelorette #2:

    Major: English major with a minor in hypotheticals

    Some of my superpowers include shape-shifting gradually with diet and exercise, fine motor skills and invisibility to bartenders.

    Future autobiography title: Playbuzz said, “The Diary of a Traveling Renegade: the Tale of You” — YOU

    My ideal mate has a long silken coat, fine pointed teeth and a working familiarity with all four episodes of 30 Rock. She loves games and fun-spirited horseplay and would have no use for a Brita filter. She wouldn’t even know what it was. Her one big indulgence is Q-tips. She’s a southpaw. She rides a bicycle, or she could if she wanted to. She’s sensitive but hard to crack, and funny, like a walnut.

    Bachelorette #3:

    Major: Psychology, minoring in Sleep Inertia Studies.

    Superpower: The ability to control time. This is the only way I’d be able to get a decent amount of sleep AND make it to my 10:30 chem class on time.

    Future autobiography title: Dreams of My Father. Wait, fuck.

    Ideal mate: Beautiful eyes, taller than I am (5’2 ¾”. Fractions are important) if a dude, solid facial structure, funny, charming, sarcastic and sassy, witty, enjoys/appreciates/tolerates puns of all qualities, a top-notch cuddler with a great butt.

    Bachelorette #4:

    Double major in computer science and linguistics

    Superpower: The ability to find two girls who are clearly in love with each other in any given TV show. Also basic hacking skills.

    Future autobiography title: “Programming Languages are like Real Languages, Only Better”

    Ideal mate: Someone sweet who appreciates nerdy pop culture references.

    Bachelorette #5:

    Major: Thug Life: Volume 1

    Minor: Street Fame

    Superpower: My REAL superpower is being able to make people desire me by dilating my pupils when thinking of chocolate cake

    Future autobiography title: I Still Don’t Know How To Cite; Sorry In Advance

    My ideal mate would have their sex parts intact, be musical, and be lactose-intolerant (aka vegan), but the cheesiest there is.

  3. WKND Reads Your Sexy Horoscope

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    Having put our faith in small talk, alcohol and Tinder, and having been consequently disappointed by each, WKND has since put our faith in the stars. And what do you know — they’ve disappointed us too! But that experience has left us with a working knowledge of sexy astrology, a gift that we shall now bequeath upon you, dear reader. Behold: Your Sexy Horoscope!

    Aries — Oh, impatient, foolhardy Aries! Don’t spend another Valentine’s Day alone in your room, watching “Friends” and sacrificing infants to Mars, god of blood and destruction. Enough is enough! This Feb. 14, treat yourself to a night of revelry and merriment. In fact, our astrologers predict that you’ll see an old flame at a party. When the old flame makes an ambiguous gesture of friendship, go ahead and misinterpret that signal. (It may be a handshake, or a high-five or a friendly wave of the hand.) Throw yourself into the person’s arms — if it turns out you got it all wrong, Mars will definitely smite the idiot.

    Taurus — Take the bull by the horns this Valentine’s Day. Love is there for the taking, but you’ve got to strike while the iron is hot. Don’t wait for Cupid to pierce your true love with an arrow — walk right up and hit ’em with your best shot. Literally. Just approach someone at a party, slap the cutie-pie, and wait for a reaction. Also — our astrologers have informed us that you have a secret admirer! If you’re curious, make deliberate, angry eye contact with everyone you see this Valentine’s Day: that person on High St. who blushes and looks away is your belovèd.

    Gemini — Wedding bells are ringing for you and your one true love! (The Harkness tower bells, on the other hand, are not ringing for you and your one true love. The Harkness tower bells ring for no man.) While matrimony may prove a sudden and startling proposition, ignore the counsel of friends and family — follow your heart. Who says you need to wait until thirty to wed? Elope. Las Vegas. Move off campus before junior year.

    Cancer — You are a strong independent person who don’t need no man/woman. Our astrologers foretell high levels of inebriation for you this Valentine’s Day. In fact, others will spot your dilated pupils and ruddy cheeks and mistake this drunken stupor for love. They will feel pangs of jealousy; they will plot to overthrow you; they will spread rumors about you, your family and your heritage. Look out for those who attempt to absorb your innermost self.

    Leo — A passionate encounter will fuel your creativity for the next month. You will find yourself feverishly typing up a new novel, finishing a painting, perfecting a recipe for Eggplant Parmigiano. Riding this high, you will eventually write an entire midterm paper in one night, only to discover that you’ve typed your lover’s name 3,000 times in a row. Schlomo, Schlomo, Schlomo … Prepare for an abrupt comedown both in your art and your life as a result of these amorous vicissitudes.

    Virgo — You have a fraught relationship to your virginity. You have spent the last three months picking at your cuticles and longing for that grad student named Chuck. Nevertheless, you’ll have bigger fish to fry this weekend, when disaster strikes from an unexpected place. Our astrologers tell us that you will wake up as a literal bug someday soon — while this sounds frightening, it could be a blessing in disguise. Has a cockroach ever had a fraught relationship with its virginity?

    Libra — you will be whisked away on a romantic getaway this weekend, but feel torn because the romantic getaway coincides with your friend’s birthday/wedding/improv show. Don’t beat yourself up over this tiny betrayal, however — you just tend to experience guilt more vividly than you experience any other emotion. Accept massages, candygrams, smooches and pizza slices, wherever they may come from.

    Scorpio — Pucker up, little scorpion — this weekend you’ll experience your first kiss! (If you’ve already been kissed, this will be your first true kiss.) The setting might not be very romantic, but the circumstances will be memorable. (Look out for a young man with tattoos and a pet monkey. Our astrologers tell us that the monkey goes by Carl.) However, while you are in a woozy, starry-eyed daze, you might forget the ones you love. Under no circumstances should you succomb to such a lapse in memory. Never forget where you come from, Scorpio.

    Sagittarius — In the coming days, one of your physical charms will leave you. For men, this may be the premature onset of baldness. For women, this could be the sudden appearance of fish scales and fins. Despite this disheartening turn of events, our astrologers recommend that you make hay while the sun shines. Live life to the fullest! Touch your hair while it’s still attached to your head, use your body while it’s still vaguely mammalian. Your anticipation of the impending disaster will actually prove productive, generating some exciting surprises!

    Capricorn — This Valentine’s Day, you will find yourself temporarily thrust into the nightmarish realm of a young adult novel. A dystopian totalitarian regime will drive you to do things you never dreamed of doing. You will work the arid land alongside your beautiful siblings; you will repair robots; you will harvest human organs. When you return from your journey, you will have aged a thousand years, and your hair will be streaked grey. Shaky and devastated, you will spend the rest of your life alienated from the authentic human contact you once craved.

