Moderately Good Advice with Gardner and Kate
By Gardner Davis And Kate Taylor, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, January 11, 2013
Dear Gardner and Kate,
I’ve spent the last seven weeks sunbathing in California and am now preparing for my first winter in Hanover. Do you have any helpful tips on how to stay warm when it’s so cold?
— Frostbitten Freddie ’16
Gardner: As I’m sure you’ve discovered over the past five days, winter in Hanover is crappy. I know your tour guide made some off-the-cuff joke about snowball fights when explaining that we hardly notice winter. That was a lie. If you can’t spend all your time singing a song by the fire and must leave your dorm, you should get acquainted with all the buildings on campus. While it can make your trip longer, cutting through buildings is without a doubt the best way to stay warm on campus. I bet you never realized that you can walk from South Mass to Moore almost entirely in the bliss of central heating. If you plan your trip accordingly, you can even pick up some hot tea along the way.
Kate: Much to my mother’s despair, winter brings out my natural cocooning-as-fashion tendencies. I will be wearing a disturbing number of layers: natural body hair, fleece leggings, sleeping bag-esque parka, liquor jacket. For those who say I should be making an effort to appear “attractive,” all I have to say is that I’ve been told the 15 minutes it takes to undress just adds to the suspense. Plus, the uncertainty about what lies beneath adds an air of drama to the whole situation... like a murder mystery!
I’ve finally gotten to know a couple of older guys on campus and occasionally get on table. The problem is that I’m terrible at pong. Do you have any tips on how to get better?
— Unconfident Ulysses ’16
Gardner: Since I am not good at pong, I can’t offer any advice on how to get better. Luckily, I have spent three years pretending to be moderately good at pong. The most basic principle of pretending to be good is not looking stupid. This starts with not getting overly competitive. While pong is exciting, I can’t think of a scenario outside of sophomore summer where it would be appropriate to seriously celebrate loudly against people you don’t know very well. This extends to throwing or knocking over anything in anger. Another topic that relates to not looking stupid is celebrations. Your celebration should never take more than three seconds. Ideally it would be a quick pound. Act like you’ve been there before. Unless you’re playing with someone you’re trying to hook up with and who, for some reason, is into that stuff, your celebration should be one fluid motion. Check back next week for more advanced tips.
The boy I was hooking up with in the fall is off but told me that he was “really excited to see me again in the spring.” Does this mean we’re dating and I shouldn’t pursue anyone else?
— Lovelorn Lucy ’16
Kate: You know what I’m really excited to see again in the spring? Sundresses. Gelato. Mimosas. Does that mean that I am refusing to enjoy the pleasures of sweaters, intramural hockey and scotch? Hell no. To quote Queen Bey, “if he liked it then he should have put a ring on it.” Demand a wedding immediately, and invite me. I have a dress picked out already. Or, more reasonably, remain on the prowl and see how the cookie crumbles in 13S.
Dear Gardner and Kate,
I’ve been reading the column all fall and really like it. I’m coming back to campus after a long time away. What are some ways that I can get students to like me?
— Phil ’77
Gardner: It is sometimes said that just being there is enough. In your case, that could not be more true. If you really want to over-achieve, try to establish a rapport with students and let us think that we matter to you. It may sound crazy, but maybe consider shaking students’ hands instead of giving them only an impersonal fist bump.
I will also suggest one thing that could immediately win over all of campus: full-size beds in each dorm. Imagine every student laying down in bed each night and thinking, “Wow, I’m so glad Phil came back.” I’m not sure if you remember your twin “XL” bed, but it is mediocre at best when sleeping alone and unbearable if you ever have a sleepover. Even better, I think 3200 new beds will be less expensive than a Health Care Delivery Center, whatever that is.
Kate: Dartmouth students are surprisingly easy to please. First, follow the rule of every freshly recognized COSO organization and give them food. I am not going to venture across the green to your welcome reception for “light refreshments,” sir. Second, make yourself meme-able. In the age of generally less-than-positive views in regards to ex-President Kim, few remember the golden days when shirts with Kim’s face and the word “BO$$” were a must-have fashion item. Start an underground marketing campaign. Approach Stinson’s for a partnership, and watch your approval rating climb as your face becomes ubiquitous in the basement. Paddles, balls, cups — the options are limitless, and could probably beef up the endowment.
I got a warm coat for Christmas but I’m worried about wearing it when I go out. What should I do to keep it safe?
— Cautious Cornelia ’15
Gardner: While I don’t have any secret advice on the intricacies of the Dartmouth coat trade, I do have a few suggestions to tip the odds in your favor. First, write your name and phone number in your new coat. Even someone who is a malicious thief when cold at night will probably have the decency to return your jacket to the Collis info desk the next morning. More importantly, don’t be an idiot. If this new coat was $600, then you should never leave it unattended on a bench by the doorway. You also probably won’t impress anyone by wearing it out in Hanover.