July 2, 2007

The Death of the Date

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Let’s get one thing straight: I love the guys at Cornell. I adore them. In fact, despite my stories about men in my life that don’t quite do it for me, I get really defensive when girls whine about the crappiness of Cornell dating scene. It especially pisses me off when girls use their precious crossword-adjacent Sun real estate to bitch about how romance has died along with the traditional date.

Memo to you: your life is not a Herman Wouk novel or an Audrey Hepburn movie. Furthermore, the guys you’re surrounded with at Cornell, for the most part, are not awful. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that any time you’re losing faith in them, five minutes of browsing the Craigslist personals section will be enough to snap you right back to reality. As a student here, you have access to thousands of guys that are mostly well-read and pre-screened for intelligence (albeit not necessarily for maturity, but you can’t win ‘em all) and they’re all neatly packed into 5.5 square-mile area for your convenience…so what the hell are you complaining about? Girlfriends, let’s have a little chat.

“What ever happened to the date?” Not a damn thing. You’re in college. I might know why you’re not getting asked out on dates, though, so keep reading.

“Why do guys always ask me to come over and watch a movie at 1 a.m.?” Well, I’m going to go ahead and venture a guess here: probably because they want to have sex with you. At the very least, it means you’re a hottie. Take it as a compliment and consider it your cue to dab on a little lip gloss and make kissy faces at yourself in the mirror, you sassy minx.

“But why won’t he just take me out to dinner?” Because dinner costs money, buttercup. If he doesn’t ask you on a date (or at least make the effort to talk to you online for more than five minutes before asking you to come over for said movie [sex]), then he’s likely just not that into you. Or he’s an asshole. These things happen. If he doesn’t care why you chose Cornell over Northwestern or how much you miss your cat, he’s not going to relinquish his precious time and money to hear about it at the Boatyard. He probably won’t care about that stuff after you have sex with him either, just so you know. Well, that is unless he made the extra special effort to Facebook-stalk you to see what your favorite movie is and then invited you over to watch it—in that situation, maybe he’s just awkward or is acutely aware that his table manners will repulse you in a hot second so he doesn’t want to eat around you. But no, in most of these cases, he just wants to eat you.

But take note! For every guy who asks you over for sex at 1 a.m., there is probably a guy living next door that would totally leave flowers on your doorstep just to make you smile. Or a guy who would send you a really sweet text message before a bad prelim or bring you coffee in the middle of the night just because he knew you’d be up studying. It’s not unheard of. It’s even happened to me, believe it or not.

But sure. Be bitter, ladies. I mean, I feel you—I’ve had my share of traumatizing experiences with boys here. I’ve been groped like an 8th grader, I’ve been rejected, I’ve been stalked, and I’ve been dumped in a spectacular fashion. I’ve been asked into a relationship via Facebook and have been on a couple of dates so awful that I’d probably rather have spent those evenings watching birth control commercial marathons with my father (by the way, isn’t that fucking awkward when you and your dad are sitting there and a Yasmin ad comes on? No? Just Me? O.K.) I’ve been where you are. But don’t you think the experiences Cornell guys have had with us have been just as cringe-worthy?

Think about the times you’ve rejected someone, whether it was the grad student who offered to buy you a G&T at Rulloff’s or the sweet but dorky guy on your dorm floor who asked you to join him for coffee at Libe Café. How many times have you forced a guy to carry the conversation as he tried desperately to get to know you? Maybe you’ve led a guy on when you’ve had a boyfriend or hooked up with someone on a booze-soaked fraternity floor (hey, we were all freshmen once). You’re sketchy, too, you know, and sometimes you’re really not that nice. For example, I know I’ve been a total bitchbag for no reason. Like the time I woke up with a guy, both of us hung over with total cotton-mouth, and I refused to share my Diet Coke with him. He looked all sad-puppy at me as I guzzled the one non-alcoholic liquid in my house and I rather enjoyed it, to be honest. He did not ask me to go to brunch with him, presumably because I was a bitch.

Then there are the bars. There are few things more intimidating to a dude than a group of five or six of us in our cute tops and killer heels. Then there’s you with your cell phone out, furiously texting someone else and looking entirely unapproachable. For that guy in your Italian class who recognizes you but has never spoken to you, it takes some platinum-grade balls to saunter up to you and strike up a conversation while you’re like this. So, you know, maybe you should applaud him for his confidence instead of assuming he’s a total sack of semen who just wants to splooge on your face. Maybe he wanted to ask you out on a date? Too bad you just shut him down with that half-assed smile before you turned to your friends and started throwing around some fraternity names. Come on, Cornell guys don’t whine about us, and they’re generally pretty nice to us. Hell, they’re some of the luckiest guys in the world — they’re surrounded by some of the most talented, ambitious beautiful college women in the country … but they know that, I’m sure.

Sisters, Cornell guys don’t suck. Put down your vat of Tasti for 30 seconds and just think about what I’m saying. I’m certainly not the hottest girl at this school, but I have been asked out on dates because I’m friendly, carry myself with confidence and I love to laugh. You can’t blame them for not asking you out if you’re complaining all the time — who wants to be in the (sober) company of a bitter chick? If the Cornell girl whines about how the Cornell guy never asks her on dates, then the Cornell guy will spend his time not asking her out on dates because she’s being a whiny bitch. Got that?

So here’s today’s dating tip (something that may land you an actual date and not just some ween): put on your cute earrings and your pretty smile and try being nice, friendly and open-minded. It really is that simple.

  • Anonymous

    What a refreshingly well-written and honest column. Keep it up.

  • Anonymous

    When I was a student at Cornell (graduated in 2004) I thought Cornell dating was about as bad as it got. When I entered the wonderful world of real-world dating, you have to come to grips with actually having to screen people based upon such simple facts that the Cornell admissions department already took care of for you. Then you start finding guys that (1) don’t have a good job (2) don’t have a car (3) dropped out of college (4) still live with mommy. It’s kinda sad to realize not everyone on this planet went to an ivy league school and you have to start dealing with people that just want a meal ticket. So, take advantage of your time there as much as possible.

  • Anonymous ’06

    Bravo. I graduated a couple of years ago, sure that dating would be “so much easier” outside of Cornell when you actually met “real guys” not just hook up buddies in bars. Wrong. Now I’m forced to meet guys in bars who are nowhere near as intelligent, motivated, conversational or interesting as any guys at Cornell, and I spend most of my time comparing them to my guy friends at Cornell who I now realize I was an idiot not to appreciate more. Cornell guys are great, even if their idea of a college date is coffee or happy hour, I promise you’ll have a better time with them (if you let yourself) than the idiots who never could have gotten into our fine ivy league institution.

  • memphismom

    you are so heads and shoulders above the last 2 “relationship” columnists – great job…I sent this to my pre-frosh d who loved it enough that she copied all her high school gf’s before they head off to various collegetowns this fall.

  • Anonymous

    Bra-VO!