Moderately Good Advice with Gardner and Kate
By Gardner Davis And Kate Taylor, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, February 8, 2013
Dear Gardner and Kate,
Last week’s column seemed so weird. I read the first half and stopped. Why so melodramatic?
— Regular Reader Rhonda ’13
Gardner: Sometimes we feel the need to write with flowery metaphorical language when answering your questions. Actually, we never feel the need to do that. As a regular reader, you should know better. I implore you to go back and read the rest of last week’s column, as what you chose not to read may have been the best semi-original content we’ve ever produced.
Kate: And yes, we included this question just so we could self-promote how much we liked last week’s column. It’s all downhill from here.
I’ve noticed that most of the attractive girls in my class aren’t interested in me and pay more attention to older guys. What am I doing wrong?
— Freddie Freshman ’16 Gardner: Don’t worry, Freddie, there’s a good chance that you’re not doing anything wrong. You have a problem that afflicts many Dartmouth students, known as being a freshman boy. I won’t attempt to identify the root causes that lead to this problem, but I will tell you that it gets better. Keep waiting out those lines of four and telling yourself that those same girls will one day come to you looking for that same affection that they’re currently denying you. It may not be true, but we all need something to believe in.
Dear Gardner and Kate,
A guy whom I like recently took me to dinner at FoCo. Is this a date?
— Confused Carla ’15
Gardner: While it’s tempting to reject this idea immediately, I’ll explore the variation within FoCo dinners that could lead to classification as a date. If you sat on varsity side, or the dark side as some call it, it was definitely not a date. It’s nearly impossible to get to know someone when you have to step over 10 backpacks and squeeze between the men’s crew team and the women’s lacrosse team before you even sit down. JV side is a grey area. If you were at a high table, then date status depends on the ratio of time you awkwardly sat while your “date” got food versus the time you spent conversing. Dinner in the NARP castle definitely qualifies as a date. It offers peace and quiet in rooms that most of campus doesn’t know exist. Also, if he surprised you with a churro at any point during dinner, it was definitely a date.
Kate: The only way that I would say a FoCo date is definitively romantic is if you are two very lonely freshmen or if he aggressively forced the DDS employee to swipe his card twice — one meal swipe and one DBA. If you did have a double swiper, refuse all future FoCo advances because you do not want to date this person. In general, a person who believes that FoCo is the best place to have a DDS-sponsored date is not someone you should be dating. FoCo has all the facetime and eavesdropping potential of KAF, while terminating the possibility for friendly loitering. It lacks the bro-y nonchalance of the Hop and the hook-up convenience of the East Wheelock snack bar. I will not even dignify it with a comparison to Collis, because even in its current diminished state such tomfoolery should never besmirch the pages of The Mirror.
I’ve been “spending a lot of time” with a guy this term, but I’m not really sure on our relationship status. What should I expect for Valentines Day?
— Desperate Danielle ’14
Kate: Since I am not sure if “spending time with” for you means drunk makeouts or acting as his plus-one for Lou’s with his parents, I can’t conclusively predict what your V-Day will hold. You should probably just try to rid yourself of any expectations. Relax and stop flinching whenever someone mentions “Valentines,” “single’s awareness day” or “chocolate.” Alternatively, you could take action. I assume you, like most Dartmouth students, are cripplingly afraid of rejection and are terrified of being seen as the more invested half of the your non-relationship. Sadly, since Valentine’s Day falls on a Thursday, you can’t frame the date as a casual Friday night dinner because you’re “tired of FoCo.” Instead, find or create some sort of holiday deal that you can take advantage of. The scene you create at Molly’s when they refuse your photoshopped Valentine’s Day coupon will help get your first instance of public humiliation out of the way early.
Dear Gardner and Kate,
One of my friends is trying to convince me to do the Polar Bear Swim with him. Should I do it?
— Chilly Charles ’15 Gardner: While the decision is up to you, the answer is no. Natural selection has spent hundreds of thousands of years getting rid of people, like your friend, who think it is a good idea to jump through the ice and into the water of a frozen pond. Your friend will probably make some dumb statement like, “Come on, when are you ever going to do something like this?” Please respond, “Never, because I’m a normal person and not a moron like you.” Still, there are two groups of people who will decide to take the plunge and join the ranks of morons everywhere. The first, more heavily represented group is freshmen who want a new profile picture to show their friends from home how cool and hard they are for going to school in New Hampshire. The second are seniors, who buy into the idea that you need to do outlandish things while still in college. You, Charles, fall into neither of these groups so the choice should be clear.
Kate: I will fully admit to falling into the second group Gardner has outlined above. I’m not too brainwashed by four years at Dartmouth to deny that the Polar Bear Swim is a terrible idea. However, I would argue that the most poorly thought out decisions make the best stories. In all honesty, the Polar Bear Swim isn’t a great story — wow, tell me again how cold the water was! — but it’s nice to have in the arsenal. Also, Rauner Library saves a lot of the pictures, so I want some kid who has my job there in 30 years to be faced with my very pale bikinied self when putting together exhibits.
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