Dear Lone Pining

By Andrés Smith | 4/19/16 9:52am

Life at Dartmouth can be hard, what with the harsh winters, D-Plan and limited social scene working against you. “Dear Lone Pining,” Dartbeat’s premier student advice column, is here to help! Anonymously submit your questions here and our lifestyle expert, Lone Pining, will help tackle your problems. Here’s what Lone Pining had to say this week:

Dear Lone Pining: I got invited to a pong date, but I'm shit at pong. It's impossible to improve within the next 12 hours. What do I do? –16Sucky@Pong

Are the “Transformers” movies about the actual transformers? No. Rather, they're experiments that measure the amount of times that Michael Bay can get explosions and models’ butts into the same shot.

Casual pong dates aren't wholly unlike the “Transformers” franchise. It's not about the actual substance; there really isn’t any. It's about having a good time, being awkwardly sexual while still remaining PG-13 and hoping that nobody indulges in overt casual racism (God, “Transformers 2” was bad).

Odds are that unless your date is on a strict Masters training regimen, it isn't going to matter if you're good or not. Just have a good time, keep the mood light and actually talk to the person. It doesn't have to be two people only playing pong, it can be two people talking, laughing and getting to know each other while they just happen to be playing pong. Focus less on hitting the thing into the thing and you might just have a better chance of getting the thing in the thing, whatever each of your respective things may be. So, just relax, don't take the actual game too seriously, and hope to God they don't realize that you know much more about “Transformers” than you do pong.

-Lone Pining

Dear Lone Pining: I'm in love with a '16 who doesn't know who I am. I know he's leaving soon but I'm torn: to flitz or not to flitz? –FoolishForFlitzing

This one is actually really simple. The move here is to constantly carry a pile of papers that is just a little too big to handle around campus. Once you spot the guy in question, "accidentally" bump into him and drop your papers all over the place while mumbling about how you just can't get anything right! Nine times out of ten, he will help you pick up the papers, smile at you and you will instantly be in love. Neither graduation, long distance nor all of Megatron's wrath will be able to separate you at that point. It would help if you had a unique and quirky job that doesn't really exist, like the person who draws smiley faces on children's books about world politics. Being Katherine Heigl also wouldn't hurt.

Actually though, I think you should absolutely flitz him. What do you have to lose? Like you said, he's graduating in a few weeks. Worst case scenario, you have an awkward interaction with someone who you will probably never see again. (Actually, the worst case scenario would be that you are kidnapped and thrown into the arena, having to fight your way to Roman fame before facing the emperor who betrayed you. But I digress.) Although the outlook for a long-term relationship may not be great, this is a great low pressure situation in which you could just have some fun with an interesting guy before he leaves the fantasy land bubble of Hanover (presumably to enter the fantasy land bubble of Wall Street).

Or, you could always just troll his favorite bookstore waiting for him to reach for a copy of “For Whom the Bell Tolls” so you could reach for it at the same time and "accidentally" touch his hand.

-Lone Pining

Dear Lone Pining: It's midterm week and I'm having trouble juggling academics and social life. Tips?

Shit, if I knew the answer to this, I'd actually charge people for advice instead of just writing this column and yelling it from fire escapes at passers-by in the middle of the night while taking down an entire pint of Half Baked and weeping at what could have been (metaphorically, of course). There are of course a few cliché answers, such as make a to-do list, optimize any free time you have, make a blood oath with a servant of the Fallen One in exchange for never having to sleep, etc. My advice would be to take ownership of the things you can control and use them to make you happy. I'll explain.

We spend so much of our time here doing stuff that we don't want to do but have to do. Whether it's 9L's, practices for sports teams or rehearsals for singing groups, we have a lot of obligations that we can't get out of for reasons that are important to us. What bothers me is when people then spend their free time choosing to do things that they know won't make them happy because of some strange sense of social obligation. Hate the fact that you have to go to tails after a long week instead of catching up on sleep? Well, you don't. Want to go climb the thing outside but feel like you have to do the extra recommended reading even though you know it won't be any part of your class or grade? Well, you don't.

I'm not saying that you should neglect your social life or your schoolwork. I'm just saying, think about and challenge some of the notions you have about things you "have" to do. A lot of those rules are just ones you make for yourself. And guess what? One of the biggest secrets about being happy is letting yourself do the things you know make you happy. I'm not saying it's easy, but I am saying it's worth it.

-Lone Pining

Andrés Smith