First dates for seniors

Madeline Kemp

Anthropology: Bird Bathing

You know that there are many ways, no wrong way in fact, for humans to connect, and Professor Blavascunas taught you to explore the boundaries of your bipedal frame and culturally conventional frames of mind. For a date with cross-species flair that pushes societal norms, take an afternoon to lounge in the massive bird bath in front of the Hunter Conservatory. The fountain is sitting there on Boyer, calling your name, and it’s conveniently chlorinated for human use! While splashing around may seem a bit exhibitionist, as a career observer this is a fantastic opportunity to be seen for a change. 


Art: Graze 

Someday you may paint portraits or craft beautiful things with this person, but for your first date you get to enjoy the art of sandwich-making. Get cozy at a table in the cramped ‘Place to Eat’ on Colville, or pick them up in your probably old and eclectic car to hit the Drive-Thru on Ninth. Feeling generous? Throw in a kombucha and some chips. You’ll probably talk about literally any random thing that comes to your mind, and that’s okay. You’re an art major, you’re automatically a little cool and very dangerous whether you’re the overly confident type or a more reserved creative. Most people will put up with you however you come because no one is excited to admit in the face of art that…they just don’t get it. 


Art History & Visual Culture: Walk

Going for a walk feels innocent enough, but it’s also an opportune time to talk about architecture. Walla Walla is full of bizarre buildings and whimsical homes which you use to your full advantage. You won’t have to worry about conversation running dry, at any given moment it’s likely you can look up and comment on the structure you’re passing. You don’t have to tell them that there is an entire Art History course on the historical architecture of Walla Walla, or that you took it and aced it sophomore year – just act like you somehow know these fun facts organically because you are incredibly observant and interesting. 


Asian & Middle Eastern Studies: Coffee

At the risk of drawing straight from The Nutcracker, a coffee date is classic and apt for anyone who appreciates the craft of good qaHwa. As is done in cafés across the Arab World, sit and people watch and chat the afternoon away on this first date. Yes, be sure to order a straight double shot of espresso in the afternoon, to show how raw and tasteful you are, to sip slowly until the caffeine still overcomes you. They may have ordered a latté or tea to take it easy, but now the conversation is sure to be on fire. Keep thinking about it into the night when the coffee keeps you up hours past your bedtime. 


Astronomy: Hall of Science Rooftop

You lucky astro-heads occasionally possess the ultimate romantic secret weapon: access to the roof of the science building (and knowing your way around a massive telescope). Horoscopes may mean horse shit to you, but the stars will still play a major role in your date night. Show your date literally anything magnified in the sky, and they will cherish the experience and your company for at least a month or so. Your field is the most poetic of the sciences, so easily romanticized without requiring an abundance of creativity. It’s all numbers and vectors and business to you, but what your date sees is the way you calibrate those lenses. Just make sure you don’t get carried away in the explanations, star-gazer, and bring an extra jacket or blanket so no one gets chilly up there. 


BBMB: Study room

You’re not messing around here, and since your major is already like three or four majors rolled into one, you’re fantastic at multitasking – or struggling, but doing your very best. Hide the fact that you’re constantly hanging on by your very last thread, and invite your crush to the study room you’ve reserved in the library. Opening your books and pretending to study is the only way you’ll allow yourself to procrastinate. Rather than studious productivity, if the ‘date’ goes well, you’re talking the whole time. After another trip to renew the study room key, you’re resigned to the fact that you will not absorb the next textbook chapter through osmosis, and try to make the most of your private room for purposes other than studies. 


Biology: Foraging

Nothing is steamier than mycology. Bring your date to the wilderness and stumble around for fungi for a while. This can eat up an entire afternoon. If you’re lucky enough to actually score some shrooms, well then dinner is served. However, your odds of scoring more that evening have just plummeted. Who is DTF after dining on nothing but cooked mushrooms? No matter how deliciously you prepare them, a tummy full of fungi is not an ideal aphrodisiac. At this point you have spent a lot of the day together, so maybe you can kiss another time when you both no longer smell like damp earth from the inside out. 