    Pisces/Aquarius — you will fall in love in a watery wonderland. You will swim in a pool of loving feeling, which will wash you clean from your former sins and mistakes. Fear death by water.

  4. The Blindest Date

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    Feeling lonely? Lovelorn? Dreading Valentine’s Day? Never fear — WKND has devised the perfect solution to Yalies’ amorous woes. We’ve selected a lucky ten bachelors and bachelorettes from a large and qualified pool of applicants for this week’s straight edition. (Queer edition to come!) Now you, dear reader, get to vote for your favorite contestant to determine who gets paired up for a V-Day blind date. Simply scroll down and vote in the polls for your favorite bachelor and bachelorette by midnight Wednesday.



    • I am majoring in MCDB with a minor in perversity … or computer science.
    • As cliché as it may be, stopping time is the ultimate superpower; if you disagree you are not worth my time. Until I control it. 😉
    • Future autobiography title: “Twilight: Waning Passion”
    • I’d prefer human with two eyes and the works. And crazy. Batshit crazy is a necessity.


    • Major: Global Affairs Minor: Vikings!
    • Superpower: Ability to sink unlimited beverages
    • Future autobiography title: “How I conquered life…”
    • My ideal girl would have to embrace my controversial dance moves in Box. She would have to be outgoing and fun and also appreciate my sexy British accent.


    • Major: Political Science (minor in exploring New Haven restaurants)
    • Hypothetical superpower: ordering the most delicious item on the menu, every time.
    • Future autobiography title: “Lox and ‘Bae’gels”
    • I want to meet someone who is spontaneous and can go from rolling her eyes at me in one moment to cuddling in the next.


    • Majoring in Global Affairs; minoring in Bar Trivia
    • The ability to mute people
    • Future autobiography title: “Short, Relatively Dark and Decent Looking”
    • A girl who will lounge in her sweatpants on the couch with me on a Sunday morning watching three SportsCenters in a row.


    • Major: Mechanical Engineering (Minor: JewBu Studies)
    • Hypothetical superpower: to be able to play all the instruments in an orchestra at once
    • Future autobiography online: “A Cypress in the Lost Coast”
    • In a perfect world: a flamenco dancer. Ideal traits: thoughtful, a good conversationalist, caring, affectionate, zesty, inquisitive, musical (preferably with a nice singing voice), likes going on hikes.


    • Philosophy and pre-med
    • Superpower: an uncanny ability to spend many hours thinking about girls while steadily losing the ability to understand their actions
    • Future autobiography title: “Eat, Play, Love”
    • My ideal mate is someone whom I can talk to without trying. Someone who’s socially adept, but doesn’t party too much. Someone who’s a genuinely good person — the kind of nice where you think so well of them that, physical attraction aside, you just can’t help but want to kiss them.


    • Major: Math, Imaginary minor: Pun making
    • Superpower: I’ve always wanted a time-turner
    • Future autobiography title: “Just Plane Wrong: One geometer’s fruitless search for truth and beauty in math.”
    • I am a vanilla heterosexual male. I desire independence and intellectual passion in a partner. Someone who wants to while away hours drinking tea and discussing recently read books would be perfect.


    • Ethics, Politics, Economics and Art double major. Imaginary minor: Botany
    • Superpower: Making anyone smile
    • Future autobiography title: “A List of Ridiculous Things: 99 Truths and One Lie”
    • Someone who inspires others and that can talk for hours on end about literally anything. Ideally she will love spontaneity just as much as I do! She also has to be up for trying new things (I’ve never been on a date, so this is new for me!) Finally, sweet, caring, carefree and honest: I will be all of these for her.


    • Economics major — minor in gut class identification
    • I honestly don’t want a superpower, because I know it would corrupt me and I would use it for evil. Although I wouldn’t mind being able to charge an iPhone with my thoughts.
    • Future autobiography title: “The Life of Oprah Winfrey” (that would definitely increase sales)
    • My dream girl is a sight to see, with long dark hair and a very tiny face. She has limitless compassion, loves sea turtles and either has or can fake an accent. She enjoys staying in sometimes to watch Netflix/ bake cookies, but when we go out you better believe we bring down the house together. Bonus points if she is a masseuse, plays golf or owns a pomsky.

    BACHELOR #10

    • Major: Environmental Studies
    • Imaginary Minor: Trans-species Communication
    • Superpower: Editing Privileges on Space-Time Continuum
    • Future autobiography title: “Taming Oneself”
    • Description of Ideal Mate: Honest, physically active, strong fucked-up sense of humor, tolerant of a high-density of film references in casual conversation, the ability to focus completely on another person.


    Bachelorette #1:

    • Physics major, minor in watching television
    • My superpower is that I’m always right; I’ll let you decide if that’s real or imaginary.
    • Future autobiography title: “That Time I Cooked for The Backstreet Boys and Other Tales”
    • A cross between Andy Samberg, Adam Levine and Hoodie Allen, gets even more attractive when he puts on glasses, doesn’t use the Oxford comma.

    Bachelorette #2:

    • Major: Badassery
    • Minor: Anthropology
    • Superpower: I have a sixth sense for knowing when the dining halls will be serving watermelon for breakfast (yes, without looking at the dining app, thank you very much)
    • Future autobiography title: “From Myspace to Facebook: The evolution of the social being that is me”
    • Ideal mate: someone who will cuddle with me in front of the misleading “fireplace” in my suite, someone who will fantasize about Sherlock marathons as much a I do while accepting that we don’t actually have 14 spare hours to make it happen, someone with an incense of humor (commonly found at East Asian trading markets) and preferably someone who is the straight version of Matt Bomer.

    Bachelorette #3:

    • Major: BME
    • Minor: Yellow things with a concentration in ducklings and sunflowers
    • Superpower: monopolizing couches
    • Future autobiography title: “No, seriously, can someone tell me?”
    • A description of your ideal mate: someone who can beat my mozzarella-stick-eating record. 28.

    Bachelorette #4:

    • Major: Film Studies (Minor: Michael Bay-bashing Studies)
    • Superpower: The ability to sustain a fiery, all-consuming hatred of “Frozen” almost a year and a half after its release! I guess you could say that I can’t “Let it Go.”
    • Future autobiography title: “I’m Not Mad (Yet), I Just Have Resting Bitchface Syndrome: An Autobiography”
    • Looking for someone who has a dry sense of humor, is focused, loves nature and appreciates cinema. Has an eclectic taste in music. Can discuss religious beliefs in a balanced way. An awareness of race relations is a plus. A love of dogs and an intense dislike of cats is a plus plus!! Too complicated? Just get me Idris Elba. Yale has that kind of money, right?

