Stanford's dating culture is, at best, insipid, and for the most part, distasteful. Unhealthily codependent couples define romance as dining hall homework sessions, acquaintances hook up and never talk again, and everyone else burrows through a quarter without giving an intentional moment to the perfectly eligible students around them. According to this year's Stanford Marriage pact results, around two thirds of undergraduates are single. In fact, four of ten participants put themselves in the desperately single category. Meanwhile, just over ten percent ranked a two, three, or four out of seven to the question, "How single are you?"
Most students sit at the fringes of the dating world, either completely alone or deeply involved in a pseudo-marriage. While I am a proponent of high standards in dating, perhaps we need to bridge this gap by lowering the barrier of entry to a first date. Stanford should learn to go on casual, respectful dates which need not carry the expectation of a long-term relationship or an (at very least) emotionally consequential hook-up.
If we want real dates, then as ladies, we need to be neither sellouts to cads nor stand-offish prissies. But gentlemen, I am afraid the burden primarily lies on you to be bold enough to ask us out. We aren't expecting much commitment out of you, just a wholesome afternoon. And please, drop the horrible ambiguity of "hanging out" and call a date a date. In case your creative faculties have been withering away in the west stacks, the Review has some ideas for you….
- A farmer's market: the one on California Avenue on Sunday mornings is fun.
- Baking cookies: unless your kitchenette is as nasty as mine.
- Take a walk around the Farm, then play some pickleball. There's open play on Saturdays from 10-12 and you can borrow paddles.
- Walk or run the Dish. Even though it does not yet have goats tripping about.
- A picnic. Olives (using his dining hall dollars, of course) on the Oval? Sammies in the Arboretum? Easy money.
- Roble arts gym. They have all the materials. FYI, it's not a gym.
- A service project. Especially in an area of common interest. How cute.
Disclaimer: Most of these involve infractions of petty rules, but they're all moral. If the security, park ranger, administration, fire marshal, or any other figure of bureaucratic authority joins you on your date, you didn't hear the ideas from me.
Disclaimer #2: Not a safe bet for a blind date.
Disclaimer #3: These are only for a certain type of girl. If she has false nails and only goes outside to tan, skip to the next section.
All that being said:
- Hot chocolate on a roof: Pack up a thermos and blanket, ask around about which roofs on campus are accessible and unalarmed, and remember that getting a girl killed through negligence will not benefit your prospects.
- Take-out at sunset off of Skyline.
- Star gazing at the Dish: The fence isn't too high to hop. Frenchman's park would work too, but half the fun is in the illegality.
- Rowing on Lake Lag: Borrow an inflatable raft and take it out at sunset, or when the stars come out. Limited time only.
- Have a fire by Lake Lag: You need to be a club officer to reserve the pit, but if you show up on a random Tuesday you'll probably be fine….
- Sunrise Dish hike, with a picnic breakfast or campstove coffee at the top. You mean I have to wake up before noon?
- A day on the beach: Picnics, swimming, dancing in the sand, hikes, campfires …endless possibilities.
If you are committed, and if you don't like my rule breaking.
- Art museum: Always a safe bet. Unless you don't know art but act like you do.
- An SF day trip: Go swing dancing on Sundays at Golden Gate park. Quite lindy.
- A ski trip: High risk, high reward.
If we started asking each other out, we would shed our workaholic culture and become more well-rounded, fun, and connected. More importantly, those relaxed dates might lead to a balanced long-term relationship as people become less desperate for affection, get to know the people around them, and learn what qualities they value in a partner.
Most of these ideas are inexpensive, and casual dates might just prove worth it. It's spring quarter, and lads, it's time to step it up.