Chemistry: Cooking

If you’ve made it to senior year, hopefully you’ve figured out that the kitchen is a whole lot like a laboratory. While your peers in other fields are still burning quesadillas and microwaving ramen in their off-campus homes, when you have a spare moment you can really dazzle with nearly any culinary creation. At first you may lack confidence, but once you begin approaching recipes with the precision and intuition you bring to experiments, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Swap the coat, goggles, and closed-toed shoes for an apron with a spicy line on the front (“Kiss the Cook” is, of course, a classic) and prepare a dish to wow your date, 


Classics: Toga Party

Sorry, it has to be togas. Usually, the fraternity throwing a “Greek themed” party would leave you rolling your eyes, but after a long day of reading errotic ancient texts, Catallus have left you thoroughly hot and bothered. While no one appreciates dead languages the way you do, everyone has a bed sheet. People diss Classics all the time as a dying field but you know what? Only a select few, the Classics majors, really understand how freaky things could be back in the good ol days, and are ready to rise to this occasion. You’re rocking absolutely nothing beneath your expertly-tied toga, ready to kick off your gladiator sandals at a moment’s notice. Make Sappho and Sulpicia proud. You’ve got tricks up your sleeve like no one has seen in centuries. 


Computer Science: “Hey, I can hook up your laptop to GoPrint.”  

If you possess even a sliver of self-awareness, you know the hottest move in your repertoire is assisting a desperate peer in Intro to Computational Problem Solving. The CS lab is always filled with a sort of palpable tension – typically stress and frustration – but it’s getting late and this is your moment to shine. You think it’s kind of cute how they struggle over their basic programming assignments, saunter over and lean one shoulder toward their screen. “Caesar Cipher, you said? Oh, that one’s pretty tricky, but I swear once you’ve got it, it’s probably the second most satisfying feeling ever.” You have to leave them guessing… what’s the first most satisfying feeling?…which you hope to show them later. 


Economics: Old Fashioned

Our fiscally responsible friend, you are taking your crush on a full blown dinner date, and it’s obvious that you’ve put a lot of thought into your outfit. We’re not talking TMACs, or Passatempo, but somewhere stuffy and sit-down and a little lighter on the wallet. El Sombrero seems promising and you’re always up for a good marg. To your dismay, the drink menu does not include prices, and you will spend the rest of the meal distractedly wondering what the total will be. When the food falls short of but the bill exceeds your expectations (separate checks, it is 2021 for goodness’ sake), you simply cannot help but say something to the server, which you’ll tell yourself is coming across as confidence and bravado. On the way out, your date lets you know that you have salsa on the crotch of your pants and the evening ends immediately thereafter. 


English: Cigarettes

After a long evening lecture, any self-respecting English major must unwind with a cigarette. Flaunt this to your date; smoking makes you effortlessly hot like the 1950s Beat Poet you not-so-secretly strive to be, and it’s your ticket into Gaurav’s inner circle. Because it’s late, you walk each other home by moonlight and linger in front of their house for ages. Bonus points for managing to roll cigarettes yourself. Negative points to anyone who mentions The Fault in Our Stars, this is not a metaphor. 


Environmental Studies: Farming

Environmentalism is not a field of study, it’s a lifestyle, which is why you’re drawn to those within the insular pool of ES-Politics, ES-Bio, ES-Soc, and ES-Humanities majors. You like-minded grasshoppers keep your first date active, and go for a good ol-fashioned glean. Frog Hollow Farms has surplus potatoes this weekend, and while the whole team carpooled there, you’re sure to pair off at some point, “Oh my gosh! We almost left y’all behind, we didn’t see you way out there.” Time flies when you’re digging potatoes. Crawling around leaves you both pretty dirty, and you hope for a hot and quick water-conscious rinse together upon your return. Or skip it, you can go a few more days shower-free. 


Film & Media: Kanopy & Chill?

You know a cliché when you see one, and while a film screening seems like a natural first date for you, it’s also your bread and butter. It’s time to take things to the next level. We’re not talking about watching, we’re making a movie here. Make your date the lead in your next passion piece, play dressup and galavant around for the best lighting, backdrop, and angles. surely they’ll feel like a star and you’ll basque in one another’s attention. If you play this right, the chemistry will carry seamlessly from your working relationship in front of the camera, to behind the scenes. There is nothing quite like the connection between a director and their muse. 