    Bachelorette #5:

    • Major: Humanities
    • Superpower: Can summon a “grande chai tea latte, no water” anywhere on campus in three seconds flat
    • Title of her future biography: “I’m Not Judging You That’s Just My Face: A Real-World Blair Waldorf”
    • Ideal mate must meet at least 7 of the following 10 criteria:
      • 1. Under six feet tall
      • 2. Republican
      • 3. Never wears Vineyard Vines
      • 4. PDA enthusiast, loves hand-holding
      • 5. Section, no, lecture asshole
      • 6. Owns puka shell necklace
      • 7. Blonde
      • 8. Does lots of drugs and/or all the drugs
      • 9. Men’s rights activist
      • 10. Listens to Nickelback

    Bachelorette #6:

    • Major: Cognitive Science. Minor: Theory and Practice of Appalachian Folk Crafts.
    • Ideal superpower: Ability to make quesadillas appear whenever I want them
    • Future autobiography title: “I Have Three Quesadillas in My Pocket”
    • My ideal mate would enjoy kayaking, comfortable silences and saying hello to strangers on the sidewalk to freak them out, and also be trustworthy and funny and caring and stuff. And play the fiddle, or have a pet hedgehog. Or both.

    Bachelorette #7:

    • EP&E major with a minor in mastering various urban public transit systems
    • Imagined superpower: perfect timing. Arrive at the bar just as that big group leaves, hit every green light, be that 100,000th customer, make a chill new friend while I’m just about overwhelmed by life.
    • Future autobiography title: “Dodge the Basics, Delight in the Simple”
    • Looking for someone who reserves judgment, is introspective, indulges in a wild and unselfconscious laugh, can appreciate 90s neo-soul/classic hip-hop and wants to go get swole with me in the mornings.

    Bachelorette #8:

    • Major: Psychology neuroscience track & English
    • Superpower: I’m actually a mermaid
    • Future autobiography title: “Tales of an endorphin addict”
    • Ideal mate: wine lover, music lover, good lover

    Bachelorette #9:

    • Major: English (maybe Poli Sci)
    • Superpower: reading and controlling minds
    • Future autobiography title: “The Grey Goose Diaries”
    • Funny and intelligent gets boring, so in addition to the aforementioned qualities, I’m looking for someone who is not afraid to get a little edgy and un-PC. He should have just the right combination of charm, arrogance and mystique to keep me interested. At the same time, this person should be refined and cultured and ideally possess a strong appreciation for the finer things in life, i.e. caviar, Petrarchan sonnets and Patron. Someone who will pre-game a YSO show and then take me bar-hopping sounds like the ideal mate. Chuck Bass meets Kid Cudi, if you will.

    Bachelorette #10:

    • Major in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, minor in Bachata
    • Superpower: Ice cream radar … and the ability to eat it all upon detection
    • Future autobiography title: “Saw VIII: Back to the Beginning”
    • Ideal mate: Damon Salvatore … except he has also seen all of the old Disney Channel Original movies and can do a standing back tuck (flip).


  5. We Were Always Wanderers

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    “What was it that called me: madness or reality?”

    — Clarice Lispector

    I do not think I am too young to have regrets; to worry that my heart is so violent and desperate that it cannot be loved; to have felt emotions of such terrifying grandeur that I am left raving and wild upon the New Haven Green, daring God to exist. If I am old enough to be committed to a psychiatric hospital against my will; to be told “having you at school would be unsafe for the community,” then I am old enough to look back upon my twenty years and wonder: Why do I want to live? And the butterfly — as it drifts among the flowers?  So easily crushed and yet she dares to be delicate.  To live and be delicate.  Oh what madness drives the earth to give birth to itself (the mangoes full of sweet juice; the grasses lush; the peonies, fragrant as grand dames at the opera), what madness drives it, each spring, to be born? Only to die? The dying earth is my nightmare and my nightly worry. Don’t you see that reality is so delicate? Don’t you see that flowers die because we stop believing in them? I watch the leaves fall from the trees and wring my hands. Spring is a season of weeping because the perfume of the flowers barely exists. I know that it will soon be gone and I may not grasp it. But because it barely exists it leads me into a reality that is all the more intense for being delicate. All is refined; all is fragile. This reality is my immaculate and secret life. It cannot be touched except with eyes closed and breathing gently. I try to save it; to save it I believe in it all the more. But every year and in despair I discover again: Spring was a dream after all.

    Yet some mornings I look at myself in the mirror and think: to be this beautiful I cannot die. Ah but I am beautiful because I will die. (That is what I discover, dreaming of last spring’s flowers.) But I do not want this beauty. Take it from me. I pray to God: Take it from me. But God (who is a voice I created in the garden), God says: Look again at the flowers. So like a nun I bow my head and silently accept this stricture. I watch the flowers and speak to them and listen to the perfumes they pass between each other for this is their language.

    If I am old enough to die (as did the eighteen-year-old boy who crashed his car into a tree my sister’s senior year of high school), then is it not true that all the myriad emotions which play in my heart (as I delight in the unfolding of colors at dawn, as I walk worrying from class to class, as I read “Mrs. Dalloway” in the desert) demand my reverence? So when I see a six-year-old crying I do not think: If she only knew how much harder life will get. Because I remember when I was six and Michael coerced me into getting naked in front of him, into taking a shower with him, because I had to learn “not to be modest.” I remember the shame I felt when I told my mother, and the vague fear I felt when I saw his picture on Facebook last night. (For he was looking at me.) At what point did that fear begin to merit your attention? And take on value? Become tragic? Worthy of a narrative? Was it at six? Or twelve? Or twenty? Or will it not become so until I’m forty?

    (And I do not think this fear is any more significant than my fear of touching doorknobs. For I struggle against the doorknob daily and think of Michael only every so often. At what point do you stop telling me, “Ah, but you are young! Give it a few years”? The doorknob stands before me and I tremble. You would not laugh if I told you that Michael had forced me to nakedness (I wasn’t even comfortable using a urinal for fear of being seen); why laugh when I tell you I cannot touch a doorknob? or when I stutter? Every conversation terrifies me (what if I am boring? or make you angry? what if you no longer want to be my friend?). For when I speak, my crown tumbles from my forehead. My majesty is lost. Only in silence do I remain enthroned. Only in the garden.)

    (What matters is not what it is, but how I’ve felt it. But here we are understanding only “what makes sense”.)

    I refuse to accept that what I felt at three is any less tragic, any less magnificent than what I feel at twenty. (Or that what I feel now is any less than what you feel at thirty, or forty, or, for God’s sake, twenty four.) Innocence is a state created after the fact. It is created nostalgically. For we cannot bear the idea that we have always suffered; that children, too, suffer. That all of human life is suffering. So we piece together from the dreamy sweet fragments of childhood a state of grace. But it was always piecemeal. Innocence is a false idyll. Children, too, are part of the grand tragedy.

