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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Date Knight: What Is It All For?

Though some first-years may not have heard of one of our school’s longest standing traditions, older students will remember Date Knight. Your friend sets you up with whomever they think is the partner of your dreams, and the partner’s friend does the same. Somehow, the two of you have never met nor seen each other before, and both parties eagerly wait in suspense.

Some people go into the event as couples already, taking advantage of the many activities. Other people go in with reluctance, mostly egged on by their friends but unsure about what they might get out of it. My first Date Knight was different. Having just ended a relationship, I was looking forward to the event as a way to move past the fallout and potentially find a new connection.

Date Knight came at just the right time in the year. I couldn’t have been the only one who felt like, somehow, my time to find love was limited. The eighth week of Fall Term is the calm before the storm: right before brisk group project meetings become long nights in Anderson and studying for one test becomes studying for three. It’s the last gasp of air before a long time underwater. That’s why I was both shocked and angered to find out at the start of the event that someone had set me up with my ex.

This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. I knew my roommate would never do this to me, so it had to have been my ex’s friend trying to play one last cruel trick on me. Scrambling to find someone — anyone — who could fix this situation, I found my roommate talking to the date that I chose for him. He looked like he was having a good time, but he could have his fun once I figured out my situation, so I swallowed my pride.

I pulled him aside and told him what happened — how I had been set up with my ex and how unfair it was that this crap was going to be the last chance I had to get with someone before the term ended. Despite being over-dramatic as ever, my roommate calmly explained that he had planned to set me up with someone different, but the match never went through, and he didn’t have the heart to tell me. He gave me the girl’s number, and I, visibly ticked off, called my new date, who had just finished taking a shower when she picked up.

45 minutes after the fanfare had begun, I had wiped the resentment from my face and my date was there. I looked around, and the setting felt like a metaphor for my emotional state: empty boba tea cups tossed everywhere, the lights in Sayles turned down now that everyone had gone outside, the dark fences of the café locked up for the night. Worse, my date looked seriously uncomfortable and I couldn’t tell whether I was the problem or if it was that I had just compelled her out of her room on a whim. Either way, things looked grim.

One part of me wanted to quit this charade then and there. I was a desperate guy who broke the one rule of Date Knight just because he didn’t like his actual match. I might as well have just walked her back to her dorm and apologized for dragging her out all this way. The other part of me wanted to see this through, and, somehow, that side won.

As the night progressed, my frustration melted away. Sure, my date found the way I roasted marshmallows weird (I say, burn, baby, burn), and she could tell I didn’t share her enthusiasm for K-pop dances, but it still ended up a much better night than how it started.  I was feeling confident, and the mood seemed right, so as the two of us were walking back,  I asked if I could hold her hand. “I’m good,” was the gentle but decisive answer.

There is no obvious answer to what Date Knight is actually supposed to be. I’ve seen existing couples spend the night as a romantic date and new couples arise from what was only supposed to be a platonic outing.  Likewise, I’ve seen just as many people have fun without romantic pretenses. Though I still had a good time, my experience would have been a lot smoother if I had dropped some of my unrealistic expectations and just loosened up a bit. No matter what you go into Date Knight hoping for, treating it as a fun outing is a good place to start.  Whatever happens, it will probably surprise you — and it might be more than just a fun memory.

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About the Contributor
Tripp Tokioka, News Editor
"If you're looking for me, you can find me in the arb playing frisbee or falling asleep on the OIL couch. Ask me anything about the 70's, or music in general." Tripp is a sophomore and was previously a Staff Writer.

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