Francophone Studies: Apéro 

You know your way around a charcuterie board, not just because they’re trendy and très chic, but because you adore fromage and des fruits authentiquement. Embrace clichés if they are delicious, no? French is automatically romantic, especially if you’re a pompous ass about it. Be sure to pronounce everything in full accent and give your date playful side-eye when they say things “so American,” they’ll love this flirtation. Neither of you will feel full from the slivers of scattered cheese, meats and olives, but apéro for two in the park is a great way to learn about each others’ refined tastes and drop stories from your time studying abroad in Nantes. Gush over the movie Ratatouille, shit on Paris for being smelly and uptight, then bike home with a baguette under one arm and your empty cutting board under the other. 


Gender Studies: Aviary

The Pioneer Park Aviary is one of the handful of spectacular oddities Walla Walla has to offer, and provides a wonderful opportunity to observe love in captivity. Take a walk around the lake with your date and speculate full narratives for the feathered couples you encounter: What would they be talking about? Ugh, who’s watching the goslings tonight? Make gentle fun of the colorful little gentleman bird putting on a show for a ladybird. Take special note of Nicholas the tortoise who lives among them, seemingly single. There’s a whole lot to unpack here; the place is a great view and ripe for conversation. 


Geology: Bike Ride

Take your date for a spin; you’re going cycling through the endless rolling basalt hills of the valley. The outfit is skimpy, the helmet hair is difficult. You’ll be able to soak in the glorious landscape views, without engaging in too much conversation. One of you leads the way, one of you looks at the leader’s backside for a few miles. The wind is too loud to hear one another at all. Who thought this was a good idea? A tandem bike is a fresh option, but that’s going to take some real teamwork and communication to get into a rhythm and go anywhere. Maybe you just go for a bike ride and meet up with your date in an hour or so? 


German Studies: A night on the town 

It’s no Oktoberfest, but the Brew Pub is close to campus and delivers. After a beer, you take a walk downtown now that First Street is closed and lit with string lights it exudes a pseudo-European vibe. Be sure to point out that the single-window hotdog stand nestled in the brick wall between Coffee Perk and Starbucks, Weiner & Bun, is nothing like real Brat Würst, and lament Walla Walla’s lack of pretzels. The night seems to fly by, but you feel no *torschlußpanik, you’ve already scheduled the second date before cordially parting ways. 

*‘last minute panic,’ fear of missed opportunity from having run out of time 


Hispanic Studies: Película

Although I am confident you could certainly pop off with poetry, cooking, music and/or dance moves, this date keeps things simple. One Spanish film class with Professor Janis Be and you’re locked and loaded with a collection of foreign films that could make for a lovely movie night date. Know that if this film requires subtitles, you and your date may not make it very far plot-wise (and that’s more than okay). 


History: Drinks

You keep it clean and classy and take your date to overpriced cocktails at Marcy’s. We all know you love to get sauced with your professors on the regular, and your literal wet dream is to be a guest on Drunk History with Derek Waters. This date is the next best thing. Surely, they’re on the edge of their seat hoping for you to tell them about a complicated historical event – bonus points if it’s a war or battle – that no one talks about and everyone gets wrong. You’re here to deliver and set the goddamn record straight. Sink a couple of drinks, and you’re ready to take the podium. Among historians, conversation is a one-way street. Your date will leave feeling tipsy and so grateful for the knowledge you’ve imparted. 


Mathematics: Patisserie

Gosh, you’ve got a brain that most of us simply cannot fathom, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that romance may not be your strongest suit? However, you are detail-oriented, determined and have taken note of how many Whitties bust a nut for the Colville Street Patisserie. Definitely a promising and reliable first date location, you really can’t go wrong here. 


Music: Karaoke

You thought I was going to say orchestra concert or opera? No, you’re going to Ming Court for an evening of karaoke. If this pushes the boundaries of your comfort zone, that’s the point. Studying music has a tendency to become incredibly serious and stressful, and you deserve a night of music and levity. You may be a perfectionist, but realize that it is more than likely that you can carry a tune, and your date will love the way you put yourself out there for a good time. A drink or two may do you well, but take it easy – no one likes a trashed karaoke star. 


Philosophy: Wine Night

Since heated debate is foreplay to you, you’re inviting your crush over for a wine night; symposium style. Whether in a group or one on one, you keep the red blend flowing and insist on skipping the trifling small talk to discuss the big questions of life, and wisdom, and love. You need a partner who can fulfill this insatiable hunger for dizzying conversation (which you may think is really deep, it simply is not). However, Plato lends his name to platonic relationships for a reason, and that reason is habitually taking up far too much air space being high and mighty. While you hope to woo them with your galaxy-brain, you’ll likely also remind them why they do not miss Encounters. 