    (Some have wondered if my gender identity is a phase. But don’t you know that the first piece of clothing I wanted to buy was a bikini? “A green bikini,” I thought. “Just for me.” Yet even then I knew it was forbidden. Even then, as a three-year-old child, I knew that my desire was a scandal. I yearned; I yearned. And how can you say my yearning then was foolish; immature; fleeting? When I remember it seventeen years later?)

    Delicate being that I am, the slightest disturbance along the filaments of those thoughts by which I remain tethered to life shakes me dreamless and dead. (I fall before the barbarous shock of a phrase; an unlovely reflection in the mirror; a passage I cannot decipher in a book. The smallest disagreement throws me into disarray; I cannot bear it; and I have stared at my reflection, rearranged my hair and rubbed my eyes, until the image it produced matched my inner vision of myself, which would suffer, pierced and bleeding, when I looked unlovely (for the crown would tumble; I would be a fool). And to read a book by an author whom I hold dear, and to come upon an incomprehensible passage, is as if I were denied a goodnight kiss by my own mother. Who am I, after all, if I cannot understand that which I love? But is it true that what we love most is most incomprehensible to us? For I cannot understand an orchid in a glass dome. Nor can I touch it; the glass denies me; the air of the orchid denies me; its majesty and detached beauty. I can only fall down in praise.) But I do not believe my emotions are more valuable than those of anyone else because I have a mental illness.

    Though sometimes I have wondered: am I ill or is my sensibility simply more finespun?  Do I feel more subtly the trembling of the earth?  (This delicacy is my coup de grâce — for though I suffer, at least I suffer aesthetically.)  As Clarice Lispector wrote, “Our best eye is at the same time more powerful and more delicate.  [But] does this only happen to our eyes?  Could it be that those who see things more clearly are also those who feel and suffer most?” But then I think of that boy who died at eighteen: If his emotions were not then as valuable as yours now, what was the worth of his life? We are only the trembling of emotion as it comes in contact with the world; with flowers; with trees; with the bodies we love. We exist only in that contact. Do not deny me that. For I have fought so long to fall in love with the world and confront every day the failure of that love. Reality is too delicate for me. I am rudderless, I am adrift. I am tired. There are only ever fragments of a revelation — nothing comes together. Someday I will fall out of love and it will end just like this: without an ending.

  6. A Play of Manors: “Arcadia” at the Rep

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    As with most writers, Tom Stoppard sets out to prove that man does not live on bread alone. We need a little more, a little metaphysics, or it’s back to cattle grazing. “Arcadia” is a testament to that claim, and you’ll struggle to find a finer production of it than at the Yale Repertory Theater.

    I was baffled, seduced and enchanted enough to go twice, once on a Friday, and the result was ultimately disheartening: After the show, I knew the rest of the weekend, whatever lay in store, would be a dull, meaningless and post-coital affair.

    “Arcadia,” as with many of Stoppard’s works, is about subjunctive history: the what-ifs and the might-have-beens. The play flicks between two time periods in the Coverley family’s countryside manor: 1809 and the present day. The current residents delve into the ambiguities of the manor’s predecessors, who themselves appear, whilst they muse on mathematics, literature and entropy.

    Septimus (played by Thomas Pecinka DRA ‘15) shows spectacular disdain for his rival, Chater, and his capacity for condescension is astounding. The spit can be seen flying out of his mouth as he flawlessly enunciates every word with a mammoth breadth of intonation and intensity. Not only Septimus but the whole cast moves with exceptional style as they posture, sit and emote. In the 1809 setting, the stage resembles the many Gainsborough family portraits at the YCBA. However, director James Bundy doesn’t limit himself to the classical canon. As the scenes change, gentle minimalistic interludes coo to the audience, ambient musical numbers that could’ve come straight from Arcade Fire’s soundtrack to “Her.”

    Max Gordon Moore DRA ‘11 turns Valentine, the sardonic and impatient mathematician, into the most lovable arsehole possible. The callousness of his lines is given an unprecedented warmth in their delivery — “of course she bloody couldn’t” is no longer rude, but somehow charming. He states (to an attentive Hannah) the beauty and wonder of both chaos theory and fractal geometry as the most miraculous phenomenon: “It’s how nature creates itself, on every scale, the snowflake and the snowstorm. It makes me so happy.”

    Bundy opts to fill this speech with intermittent and unsuccessful attempts on Valentine’s part to kiss Hannah. The pathos and intensity of the speech are somewhat compromised, but the audience howls with laughter. Bundy is ruthlessly attentive throughout: When two characters from the different eras are reading onstage together, the books’ pages are turned in unison. Little details are spiced up: In the text, there is “Give Lightning [the tortoise] a kick on your way out.” In the play, “lightning” is replaced with “Gus,” the recalcitrant boy. Cruder joke, bigger laugh. Bernard (Stephen Barker Turner) fistbumps Chloe. The play is a little racier, and for something three hours long, these attention-seizing gestures are valuable.

    The production’s energy doesn’t just come from gimmicks, but also from passion of character. When Bernard delivers a panegyric to literature and the individual talent, prompted by Valentine’s claim that “personalities” are “trivial,” “Arcadia” stops simmering and it starts to burn. Behind Turner’s razor-sharp articulation, one can feel the voice of a writer telling all the moderns who worship data and information to just fuck off: “A great poet is always timely. A great philosopher is an urgent need. There’s no rush for Isaac Newton. We were quite happy with Aristotle’s cosmos. Personally, I preferred it.”

    Hannah (René Augesen), the world-weary writer who is profoundly unable to love anyone, closes the math-versus-literature debate with exquisite mediation: “It’s all trivial — your grouse, my hermit, Bernard’s Byron. Comparing what we’re looking for misses the point. It’s wanting to know that makes us matter.”

    This is Stoppard’s catechism. It’s the curiosity and the meaning we find, that is nourishing, not the object or art form to which it corresponds. Augusen, who plays Hannah, utters this speech with complete and perfect sincerity. There’s no one who won’t buy it.

    “Arcadia” has the odd hitch. Some of the British accents aren’t quite there, but perhaps I’m only saying this as a Brit myself: to American ears unaccustomed to our eccentric breed of sharpened consonants and flattered vowels, they’ll go undetected. Every innovation of Bundy’s pays off, and we’re left with an original production of “Arcadia,” a rare feat indeed.

