Moderately Good Advice with Gardner and Kate
By Gardner Davis And Kate Taylor, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, February 15, 2013
Dear Gardner and Kate,
How can I let someone know that I’m interested in them without coming on too strong?
— Fiona Freshman ’16
Gardner: You may not believe this, but there was a time not that long ago when this wasn’t a problem at all. Then flitzing died. It was a slow death that started with the appearance of cell service in the Upper Valley and concluded with the fact that we now live in a terrifying place where over half of campus has never used old (read: the real) blitz. At one point, a series of blitzes, which you probably know as “emails,” could easily escalate from “What’s the reading for class tomorrow?” to “Yeah let’s definitely play pong after meetings tonight” with both parties seeming completely indifferent. The trick: always end a blitz with a question. It keeps the conversation going without making you seem like you are coming on too strong. It’s never too late to try it out.
Kate: Unfortunately, I’m still seeking ways to fill the void that flitzing has left in my heart. I can only tell you what not to do. Don’t triple — or, even worse, quadruple — text. In the texts you do send, don’t abuse smiley faces. If seeking someone in a fraternity, limit the times you stare at them as they play pong with other people. Stop asking them why they’re single, or telling them how much you’d like to take someone like them home to your mother. Don’t continually ask your mutual friends to set you up for every possible event where you could conceivably bring a date. Don’t laugh maniacally at things they say that aren’t funny. Never venture into someone’s room while they are sleeping. No, not even to declare your love at four in the morning. In all seriousness, no rational man or woman would take a straightforward request for lunch or dinner as anything but complimentary. And please, ask over blitz. Continued commitment to flitzing is one old tradition that cannot fail.
Dear Gardner and Kate,
I ran out of meal swipes this week and swiped in using DBA Sunday night. Does it seem reasonable to you that a FoCo dinner meal swipe is $13.95?
— Swiped-out Suzie ’15
Gardner: At times, Dartmouth students see DBA as something they are forced to buy and need to get rid of and forget that it is actually real money. I’m going to list things that you could get for the same amount of money within a five minute walk and you can decide if this seems fair: a Murph Burger, two 12-packs of Shipyard Pumpkinhead at Stinsons, an original Boloco burrito with a milkshake, three pounds of chicken breast from the Co-op Food Store or six minutes and 31 seconds of your 10A. So unless you row heavyweight crew team or play a contact sport, it probably isn’t reasonable.
Kate: The only days I don’t feel physically and emotionally dissatisfied leaving FoCo is when I am provided with a quality “World View” item, perogies, chocolate chip banana bread and some classy pizza with goat cheese. However, the vast majority of the time, $13.95 is just not giving me that. Thus, I provide an alternate scheme for dealing with the issue. Leaving FoCo, stuff a bunch of fresh mozzarella in your to-go container, backpack or clothing to resell on the thriving cheese black market in Norwich. People start to get a little desperate for their lactose fix when it’s not farmers’ market season in these parts.
Are you going to be here for the next 20 minutes? Great, can you watch my stuff?
— Acquaintance Alice ’13
Gardner: I can definitely watch your stuff if you’re going to be gone for 20 minutes. However, if you’re actually going back to your dorm, the gym, FoCo and a meeting for your group project, I will not watch your stuff. While you may find this form of “holding table” acceptable, I refuse to condone your actions, as you are the reason that I can never get a seat in the Periodicals when I arrive at the reasonable hour of 2 p.m. on Sunday.
I just got broken up with by someone I wasn’t dating. What?
— Super Single Sally ’14
Kate: If you were my friend, I would respond to this question with “Oh my God, that’s absurd, he/she had a really weird last name/pair of eyebrows/ex-girlfriend anyway.” However, even my general suspicions of everyone who doesn’t want to date my friends cannot blind me to the fact that this just demonstrates the lose-lose nature of terminating non-relationships at Dartmouth. Telling someone face-to-face that whatever you have is finished is preferable to leaving them in limbo that will only be resolved when they see you publicly making out with someone else. All I can say to you, Sally, is that you need to realize the awkward kindness of the gesture. Also, try to answer in a way that shows just how nonchalant you are by the whole thing. I suggest, “Is that all you wanted to talk about?” accompanied by a placid smile.
Dear Gardner and Kate,
I have a bunch of final papers and projects that I know I need to work on. But, I just can’t. Can you help?
— Procrastinating Peter ’14
Gardner: I’ll suggest a few strategies that I’ve tried to avoid procrastination. You can set “mini-deadlines” along the way and then ignore them because deep down you know they aren’t real. You could install self-control on your computer, then waste time on websites you never knew existed. Hopefully the thought of how miserable your finals period will be can goad you into action, but beyond that I’m also trying to figure this out.
Kate: I actually put off trying to answer this until a day after the column was due, so no. Sorry, Pete.
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