JOE WEBB AND CO. – THE WRITTEN WORLD

LESSON #15: GO ON DATES

Posted in Lessons by The Books Production Team on September 27, 2008

LESSON #15: GO ON DATES

typewriter9          It seems like every week, someone in the English department will post an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education on his or her office door lamenting the fact that “26% of college graduates can’t correctly make change” or “43% of American collegians can’t pick out China on a World Map.”  Now, obviously, these are problems that need to be addressed – because, in my opinion, a third-grader who can’t do these things should be labeled “a little slow.”  But, there’s another problem with our college graduates that I never see addressed in the Chronicle – and that is that 94% of America’s brightest young pupils (which, given the whole “change-counting” thing might be a bit of a generous label for “college graduates”) leave their alma mater with absolutely no idea how to date. And this is just a DISASTER.

          Now, as best I can tell after spending the last ten years at three distinctly different American universities, college students who don’t date fall into two camps.  On one side, we’ve got a group of extremely conservative evangelical Christians, who have all read a book by Joshua Harris entitled I Kissed Dating Goodbye.  Practitioners of Harris’s doctrine engage in a Victorian-era courtship, and after sealing their pending nuptials with a handshake, get married while they are still undergraduates and immediately begin making babies.  Because this group seems to be happy, and because the early returns have proven these marriages to be fairly successful, this post has very little to do with the “courtship” alternative to dating.  Just keep on, keeping on – I suppose.

          On the other side, however, the far greater majority of you don’t date in college because it is just too damn easy to hook up with a girl for the night.  If things go well during the initial encounter, you then simply continue to hook up with the same girl for a period of two weeks to six months, until you are either forced to acknowledge the arrangement as a “relationship,” or, because you find relationships scary, you are forced to begin hooking up with someone new.  If you choose the latter, you will get high-fives from your other single buddies after explaining to them that “a player’s gotta play.”  If you choose the former, you will then take the girl with whom you  have entered “relationship”-status to a formal dance twice a year, and this experience will constitute your semi-annual date.

          Now, before I explain in full the reasons why dealing with the opposite sex in this manner is both stupid and conducive to a state of Arrested Development, a word about “formals.”  Every service organization, fraternity, sorority, academic department, and athletic team seems to hold at least one of these formals each year.  And while going to a formal can be fun, it absolutely can not be considered the type of dating that prepares you for the real world.  After you graduate, you will never again be able to invite a girl who you haven’t even had coffee with to accompany you and one hundred of your fraternity brothers to Niagara Falls for a weekend of formal wear, Jello shots, Kanye West, and a night at the Radisson.  It just doesn’t translate past the age of 24.

          And so, this now leads me to a discussion of the two biggest reasons why you should learn to date in college:

          The first – YOUR HEALTH.  Hooking up leads to more sexual partners, less use of protection, and therefore greater risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases or producing a child. Let’s think about both of these options in terms of the mainstream media.  You know how the people in the Valtrex commercials seem to be quite happy to have Herpes and act like it’s their privilege to take pills three times a day?  They’re trained actors and actresses who don’t really have the disease.  If they did, they’d look a lot less comfortable sitting on that park bench.  And, as for the unexpected pregnancy issue, let’s consider the movie Knocked Up – just in terms of the random sexual encounter as a means of selecting the person whom you are going to raise a child with for the next 18 years. Guys, listen to me.  That girl you sleep with after thirteen tequila shots doesn’t usually end up looking anything like Katherine Heigl – she probably looks more like Carrot Top.  On the flip side – girls, the random guy you sleep with after eight apple-tinis usually does look a lot like Seth Rogen.  This doesn’t happen if you go on dates first, then have sex.

          The second – YOUR FUTURE GAME.  In the United States, the average age at which males get married for the first time is 27.5; women get married around the age of 26.  Do the math.  This means that most of you will not be marrying one of the people you hooked up with in college.  Throw in those average-lowering “courtship” specialists and the guys from your high school who went straight to Diesel-Mechanic School, and it’s a pretty safe bet that you’re going to have to navigate the grown-up mating world for at least half a dozen years.  What you’ll quickly find is that the people who are still hooking up at bars on weekends are not the type of people who you want to be in a long-term relationship with.  All of the sudden, you’re like Willie Mays Hayes in Major League 2: your college game was big enough to hit home runs in the University-world that is Life’s Spring Training, but once you enter the regular season, all you’ve got is the kind of warning-track power that leads to long, pathetic put-outs.  The guys who can hit major-league home runs with doctors and lawyers and architects and graphic designers are the guys who’ve had substantial practice at asking girls out on dates, and who know how to operate in date-situations.  So, start learning now.