    When Stoppard came to speak here last month and was asked what he looked for in performances of his plays, the reply was simply “clarity of speech.” Stoppard would be delighted with what the Yale Rep has done with “Arcadia”: Despite the breathtaking speed at which the one-liners and aphorisms come, nothing is missed or blunted. The old world moves fluidly into the new and back again; Pecinka is debonaire, winning Septimus is counterbalanced by the wild pairing of Turner and Moore. As the characters from both eras dance together, oblivious of each other, in the play’s impossibly magnificent finale, a pseudo-Santana guitar riff from a garden party slips into a Chopin waltz from the dining room. The lights fade to an indigo glimmer, and every working mechanism in the play is visually resolved: New and old are one, disorder and order are one — there is harmony.

  7. Today's Menu

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    In the grand scheme of analysis there are two schools: the empiricists and the intuitionists (who knows if that’s actually true, but it sounds good, like a David Brooks column). Here at WEEKEND, we tend to favor intuitionfreedom, art, lovebut every once and a while you have to embrace your Apollonian side. So, for the love of food, for the love of reason, please enjoy our incredibly accurate ranking of all the bestand worsteats at Yale.

    Screen shot 2014-01-31 at 2.01.16 AM[media-credit id=11498 align=”aligncenter” width=”1156″]


  8. A Bizarre Take on Love

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    “Tiny Boyfriend” opens with a nice one-liner: “Love is bizarre.” And in the Yale School of Drama’s newest experimental play, love is indeed bizarre. Love involves mini-baguettes and oversized flower pots and rubbery dildos. Love is knotted and ugly and very opaque. And love isn’t just love, but is also race, gender, faith, disease and death. In brief, “Tiny Boyfriend” is a romance that wants to be much more.

    Quan and John share an office, a Kafkaesque cubicle they cannot escape. John’s a temp worker, Quan’s a full-time employee, and the attraction is immediate. They exchange long, lingering looks from either side of the room and when they speak, their sneering boss interrupts and parades around the room with a foppish gait. But Quan and John persevere, plan a date, sing karaoke and end up having hot and sweaty sex that ends abruptly when Quan mentions John’s “big black dick.” John has some insecurities. But still, they persevere. They keep going to work; they keep avoiding their boss; they keep dating. They even have a daughter, Olivia, played by the same actor who plays the boss (unclear at what point they adopted a child). Olivia’s sassy and slightly crazy: she speaks in tongues and throws hysterical fits. Quan and John struggle because love is bizarre, an appropriate parallel to the play itself.

    Sara Holdren DRA ’15 and Phillip Howze seem to pick strangeness for the sake of strangeness. On his first day of work, John enters the office and begins to dance the robot. Quan microwaves a telephone. While these details amuse, they often distract, making the story hard to follow, diffuse, and unclear. When did Olivia learn Spanish? How old is she? Why’s she fixated on a rubber dildo? And what does the giant white flowerpot mean? Quan and John break the fourth wall without earning their asides. Coaxing Olivia out of a fit, they claim that “this play has rules” and that the audience expects better from her, but these attempts at meta-theater are half-hearted gimmicks. “Tiny Boyfriend” doesn’t need its postmodern flourishes.

    Ultimately, Howze takes on too much for such a short production. The play spans 25 years and during the 25 years, Quan and John grapple with various capital-I Issues. Howze crams race, sex, politics, gender and faith into a single relationship and it cannot withstand the pressure. Both men are bubbling cauldrons of insecurity — new fears surface in every other exchange and the audience can’t keep up. Since Howze doesn’t allow for real character development, the central relationship doesn’t make sense. Why are these two men together? The final scenes, scenes in which John accuses Quan of perfectionism and Quan accuses John of immaturity, aren’t satisfying. They’re not a culmination; they have an unjustified intensity that only feels hollow. Howze doesn’t build a scaffold strong enough to support such emotional complexity.

    But when “Tiny Boyfriend” stays tiny, when it doesn’t do too much, the play’s lovely and strange. The first sex scene is perfect: the lights dim, Quan and John stand in separate corners and remove their pants. They moan and pant in alternating intervals. John grunts, Quan sighs, John grunts. And the acting, too, is mostly great. James Cusati-Moyer DRA ‘15 — as both Olivia and the boss — is hilarious. He’s perfected a child’s sloppy movements and sheepish giggles, dramatic fits and quick recoveries. Mitchell Winter DRA ‘15 as Quan is not only endearing but heartbreaking, crying “I wish we felt it all and all at once!” And Yahya Abdul-Mateen II ‘DRA 15 is powerful and, in moments, majestic. “Tiny Boyfriend” succeeds when Howze doesn’t overreach, when he isn’t writing Relevant Theater.

    But most of the time, he does overreach. Quan and John are as trapped and terrified as Beckett’s Vladimir and Estragon but even this absurdist reference to “Waiting for Godot” is gratuitous and ultimately distracting. Not only is the play overladen with footnotes on race, gender and democracy, but “Tiny Boyfriend” is a swarm of surreal details. These details confuse. “Love is Bizarre,” sure, but its explication doesn’t have to be.

  9. Love at Yale, Actually

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    Three hours after the email is sent out, Christian Probst ’16 responds.

    “Is Tuesday at 1 good?? That’s good for both of us! -Christian and Luke.”

    We respond indicating that Stats and Lab won’t allow us to meet until later, hoping that they’ll find time to carve out of their days to talk about their relationship and the relationship culture at Yale — or lack thereof.

    Exactly a minute after our response is sent: “Luke and I are free from 1-4:50? Or could do after 11 p.m.?” Christian seems unusually cognizant of his boyfriend’s schedule. I ask both of them about it.

    They laugh, smile self-deprecatingly.

    “We have our G-Cals shared with each other.”

    Christian clarifies. “He stole mine first.”

    “I was too embarrassed to share mine at first because I felt like I wasn’t that busy compared to him,” Luke Johnson ’16 says sheepishly. They both agree it makes for easier scheduling — like this meeting.

    Johnson and Probst sit down after finding a table, Johnson cupping his hands around a quarter-filled ‘23’ water bottle and Probst leaning forward on the rickety table. It’s a scene that might be deemed anomalous at Yale (or so-called #swugnation), where such romantic encounters should be few and far between — at least according to writers at The Atlantic and Slate. If chivalry is dead, these writers lend us the uplifting prediction that monogamy is close behind.

    The barrage of commentary on relationship culture at Yale has categorized us as hyper-focused and tunnel-visioned and, to an extent, Johnson and Probst fit the mold. Both are in a cappella groups (Mixed Company and the Duke’s Men, respectively), often involved in theater productions, and, for Christian, Yale Dancers. But, for all these “warning” signs — those that might seem to indicate an inability to devote oneself to another — they’re also atypical. In a sea of “I don’t have time’s,” they’ve somehow managed to manipulate the clock and find some.


