Bring Whitman dating back

by Lauren Adler
STAFF WRITER

Scenario One: Saturday night, you, drink in hand, stand in the doorway of some frat party. You are approached by an attractive generic blonde person. You both settle onto a red corduroy couch held together by duct tape in the corner of some bedroom and start to flirt and wink and wiggle at each other (it’s okay, we all do it). Sparks fly.

Numbers are exchanged, a call is made two or three days later (it’s a rule, you know) and a meeting at Starbucks turns into a meeting at Noah’s Bagels the next day, which turns into the Cheesecake Factory four days later. And all of a sudden, while you lift a piece of Oreo Supreme Cheesecake to your mouth, the blonde casually drops that he/she is into rooster worship. Red lights flash, sirens scream. Get out now. After a polite kiss-on-the-cheek and a hurried “we should do this again,” it’s over. You never see that rooster-lover again. Whew.

Scenario Two: Saturday night, you, drink in hand, stand in the doorway of the TKE house. You are approached by an attractive generic blonde person: oh wait, he is not generic, he is a guy from your International Politics class last year. Whatever. You both settle onto a red corduroy couch held together by duct tape in the corner of some bedroom and start to flirt and inconspicuously graze arms. You talk about, you know,
global warming or Birkenstocks, the usual.

Sparks fly. No need to exchange numbers, you will undoubtedly see him at Prentiss brunch the next morning. After “hanging out” with him a few times (not called dates, mind you), he casually drops that he has a collection of shower-drain hair in his desk drawer. Warning! Run away! But to where?

Suddenly, after you bid him a good night for what you hope is the last time ever, he begins to appear everywhere you are: Reid, the table behind you at the library, crossing Ankeny the exact minute you are. All of his friends know all of your friends who know all of their friends, and everyone knows all of everything about you and Mr. Hairball. “So I heard you and Hairball are hanging out.” “So what is going on with you and Hairball? I saw you two talking last night.” “So I heard you dumped Hairball, he is really upset, you should talk to him. Hey, weird, here he comes.”

Scenario One is normal college dating. Scenario Two should sound familiar. Welcome to Whitman.

If any of you have tried dating at this school, you will know exactly what I mean. There seems to be no balance between just “hooking up” and a serious relationship. Those hooking up desperately try not so resort to labels such as “girlfriend” or “boyfriend.” And, on the other hand, those in relationships are joined at the hip. What exactly is that creepy percentage of Whitties who marry other Whitties? I don’t even want to know, frankly. It’s terrifying. You could end up at the altar with that greasy-haired kid from Core who manages to say “frankly, in my opinion,” 28 times in one class session.

And how can this imbalance be helped? You see the person everywhere. There are only 1,400 people enrolled at Whitman. There are seven dormitories, four academic buildings, two dining halls, and one main campus center. It is convenient to skip right over the formality of dating.
“I feel like people who party more, date less,” said first-year Hong-Nhi Do. “Because there are so many parties on campus, it is really easy just to hook up with someone instead of going through the process of a date.”

Sophomore Jordan Fitzgerald observed, “It is so easy to spend the night together. One night you hook up, one night you sleep over, and then…why not the next night? And the next…and the next.…”

Whitman’s teensy student body may make it difficult, but I propose we break this strange habit. This is an all-campus call to bring dating back.