Physics: Frolf

Frisbee golf holds a lot of potential for you to shine. You can wander around campus with your date deciphering the best strategies for hitting the random points along the course; a tree here, a statue there. Hopefully it’s not too windy, but that could just make for a fun added challenge. Laugh at whoever needs to fish their frisbee out of the creek, and bring a spare for when someone loses a disc atop a roof. 


Politics: Trivia Night

When you’re done throwing around big words in class, you’re never done being competitively brainy. Trivia night is your moment to show everyone, particularly your date, that you know what’s up. You’ve strategically assembled your team to cover a variety of topics – pop culture, sports, sciences – but as the resident politics major you fancy yourself a kind of humble captain and jack-of-all-trivias. Everything is political, after all, or this isn’t neoliberalism. Throughout the night, remind yourself that this is just for fun, and you definitely should not flip the table when the team from CC buzzes-in faster than your teammate. Be cool, and take each question in stride. Remember to talk to your date at least a little bit, and pretend to enjoy your beer. 


Psychology: Drinking Games

Beer pong, die and rage cage aren’t really your jam; it’s never-have-I-ever, Truth or Dare or pizza box that you’re here to see. While these are group activities, you’re playing to focus on your date. You listen carefully when they field a couple of saucey questions, and take note of how they react to being asked to perform ridiculous tasks. Based on the behaviors you witness tonight, you’re ready to draw broad conclusions about their personality, still hoping they’re as dark and complicated as you are. Since you lowkey still believe in Freudian theory, any mention of their family sends you spiraling, asking many questions trying to not-so-subtly uncover their deepest issues. Ironically, you’re probably the first and most willing to call someone ‘mommy’ or ‘daddy’ in bed. 


Race & Ethnic Studies: Sauna

Your studies can be particularly taxing and a consistent reminder of how sincerely effed-up the world is. Take this date as an opportunity to clear your mind and sweat out some stress in the sauna. A hidden gem in the depths of the Sherwood Center locker rooms, after the athletes have cleared the scene, towel up (or don’t) and sit in the heat for a relaxing time that’s also incredibly steamy. 


Religion: Yoga Class

Chances are, you’re doing something active: yoga class in the park. It’s a community event, so while the two of you are surrounded by local parents and awkward singles hoping for a free stretch, you’re here to show-off. You have a consistent practice, which has made you impressively flexible and perpetually ready to flow. You have your own mat and everything. Still, dating is a nervous business, and you hope that the class centers you enough to chill-out your intense personality. When you realize this shit is truly amateur hour, you throw in a headstand or a full split and say it’s to really relieve some tension in your back. Act tastefully bashful when everyone is mind blown. You’re both a bit sweaty, but maybe your date will be down to let you show them some partner-poses when you get home. 


Rhetoric, Writing & Public Discourse: Go for a drive

Similarly to your classes where discussion leads you down unexpected and unforeseen paths, taking a drive is a great way to let the conversation take the forefront while the Walla Walla scenery passes you by. You’ve witnessed first-hand how your professors have so many interesting things to say, but delivered with an endearing awkwardness you hope to avoid on this date. On the road, you don’t even have to look at one another, reading too deeply into body language or gestures. If words become exhausting, have a playlist ready to turn up the volume, roll down the windows and drown out the noise. 


Sociology: Grocery shopping

Always busy and getting things done, you’re making this date a practical one. By taking your crush on your errands, not only will you accomplish another one of your many many tasks, but you now have the chance to observe your date out in the world. Overanalyze their every move, just for the fun of it. You know better than anyone that there is a lot to unpack from one’s consumer choices and participation in commerce. Since you are a stellar planner and like to be in control, you come prepared with a list and a plan but play it cool to keep the conversation going casually on the side. 


Theatre & Dance: Contact Improv

You’re embracing your misfit and mysterious reputation, and taking your date behind the scenes to explore the endlessly wondrous catacombs of Harper Joy Theatre. There are many private, noise-cancelling places back there. Who knows what you might get up to among the costume racks, props, and sets of productions passed? Whether you are playing the lead role, dancing in the chorus, or making the magic happen in all-black stage crew garb, you’re sure to impress any audience member with an all-access backstage-pass and VIP treatment after the final curtain call.