    The Hanna Rosins, Kate Taylors and Caitlin Flanagans of the world paint for us a hookup culture, largely driven by girls, that has replaced the serious monogamy of yesteryear. Titles like “Boys on the Side” (Rosin) and “She Can Play that Game, Too” (Taylor) ascribe to these women an unflinching progressiveness. They hook up because they’re too busy pursuing JDs, MDs, MBAs, and personally addressing the gender wage gap. Or, as Flanagan informs us, they hook up not because they want to (actually, “they’re terrified of it”), but because they’ve grown up “with scant direction or guidance about their sexual lives.”

    Describing how young girls are trying to escape the expectations of sexual promiscuity allegedly flung upon them, Flanagan asserts: “We’ve sunk pretty low, culturally speaking, when we’ve left it to the 14- and 15-year-old girls of the nation to make one of the last, great stands for human dignity.”

    And distinguishing between extra-marital sex between adults and that between adolescents, she writes, “One-night stands may be perfectly enjoyable exercises for two consenting adults, but teenagers aren’t adults.”

    Taylor combats these claims with anecdotes. These free sexual practices are the very things that allow adolescent women, at least, to become adult women. Rosin, whose sources tend to be slightly older in age, comes to a similar conclusion. “To put it crudely,” she writes, “feminist progress right now largely depends on the existence of the hookup culture.”

    Whatever the exact interpretation, and however normative it may be, the first principle remains: Our generation is hooking up, and we’re doing it beyond Aphrodite’s wildest wet dreams. Call it concentrated (amongst the white and wealthy), destructive (Flanagan), progressive (Rosin), just don’t call it monogamy.

    But a new paper from The American Sociological Association is calling it bullshit.

    Using the General Social Survey, an in-person randomized opinion survey conducted every other year by the National Opinion Research Center, researchers Martin Monto and Anna Carey of the University of Portland compared data from two time periods: 1988-’96 and 2002-’10. Looking at the sexual experiences and sentiments of undergraduates, they found that frequency of sex and number of sexual partners in the later years was not significantly different from those in the earlier years.

    In the earlier group, 65.2 percent of respondents reported having sex weekly or more often in the past year, compared to 59.3 percent of 2002-’10 respondents. And the number of recent sexual partners wasn’t very different either. 31.9 percent of respondents from the earlier group reported having more than one sexual partner in the past year, compared with 31.6 percent of those in the later group.

    While millennials were 10 percent more likely to have had a casual date or hook-up in the past year, 13 percent more likely to have had sex with a friend, and 7 percent less likely to have a spouse or regular sexual partner, the researchers saw more temporal similarities than differences.

    Relationship practices are changing, of course, but “this study demonstrates that we are not in the midst of a new era of no-rules-attached sexuality,” Monto asserted in a press release. “In fact, we found that, overall, sexual behavior among college students remained fairly consistent over the past 25 years.”

    So, we’re less monogamous, but not startlingly so.

    In “Boys on the Side,” Rosin writes, “America has unseated the Scandinavian countries for the title of Easiest Lay. We are, in the world’s estimation, a nation of prostitutes. And not even prostitutes with hearts of gold.”

    But the takeaway here is this: If today is salacious, so were the years of the crumbling of the Berlin Wall and the crack/cocaine epidemic. There’s a consistency to the data that we often glance over. That is, we’re only prostitutes now if we were then. And few would have characterized the elder Bush’s presidency as the era of prostitution.


    Cocking his head at an upward angle and pausing to add up hours, Harry Larson ’14 finally has the answer. Overall, he says, “We spend at least one or two waking hours a day together.”

    He and Natasha Thondavadi ’14 have been dating since January of freshman year. (Thondavadi is a former Culture editor for the News, and Larson was an Opinion columnist.) After living together in an off-campus apartment last year, they now share a suite in JE, the college that brought them together as friends when they first arrived at Yale. Even when they don’t have many waking hours together, they still have sleeping hours. They live across the hall from each other, but for all intents and purposes, Harry notes, “we live together.”

    In other words, they’re not going out to Zinc every Friday night, or catching a movie every Saturday matinee. When it comes to the time they spend together, it can be slightly haphazard.

    And, in Johnson and Probst’s case, extremely so.

    “Our schedules are the most incompatible possible,” Johnson says animatedly, leaning forward and playing with his water bottle. Given their intensive academic and a cappella balancing acts, they often don’t see each other until late at night.

    Their Mondays are a prime example. One of them wakes up (“and then the other rolls over, mumbles ‘have a good day,’ and passes out again,” Probst adds). Probst finishes classes at 2:15 p.m., Johnson at 5 p.m. They might grab a quick dinner; then go to rehearsal, sometimes followed by a tech rehearsal for a separate production; then reconvene at 11 or 12; do homework, go to GHeav, watch TV and go to bed.

    “You can always find time. We sacrifice a lot of sleep,” Probst said.

    “But it’s so worth it,” Johnson added hastily.

    Despite living on different continents over the summer, the two stayed close, Skyping almost every day, emailing and sometimes texting “even though we weren’t supposed to because of international charges,” Probst laughed guiltily. Johnson spent two months in Japan on a Light Fellowship, while Probst remained in the U.S., part of the traveling Broadway tour of The Little Mermaid.

    For Abby Reisner ’14 and Noah Steinfeld ’14, in order to battle this inevitable Yale time crunch, making sure to see each other every day is of utmost importance — even if it’s for a five-minute end-of-day suite drop-in. Despite the fact that they share YPMB as their main extracurricular, scheduling time to see one another remains a concentrated effort.

    But those activities they do strive to share with one another don’t necessarily fit into the mold of stereotypical “dates.”

    “It took us 16 months to see our first movie together,” she says. A conversation ensues in which they try to remember what they saw, but it takes more of a Herculean effort than they expected. “Well, must have been really memorable then,” Reisner quips.

    Instead, they go on runs and eat meals together — “anything we would do by ourselves, we do together.” Except homework, because Noah talks to himself while doing it, she said.

    Ultimately, given these everyday moments she’s able to steal with Steinfeld, Reisner doesn’t buy the “I don’t have time” claim, adding, “if we have any problems, it’s that. But we’ve figured out ways to do it.”

    Similarly, every student interviewed had heard the “I don’t have time” excuse, but few in relationships bought it.

    Thondavadi lent her support to this statement, noting that being in a relationship does not actually take time away from her other heavy commitments. She was surprised that students felt this way, given that, in her view, the time spent being in a relationship would otherwise be spent socializing with friends anyway.

    She said that in fact, she felt more comfortable in her relationship when she started having more academic and extracurricular work. “I had a constant support system,” she said, referring to how she and Larson would help each other with errands and give each other general emotional support.

