Dating at Dartmouth: The Blind Leading the Blind

By Grace Miller, The Dartmouth Staff | 11/18/14 4:00am

I must have reached adulthood because this summer my parents began talking about their retirement. “We won’t have to worry about being in a home,” they explained to my siblings and me. “Grace and her cats will just live with us!” Some background: my brother has had some sort of girlfriend for the past two years, my sister the same way since middle school. Me? My family likes to joke about my imaginary boyfriend “Steve.” I am quite literally the seventh wheel any time my family gets together.

This is all to say that I am exceptionally qualified to write an article on dating, relationships and “whatever it is the kids are calling it.”

We live in what, in my opinion, is the most confusing time ever to be seeking romance/relationships/whatever. I can’t even define what it is people are looking for anymore. The other day my friend told me, “We hooked up last night, but, like, do you think he likes me?” Me: Um. Or my personal favorite: “We’ve been hooking up for three months, but I don’t want to label it.” Uhh,you don’t want to label it because there is no label for the strange string of events we often constitute as relationships. Add on top of this Dartmouth’s weird traditions and suddenly things are more complicated than my Econ 10 final.

Below are a few questions about dating at Dartmouth from friends, strangers, overheards and myself:

What if our D-Plans don’t match up?

I have done the math. If every chance of terrible fate hits a relationship you can go up to five terms without seeing someone (that is assuming each person takes only one term off). But I think this uncertainty is what drives people to make the move. Diamonds are made under pressure.

Take the leap. Next time you see them, just walk up and kiss them. Then immediately ask them out and lock them down so that they cannot abandon you over an off-term. Then propose to them. The key here is to latch on without thinking and never let go. Also, obtaining some sort of blackmail can be helpful to keep them loyal while apart.

Or take advantage of the 10-week term, and start every conversation with the weirdest fact about you. If they still want to talk to you, congratulations! Hold on and never let go! If not, well the chances of seeing them again before you graduate are about one in a million.

Has anyone ever gone on a date with someone before hooking up with them?

This question makes no sense because how would they have met if not for making out on a dance floor? Stupid question. Moving on.

How do I get a boyfriend?

Be sure to be in their natural habitat. Head to a frat, or the TVs in upper Collis or maybe hang outside of the boy’s locker room at the gym. Now dig out a large enough hole, but don’t make it deep enough that the fall will hurt them. Gather several sticks just wider than the hole. Place them across it and cover with leaves, place some bait across it and then — oh wait. That’s how you catch a rabbit. My bad. I got confused. I have no idea how to get a boyfriend.

If I play pong do we have to hook up?

This person just took 40 minutes out of their day to hit a ball across the table while simultaneously asking you a question like “So what classes you are taking?” every five minutes as is socially necessary. THEY ARE MAKING A SACRIFICE. During that time they could have made 40 one-minute rice packets, watched an episode of TV on Netflix or even saved 15 percent on car insurancethree times! THE ANSWER IS OBVIOUS: No. Any decent person should play pong with you because they enjoy your company, enjoy playing pong or just plain enjoy drinking. Never feel obligated to hook up.

Does anyone actually do the Dartmouth Seven or Dartmouth Decade?

To be honest, yes. I have met people who have completed the Seven and many who are close to completing the Decade. That said, I am convinced the Decade is just a conspiracy by recent alums so that they can get laid during Homecoming, but that’s just my opinion.

I’m doing the stride of pride. Where should I eat breakfast?

If you want to run into your hook up, walk right into FoCo and sit on the dark side to bask in the glory of a hook up. If you do not want to run into them, head to KAF carrying some work. You can make an excuse about meeting for a group project if you run into them and hide in the depths of the stacks.

Is Dartmouth a good place to get my MRSdegree?

Technically speaking, yes. Dartmouth has both rich and beautiful alums. But this was my face while reading this question: ugh. Please be a strong independent woman who don’t need no man.

How do I avoid hook-up culture?

Dartmouth students have a 10.8 percent marriage rate, and I can see why.The D-Plan forces us into these crazy packed terms with zero consistency of the people among us. The other day, I overheard someone in the library say, “He was texting me, but I literally didn’t have time to hook up last week.” Work is exhausting and having to flirt after is 10 times more difficult.People want to be able to send one text as they are walking out of the library on a Saturday and be hooking up by the time they get back to their dorm. Why not just have hook ups then? Because the D-Plan is so terrifying that people can’t just let crushes on people linger: you have to make a move and lock it down. Everyone is looking for some consistency in their lives. And lastly, every Dartmouth student’s goal is to look like they have their shit together. Nothing screams “I’m doing something right” like having someone on your arm. So to answer the question, yes, you can try to avoid hook-up culture, but more likely you will be unable to avoid dating culture.

Grace Miller, The Dartmouth Staff