          Lastly, it doesn’t take a lot of money to date in college.  You don’t need to be the guy who takes girls to two hundred dollar dinners or the opera – in fact, they’d probably find you creepy if you did.  But, for the same amount of money that it costs to buy thirteen shots of tequila and eight apple-tinis, you can afford to meet a girl once for coffee, follow that first date up with Thai food and a movie, and still have enough money left over to send her flowers and a card the morning after you first make out – all without contracting one single case of the clap.

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3 Responses

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  1. MS said, on September 27, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    Generally Dr. Wizard and I are completely on the same page. This time, however, I think he forgot a few key issues surrounding the dating plot. I’ll start by agreeing that, yes, once you leave high school it is definitely time to kick that masturbatory porn habit before it develops into a debilitating phobia of real human contact (If I were to tell my ‘crazy roommate’s’ story – see lesson # 5– it would involve a pasty-white Irish Catholic from Buffalo, NY who only responded to the name ‘White Chocolate’ and listened to Tu-Pac albums 24/7. Patrick, oh yeah, let’s call him Patrick, had my class schedule memorized so that he could ‘punch the clown’ while watching interracial porn while listening to Tu-Pac. Unfortunately, Math 214 (Math and Creativity, or more popularly known as Math for English Majors) was cancelled one day and I was witness to what Patrick called ‘Baby Makin’ with the Baby Makers, yo!’) I digress. The point is, dating is good for your social skills, and God knows the majority of people on this planet could use better social skills.
    So, next time you’re at home listening to Billy Squier’s “Lonely is the Night,” eating a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Mocha-Chocolate-Chunk, and wondering why you can’t get a date, quit your sniveling and talk to someone. My first piece of advice is don’t date in your department/major. It’s kind of like inbreeding, and we all know how that turns out. Look, once you find someone who can stand being around you for extended periods of time despite your hankering for the Gameshow Network, and the fact that you think “My Generation” is a Hillary Duff song (spoiler alert, it’s a cover, jackass), you don’t want to be stuck with them all the time. You need to live separate lives, so that when you do go out for coffee or thai food you actually have something to talk about. I realize this is not always the case, there are perfect matches within departments and offices (and like Dr. Wizard says, you really don’t want to date a girl you can pick up at a bar when you’re 35, then again, this too is an oversimplification).
    Though the picture of Willie Mays Hays from Major League was from Major League 1, not 2, Dr. Wizard’s point is a good one: You need game, and your game needs practice. While walking the grounds of UCDB, I’ve witnessed a lot of bad pickup attempts, and while drinking in the bars around town, I’ve heard an unfortunate number of Gary-Busey-crazy introductory lines – my all-time favorite was “Hi, my name’s Tony, fuck you.” Of course, the girl did not ‘fuck [him],’ and I later asked if that was his go-to line, it is. He explained that if they had a good enough sense of humor then the girl would know it was a joke, and if she got offended, then he didn’t want her anyway. Um. (Really, that’s all I’ve got, just, Um.). I’ll let you in on a secret, the greatest opening line is, “Hi, my name is” (and no, you shouldn’t follow it up with, “what, my name is, who, my name is, ticka ticka, slim shady). It should go down like this. “Hey, my name is (insert real name here, not ultra-lame nickname you got in high school nor your last name. Your buddies can call you Schlitz if you like, but for Chrissake, introduce yourself with your proper name). Then she should respond, “Hey, my name is Suizie” (CCR is on in the background, deal with it). And you’re off. Follow it up with “I’m an English major at UCDB, what’s you’re story?” Then just listen.
    Finally, again, Dr. Wizard, you are correct, it doesn’t take a lot of money to date in college. Both for the reasons you listed, and because you (dear reader) shouldn’t be afraid to go Dutch once in awhile. Seriously, man, it’s the 21st century, maybe you should make her work to get into your panties.

  2. drwizard said, on September 29, 2008 at 1:49 am

    MS – Good point on Willie Mays Hayes, I was wondering if anyone would notice. For those who aren’t up on their fictional Cleveland Indians, WMH was played by Wesley Snipes in ML1 and was mysteriously replaced by Omar Epps in ML2. Wesley Snipes is now in jail, and Omar Epps now coaches the Pittsburgh Steelers. Seriously, take a look at a picture of Mike Tomlin – there’s no way he’s not actually Omar Epps. Does FOX give him a 16-week hiatus from House so that he can work his second job every fall?

  3. […] LESSON #15: GO ON DATES “It seems like every week, someone in the English department will post an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education on his or her office door lamenting the fact that “26% of college graduates can’t correctly make change” or “43% of American collegians can’t pick out China on a World Map.” Now, obviously, these are problems that need to be addressed – because, in my opinion, a third-grader who can’t do these things should be labeled “a little slow.” But, there’s another problem with our college graduates that I never see addressed in the Chronicle – and that is that 94% of America’s brightest young pupils (which, given the whole “change-counting” thing might be a bit of a generous label for “college graduates”) leave their alma mater with absolutely no idea how to date. And this is just a DISASTER. […]


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