    Johnson points to the same pattern of a relationship benefitting his work life. “Watching a movie in your suite takes up less time than going to a party. And you can wake up the next morning and actually work because you’re not hung over.”

    He added that any time that would have been spent finding someone to hook up with on a Friday or Saturday night is more time to crank work out. “If you can just hook up with someone on a Tuesday night,” he laughs, “you’re actually working on a more regular schedule.”

    Larson and Thondavadi agreed that students who do not engage in relationships have not found anyone they consider to be worth the time and attention. His lanky frame filling one of the few comfortable chairs in Bass Cafe, he arrives at a conclusion he intones as self-evident.

    “If you’re not willing to put in the time, it’s probably a sign that you’re not that interested,” he said.


    But not everyone is looking to find a soulmate within the walls of the Ivy League. While the hookup culture may not be as pervasive as die-hard skeptics have suggested, according to some it remains an inescapable part of the Yale social scene. And though a large number of students feel the desire for a monogamous relationship, a great many are not planning to be in one during their undergraduate years.

    Raisa Bruner ’13, in her WEEKEND piece “#SWUGNATION” from earlier this year, defined the culture of Senior Washed Up Girls, a subset of Yale women who had essentially “given up” on college romance. By the time she went to her last party in the Elm City, Bruner was no longer the eager, idealistic freshman who dressed up for every outing in hopes of finding a special someone. Now, as she looks back on her undergraduate experience, she is happy to have lived the single life during her time at Yale.

    “At the end of the day, I don’t have any regrets,” she reflected. “Learning to depend on yourself is an incredibly valuable lesson.”

    Based on 638 anonymous responses from a random sample of 2,000 students, there was no hostile opposition toward the idea of monogamous relationships. But individually, many students preferred having the romantic and sexual freedom monogamy inherently lacks. And in a school that forces one to choose between thousands of classes and more extracurriculars than Payne Whitney can house, this seems to make sense — why should students feel pressured to commit in yet another aspect of their undergraduate experience?

    One student who felt particularly liberated said, “I like to sleep around like a free spirit or a Swiffer free sweeper.”

    To be fair, most students in the survey did not compare their sexual habits to the motion of a cleaning device, but many still felt that their peers were not worth their complete and undivided romantic attention. Bruner attributes this to the seemingly unlimited potential romantic partners to be found in Ivy League institutions: Ultimately, she says, “What if there’s something better around the corner?”

    Even some of the strongest couples interviewed empathized with the appeal of the hookup culture. Though he has been in the same relationship before he even encountered his first Old Campus squirrel as a freshman, Derwin Aikens ’15 said he perfectly understands the “college mentality:” the belief that, for every student, no lip should go unkissed and no party left unattended. Having thought at length about what life would be like engaging in this experience, Aikens concluded that he does not think one lifestyle is better than the other, only that he prefers being with his boyfriend, John Shively ’15, at the end of each day.

    Aikens and other couples interviewed are quick to note, however, that even given the supposed pervasiveness of the Yale hookup culture, the ability to find something more serious still remains. Similarly, for Bruner, the perceived lack of monogamy at Yale indicates not that the culture lectures against it, but that most people simply aren’t interested.

    “A lot of the time,” she says simply, “people in college just aren’t looking for their life partners.”


    Despite the talk about and perception of one dominant “culture” at Yale, the numbers tell another story. According to a survey sent to a randomized sample of 2,000 undergraduates, the mere notion that monogamy is stigmatized at Yale, and that the majority of students are wholly uninterested, is largely false. Ultimately, many students are lamenting a perception — that the hookup culture is the only option for romance at Yale — in the face of a drastically different reality.

    With a response rate of approximately 32 percent (638 out of a sample size of 2,000 students), and a 45–55 male to female ratio, 86 percent of students said they had enough time to be in a monogamous relationship, or could find the time if they found the right person. 67 percent said they believed other students are looking for romantic relationships. And on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 indicating no interest in a monogamous relationship and 5 a strong desire to be in one, students settled in at 3.59 — not fiercely determined to be in one, but also not completely uninterested in the manner that Rosin and Taylor convey.

    For those who are keen on drawing the distinction between female and male interest (and it seems that many are — one respondent sounded off that “Men here are blind idiots”), it turns out that while the difference exists, it’s not statistically significant. The average interest in a serious relationship for girls is 3.70 and the average interest for boys 3.51 — not exactly an echoing and cavernous gap.

    The perception that these relationships are stigmatized at Yale seems similarly detached from reality. Seventy-five percent of respondents said any stigma surrounding relationships is entirely nonexistent. But respondents’ comments indicate that if there isn’t a stigma around being in a relationship, there may be one around looking for one.

    “[S]aying that you really want a relationship is seen as saying that you are not comfortable with yourself,” wrote one respondent. Another saw the difference as gendered. “I … get the sense that female students looking for relationships are considered ‘desperate’ … somehow pathetic or unfeminist, but men who want relationships are somehow sweet and mature.”

    Another opined that it’s much more difficult to be in a monogamous relationship in the gay community. “There is an annoying pushback among gay culture at Yale that claims bowing to monogamy is somehow equivalent to caving to heterosexual norms. It’s not. Who’s to say heterosexuals have the exclusive right to monogamy?”

    The data indicates that Rosin and Taylor’s narratives are largely sensationalized. Undoubtedly, the vast number of responses indicating that students hadn’t yet found the right people with whom to enter into a relationship align with Rosin’s women, almost all of whom seem to indicate that the men they’re surrounded by aren’t worth the time investment. But the female Yale and Penn undergraduates and Harvard Business School students Rosin and Taylor interviewed seem wholly uninterested.

    It’s easy to cherry pick anecdotes, but when looking at numbers en masse, a more nuanced narrative emerges — the very idea of a “culture” seems worth dropping. On the whole, Yale undergraduates are somewhat interested in being in monogamous relationships, and there’s not a statistically significant gendered difference.

    So why are 69 percent of Yalies still single?

    Ultimately, it’s not for lack of interest. And it’s not for fear of being stigmatized. As the majority of Yalies soberly indicated, it’s an answer far more simple, and one that even the traditional monogamous trends of days past could get behind: They just haven’t found the right person.

    “I wouldn’t want to have a romantic relationship with someone I’m not deeply in love with,” one surveyed student said.

    Meanwhile, in a crowded Bass Café, Reisner explains the flipside of that logic.

    “Have you thought about whether you’ll stay together after college?” she and Steinfeld are asked.

    There’s a slight hesitation. They look at each other, and Steinfeld gestures with a head nod, a taciturn mutual acknowledgment that Reisner will answer.

    “I just feel like if we like each other, we should be together.” Pause. Either thinking she hasn’t fully answered the question or just wants to add a follow-up, she says in a softer voice, “And we like each other, so we’re still together.”

