Dear Lone Pining

By Andrés Smith | 5/17/16 12:12pm

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:

1) Dear Lone Pining: The other night, I played pong with a guy, and he asked me if I want to play pong again. I want to say yes, but I really just want to play pong, no strings (read: hookups) attached. How do I convey this? -HesitantHalfCup

This can be tricky, especially at Dartmouth. There are so many weird social obligations attached to pong, and the fact that nobody really knows what's going on at any given point but also nobody wants to ask lest they make it awkward doesn't help anything. At this point, you can take one of two routes.

The Canadian Boyfriend Stratagem:
Very casually bring up the fact that you have a boyfriend. He's never around because he lives in Canada and he's so busy with a bunch of Canadian modeling for Canadian magazines in Canada. He wishes he could be here, he really does, but he's just THAT busy posing for Canadian Vogue and CGQ (Canadian GQ). He was going to come to formal, but he had to headline Paris Fashion Week – Ontario Edition. Once this guy hears about this sweet, sweet pile of poutine waiting for you in the Great White North, he'll understand that pong is strictly platonic. He'll know that he could never compete with a rugged, fur clad, syrup-drenched Canuck.

The Clear-Friend Maneuver:
Just let this guy know that you aren't really interested in being any more than friends. You don't have to wear this around your neck or hire a skywriter or anything (although that would be awesome). It doesn't even have to be stated explicitly. Just have fun and keep your interactions during the pong game platonic and not especially flirty. Call him things like "dude" and "bro.” If he doesn't get the message and comes on to you, let him know that you aren't interested. If he shuts down after this and doesn't want to play anymore, then this probably isn't a guy you want to play pong/be friends with anyway.

Just because you play pong with someone absolutely doesn't mean you owe them jack, and it’s really crappy that some guys here often make people feel like pong is some kind of implicit sex contract. And if, god forbid, he tries to pull the sad "friendzone" card, immediately take your leave because that's honestly the worst.

Lone Pining

2) Dear Lone Pining: This weekend will be my first Green Key. I am nervous I won't have fun because it kind of just seems like a celebration of alcohol and I'm not a big drinker. Any advice? -IPreferRootBeer

Every big weekend at Dartmouth comes with huge expectations, and Green Key is the one big weekend to rule them all. People hype it up like crazy and make it out to be this mythical time where you absolutely HAVE TO have fun, under penalty of permanently being a weenie. The truth of the matter is, they're parties. They're big, crazy, themed parties, but they're still just parties. Not to say that they're not fun; a lot of times they are. But, like so often happens when expectations are set absurdly high, they sometimes aren't met.

Just do what you do socially every other weekend. That definitely doesn't have to involve drinking. Besides the parties, there's a ton of fun stuff going on. There's the big concert on Gold Coast, other shows on Collis Porch, a comedy show, barbecues, a block party and tons of other awesome programming. Even though it may feel like it here sometimes, I promise that nobody is going to point you out in the crowd and yell, "THAT ONE! THOU IST NOT DRINKING! INTO THE RIVER WITH THEE!" Just relax and do you. And if “doing you” means spending an afternoon ordering a meatball and ricotta pizza and watching “Pacific Rim,” then do that. Not that I do that. Every Saturday. That would be crazy.

Lone Pining

3) Dear Lone Pining: I am currently studying abroad in Europe and experiencing some major FOMO over Green Key this weekend. Can you give me some tips on how to cope? -PiningForHome

I totally get this feeling. Absence does make the heart (and liver) grow fonder. It isn't going to help that your social media is going to be riddled with tons of fun photos being added to "16SoReadyforSpring" and "16Sun'sOutGunsOut" for the next 10 days or so.

First, just remember that things are never quite as fun as they seem on Facebook. People usually don't post the picture of them vomiting mac and cheese bites between Psi U and TDX or the one of them sitting on the floor in the hallway because their roommate is having raucous drunk sex in their one room double. Of course it's a fun weekend, but just remember that a lot of times FOMO is about an idea of how fun a thing is, not how fun it actually ends up being.

Second, open the window and remember the fact that YOU'RE IN FREAKING EUROPE! If you want to throw up mac and cheese bites, you can do it in the bathroom of a historic art museum! If you want to get plastered, you can legally do so at a restaurant in the middle of the day! If you want to fight the bad guys from every cheesy ’80s and ’90s action movie, they're probably around! Missing Green Key sucks, but missing it because you're in Europe doesn't suck all that bad if you ask me. Go boot on a statue, fight Hans Gruber and know that we here in Hanover are just as jealous of you as you are of us.

Lone Pining

Andrés Smith