does dating have to suck at Bowdoin College?
Acadia Senese, COLUMNIST
Dating. I had to look it up in the dictionary. That's
what happens when one does not practice her vocabulary words in daily
conversation. In fact, I think the last time I used the word dating in
spoken context was in high school. Good thing the dictionary could refresh
my memory on that one because I thought hook-up was a synonym.
So, why exactly does dating suck at Bowdoin? If you
have any social impulse, the answer is blatant, so obvious, in fact, that
I'm tempted to not even mention it. It sucks simply because there isn't
any. Yup, dating is as active here as the phased-out frats.
But this article isn't about frats or vocabulary; it's
not even a bitter response to my own personal experiences. In fact, it
has nothing to do with me, or my opinion. It exists solely as a collective
manifestation of the frustration that is harbored in many Bowdoin students--frustration
that becomes so evident when the following question is posed: "So, why
does dating suck at Bowdoin?"
After asking numerous people, both male and female,
this very question over the course of this semester, I began to gather
distinct responses that tended to be variations on the same theme. Inevitably,
each response always began by identifying just what kind of dating there
is on this campus. And so, as a reflection of students opinions, this
article so begins.
There are two kinds of relationships on this campus.
People either hook up or are they are in such a serious relationship you
may as well dub them married. So that leaves the in-between dating, very
much uncharted territory--casual dating being that last frontier here
at Bowdoin. This undoubtedly leaves people who care not to partake in
either of the extremes out in the cold, which is unfortunate in a state
such as Maine.
So, following that logic, I posed this next question:
"Why doesn't anyone at Bowdoin date casually." It was in response to this
question that an entire slew of answers were given. Answers that, if one
didn't know any better, would immediately qualify as excuses. The most
common response was the fact that Bowdoin is just too small. "What if
it doesn't work out," people replied. "You will have to see that person
all the time." But what about hook-ups, it's okay if you see those people,
isn't it? Something there just doesn't quite add up. In larger schools,
people date all the time. After talking with someone who attends Texas
A&M, they said that their standpoint on dating was that if you didn't
ask someone out right there and then, you would never see them again.
Well, we're at Bowdoin. If your nerve fails the first time, be assured
that you will have another chance.
Another common response was that the social scene here
at Bowdoin is just not conducive to dating. People tend to hang out in
large groups, rather than spending time with any one single individual.
The fact that people hang out as friends also restricts dating, especially
in relation to dating someone in your own social circle. No one ever wants
to mess up a relationship with a friend. True, but I would contend that
being friends is a great place to start.
Out of this same social situation, another response
was given. "No one else really dates. I just don't want to seem out of
place. It would be awkward." Therein lies a major problem at Bowdoin:
conforming to what everyone else does around you. So people don't date
here because they would be "that couple" or "those two seeing each other."
For instance, people don't usually bring dates to events that suggest
them simply because no one else does. I never saw anyone pass up that
double chocolate chip cookie at dinner because their friends weren't eating
them. We need to remove ourselves from this social pressure cooker in
which we live.
Ultimately, the response given was that "I just don't
have time." True, everyone here has lots of stuff to do, sports to play,
papers to write, clubs to support. But, your time isn't occupied twenty
four hours a day. What is it to spend a few hours with someone some weekend?
In the whole scheme of things, not too much. But, other responses had
nothing to do with having time for someone else. Instead, the problem
people had with dating was that they just didn't want to have to focus
on someone other than themselves. That seems unfortunate to me, and by
no means unselfish.
Ultimately, though, one could ask a million questions
as to why dating sucks here at Bowdoin. But what if we wanted to change
that? When this question was posed, people replied that they just wouldn't
know what to do on a date, where to go. For a school filled with creative,
intelligent people, I'm sure we could think of multiple things to do.
If nothing else, there is always the usual dinner and movie dates. If
you're not dating because you can't think of anything to do, start brainstorming.
And so, the ultimate response to my initial question
resulted in the conclusion that yes, dating sucks at Bowdoin. And the
above are all the reasons that it does. Yet, people ultimately confessed
that they would like to see a lot more of it, and that they themselves
would have no reservations if offered the opportunity to date.
Bowdoin students need to move past all the reservations
that they hold, take some risks, and explore some opportunities that may
be out there. If fear of the unknown, getting "shot-down," or not wanting
to be out of the ordinary are holding you back, perhaps you should recheck
just what is governing your decisions. It's about time this campus got
a bit more risky, a tad more social, and a lot more fun. Hell, go ask
that person you've been thinking of out on a date. I bet they say yes.