    And with a lightness that belies their almost two-year relationship, they fist bump under the table.

  10. Squeezing You In

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    Last Friday night, I plonked myself down in Trumbull, where — good Yalie that I am — I was grabbing a meal with a friend. To be honest, I was feeling pretty grim about the whole thing. The dessert table had done a vanishing act, and when I’m promised brownies and get no brownies, I get sad instead. But it wasn’t the lack of desserts that really got on my proverbial tits that evening; it was something else, something that’s been bothering me for the past three years now. Something I don’t quite understand, and yet still find terribly depressing. And that something was the way my friend, as she was telling me about this new guy she was hooking up with, paused over her soup and added, almost proudly, “I’m just far too busy for a relationship right now.”

    To be fair to her, that’s a particular something we’ve all heard often before. We’ve heard it from friends and suitemates; lovers and strangers. Lots of us, given how often it’s bandied about, have been on its receiving end. And that sucks. It sucks to realize that you’re the last, most expendable tick on someone else’s To-Do List. It sucks to have a person you care about imply that, yeah, sure, they’d love to get around to loving you. But what with other pressing campus commitments — you know, like not doing their reading, bitching about their TF, pooping in other people’s laundry — they just don’t think they’ll be able to squeeze you in.

    This is a very Yale problem, I think. Nowhere in the real world do people say they’re too busy for a relationship. They say that they’re not ready for one or only looking for a bit of fun, that they’re moving away, that they’re still moving on. Fair enough. But no one says that they’re too overscheduled for a relationship. You know why? Because that would be ridiculous! It would be like saying that they’re too well-dressed to be dating someone else: just as self-aggrandizing and just as untrue.

    Yes, girl in Global Affairs with three leadership positions, it’s untrue for you. Yes, boy in a landed society who edits a major publication, that goes for you too. And believe it or not, YDN, this is a case in which you are not an exception.

    Each and every one of us on this campus, just like each and every person on this green earth, does in fact have time for a relationship. You know how I know that? Because I know that we all have to eat, walk places, drink coffee in Blue State, and — eventually — sleep. Well, guess what? All of these things can be done with another person! If you often do them with the same person, and you like that person, you can be dating! Problem solved. Plus, if you do all of those boring necessary things, and you’re dating, you can make out whilst doing them. Bonus points! It’s the romantic equivalent of getting a free gift when you buy your textbooks — and I know you like free gifts. (So do I, so in exchange for my having fixed everything, please send me some, c/o the WKND lounge.)

    Now, before you mistake me for that creepy snag-a-husband-at-Princeton lady, let me clear a few things up here. I’m not trying to say that a relationship should be the ultimate goal of your Yale experience, nor that trying to nab yourself a lady or gent should always be prioritized above the other amazing opportunities here. Plus, I know a lot of people don’t want to be dating anyone, thank you very much. That’s excellent! I’m glad you are not Bridget Jones, weeping into your Cherry Garcia in the wee hours. I salute you!

    I’m just saying that we do have time. We all have time. If you care enough about someone, you can always make the time. Sometimes — often — the problem is just that we don’t want to — but if so, then we should pull our heads out of our own backsides and just say it, rather than flattering ourselves at someone else’s expense.

    It’s that old chestnut about being good people. I know my friend is a kind, caring, considerate person, and so are most people here. But I also think it’s too easy at Yale to get caught in the whirlwind of worrying less about how we act, and more about how we measure up.

    Guys. That’s sad. Let’s not do that.

    Besides, trust me on this: if James Franco, even whilst he was acting, directing, teaching (and Ph.D.-ing on weekends) could find time to play the field at Yale, so can you.

  11. Love and Loss: Memorializing Emotion Through the Material Form

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    Chances are, you have never been to the Institute of Sacred Music’s Gallery for Sacred Arts. I, along with my dutiful companion, certainly hadn’t, and it seemed as though no one could even direct me (or maybe I’m just bad at remembering directions). But if you want to start exploring the extent of what the Yale arts community has to offer, I highly recommend taking the pilgrimage through the Divinity School’s heavenly quadrangle to visit the Gallery’s newest exhibit “All That Remains: Material Remembrances in Love and Loss.”

    The exhibit showcases the work of four artists who have created physical manifestations of their grief after the loss of a loved one. The Gallery is relatively small, its soft lighting and white walls providing the space’s only physical backdrop. Immediately upon entering the room, you are struck by the exhibit’s centerpiece: a 25-foot reclining, somber, inflatable Buddha, based off of the stone Buddha at Gal Vihara in Sri Lanka. The piece, Lewis deSoto’s Paranirvana (self-portrait), remains inflated by a fan. The fan is its only life-source, and every night when the exhibition closes, the fan is turned off. In this way, the sculpture undergoes the cycle of life and death every day, providing the most explicit embodiment of the exhibit’s larger theme.

    Six paintings, adorning the walls of the intimate space, tell the stories of human pain and recovery. While each piece encapsulates each respective artist’s personal — and perhaps a universal — struggle, one stands out in particular. In one piece by Rick Bartow, figures and fish bones emerge from a murky grey and blue background. The central figure grasps a supine body that seems to be floating away, perhaps into heaven, in spite of the harrowed protests of his loved ones. Another figure in the corner, a woman, bears the grizzled face of an animal, a depiction of her struggle to transcend the reality of human mortality. The painting is intensely emotional; and when viewed in light of the title “Give Me Back My Father,” the piece takes on an added layer, as the viewer is allowed a glimpse into the tender experience that Bartow seeks to convey.

    Though less of an intimate view of loss, Harry Fonseca’s “Stone Poem” seemed to express a more universal view of grief. Painted only in blue — the color of sadness — black, and white, the figure in the piece is painted both like a cave drawing and graffiti. This mixture of styles suggests the continuity of generations, but also the destruction of each as it is replaced by the next. Small crosses, reminiscent of gravestones, appear next to circles that seem to suggest, again, the cycle of life.

    Though the exhibit is small, the collection of seven pieces adequately fulfills the curator’s overall goal of exploring manifestations of grief in art. But for a message so powerful, it’s a shame that the exhibit finds itself constrained to such a small space — given the Gallery’s remote location, a larger exhibit would likely entice a larger audience. The exhibit truly left me wanting more, if only so that I could more easily recommend it to a friend with a free afternoon. Inevitably, for some, it may not merit the schlep.

    Overall, the exhibit succeeds in encapsulating likely the most complex human emotions of all: love and grief. For artists, it is difficult to imagine a more daunting task — capturing such platitudes through a convincing material form. But “All That Remains” does just this, albeit in fewer pieces than one might prefer. So if you aren’t up for the walk, jump on the blue line — it’s a ride well worth it.