September 12, 2002

M.M. Good

Print More

So. I am a senior and finally get to have my first, real, normal, college boyfriend. It’s a weird experience, but great, so far. I wonder though, what is normal? I consider our relationship to be normal because he calls me his girlfriend, I call him my boyfriend, we aren’t emotionally or physically attached to anyone else, we talk a lot, and we hang out together on the weekends, participate in activities not always involving parties or alcohol, inevitably ending up in bed together at the end of a night, and we wake up together the next morning without any awkwardness or loss of respect. We don’t just call one another to get laid, nor do we spend every waking moment together as if we were married.

Most of the people I know at Cornell don’t operate as do me and my boyfriend. This is what I’ve found usually happens here on the East Hill: you’re stridently religious or have your face buried in an orgo book 24/7 and thus a sexual relationship is totally out of the question, you hook up with one or any number of people without any sort of emotional commitment, or, should you momentarily find yourself without your spouse, uh, significant other, it takes only a phone call before they are at your side, where they belong and have been as long as any of your friends can remember.

The concept of dating seems totally foreign to me, both as something I do and something I see happening around here. Granted, I’ve been in Trillium and heard really done up girls with ubiquitous Prada bags and fake tans talking about “dates” they’ve gone on with whom I would assume to be similarly appointed guys, but I have a feeling the ceremony of “dates” here are reserved for really done up girls with ubiquitous Prada bags and fake tans. Most of the people I know have met their boyfriends or girlfriends in their dorms, at work, in class, or through friends, and got to know each other in those contexts enough that they wanted to pursue a relationship, and have done so in a mellow, hang-out-and-watch-a-movie sort of way, not a take-a-date-to-John-Thomas situation. As for hookups, I can safely say we can thank parties and bars for taking care of us there.

I will admit though, I have dated, albeit unsuccessfully. I met this guy at a party. He asked for my number, which I yielded. And then he called. So we went out, his treat. I wasn’t too attracted to him, but attraction comes slowly to me, so I didn’t let that stop me from going out on another date with him. We went out a couple more times at his suggestion, and since he had a disposable income and I didn’t, I let him pay for the most part, sometimes I picked up dessert. I did what I could, you know? Eventually, I got really busy with the two jobs I was working, and our dates devolved into me sitting at my computer trying to do work and him lounging on my bed vying for my attention, and me getting annoyed every time he’d try to distract me. Eventually, since I never wanted to go out to dinners I couldn’t pay for and he never wanted to sit on my bed and talk while I did work, we stopped calling each other.

For a while, I felt bad about that whole situation, because he really was a nice kid and I didn’t want to hurt him, but I just didn’t have time for the relationship building that was necessary. None of us do. That’s why we accept relationships without any sort of emotional attachment, or conversely, become so attached we don’t have to worry about setting up a date with a significant other, because we know we’ll see them in the near future. As for me and my boy, I can only hope we manage to find a happy medium between chill chillin’ and hot lovin’.

Archived article by M.M.