This is a Story of Boy Meets Girl
By Natalie Van Brunt, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, January 25, 2013
Remember being younger and watching sitcoms on TV, imagining the moment when you were going to be grown up and live an exciting life like the characters? You’d rock that scrunchie, have your very own telephone line and most importantly, spend your weekends gussying up for an endless string of perfect dates. If Kimmie Gibbler and a chick named Topanga could get guys to take them somewhere respectable every weekend, clearly you’d be able to swing the same, right?
Then the years passed, and you discovered that this nice little dating scene was a devious fabrication of the entertainment industry, and your Friday nights were not going to include red roses, good night porch kisses or even legitimate conversation. Fictitious dates had completely poisoned your mind, leaving you with fantasy ideas that had no bearing on reality. And now, even though you know in your heart that IKEA employees don’t actually let you make out in the beds and that any date that takes place at this furniture store will just leave you bickering over Swedish meatballs, a tiny piece of you is still holding out for that playful romp through floor displays from “500 Days of Summer.”
For those still fixated on a spaghetti-strand sharing, “In Your Eyes” boombox-playing, passionate rain-kissing date, we’re here to help you move on. It’s a long-awaited reality check on the expectations vs. reality of dating at Dartmouth:
Expectation: The cute guy from your 9L starts to strike up conversations with you before and after class. He is genuinely interested in your hopes, dreams and how much you enjoyed your waffle that morning. He casually sends you a blitz looking for a study partner for the midterm and asks if you would be so kind as to have dinner.
Reality: The cute guy from your 9L does not acknowledge your presence at any time before, during or after class. You encounter him one weekend in a basement where he drunkenly calls you something that is not your name, then attempts to make out with you in a mob of people spilling beer and stepping on your toes. He casually sends you a Blitz the next morning asking if you’ve seen his lost coat.
Expectation: 9L guy comes by your building around 6 pm on Friday night. You look incredible, because you miraculously found a dress at Bella that didn’t cost as much as your meal plan. It’s a lovely 60 degrees out, so you take a stroll around the Green to pass the time. Eventually, he leads you over to Market Table and compliments your shoes as you sit down.
Reality: (In truth, you’re actually pretty lucky if you get to this step. There’s about a 95 percent chance that your “dating” encounters don’t move past the first meeting. For the sake of the article, let’s say you’re really lucky and have more than one interaction.) After responding that you do actually have Mr. 9L’s jacket, he says you could meet him for dinner between 8 and 8:30 at FoCo to give it back. As you try to get ready to leave you notice it’s five degrees outside and are forced hide anything cute or flattering you might be wearing under a sweater and a parka. You shiver your way over and notice you’re wearing the same Bean boots as you sit down.
Expectations: He is fully engaged the entire meal, laughs at the right times and doesn’t ask for ketchup to go on his steak. He never once takes out his phone and is solely fixated on you. After a long, leisurely dinner, he recalls you mentioning a love of gelato and escorts you to Morano. They’re serving both Nutella and cookie.
Reality: The majority of your dinner is spent in silence, and the only responses he does give are “cool,” “yeah” and “word.” It’s necessary that he Instagram his chicken nugget stir-fry. When he said he could meet between 8 and 8:30, he actually meant that he only had a half an hour and leaves after he inhales his dinner. You decide to console yourself by passing by the dessert line on the way out. He takes the last cookie.
Expectation: After a very long evening of sincere discussion and coy flirtation, he walks you back in still 60 degree weather. There are immediate follow-up blitzes, and you live happily ever after. Cue romantic sound track music.
Reality: You walk back home alone in what is now negative 25-degree weather. He does not speak to you again until the next weekend, when he sees you in another basement and shouts another incorrect name at you. Cue trashy bump and grind music.
This may be disheartening, but we’re only trying to bring you back down to earth. While every student is fully aware of our “toxic hook-up culture,” it’s still easy to walk around with our head in the clouds, thinking that we are the exception to the rule.
However, it’s far better to keep your wild ideas about a dream date in check and be pleasantly surprised when one lives above your expectations instead of being clubbed in the face with reality.
Calm that imagination and embrace the realities of Dartmouth dating. Maybe, just maybe, you can find a happy medium and someone willing to share a single strand of shrimp linguini with you on that FoCo date.