The great thing about dating a guy on a sports team is that you’re dating a guy on a sports team. You get to be the athlete’s girlfriend; you can wear his letterman jacket; you instantly become friends with all of his teammates’ girlfriends. You’re “famous” by association!
At least, at a school that has more than one D1 sports team, it would probably be more of a perk. My experience with men on a sports team at Carleton has been less than ideal. While I will, for the sake of anonymity, refrain from identifying the man and his specific sports team, there are several major downsides to dating an athlete. One in particular stands out above the others:they gossip. A lot. You think women like to spread rumors and ruin your reputation? Holy crap, you clearly haven’t had an experience with a male athlete. Their already inflated egos make them think they are entitled to know all the details of your relationship.
Anything you tell that guy you’re seeing, you better be comfortable with all of his best buddies—and all of their friends—knowing. Carleton is a small school. Word spreads around. Fast. The saying “two degrees of separation” could not be truer than in Northfield, Minnesota. This is the case for anyone you date at Carleton, but the larger the social circle, the more dangerous it is, so be warned.
You might think me bitter, but this is not the only bad experience I have had with a man at Carleton, athlete or otherwise. There is an alarming number of twenty-something-year olds who have told me, “I’m not looking for anything serious, ever,” or something along those lines after we’ve known each other for barely a week.
I’m not crazy—we’re in college, and most people are looking for something fun, something casual, something to help them get over the guy in their political science class that they were majorly crushing on until they saw him making out with his girlfriend on the Bald Spot and realized ew, how could I have ever liked someone who willingly engages in such egregious acts of Public Displays of Affection?? But what drives me up the wall is that no one—at least no one that I’ve encountered—seems even willing to see where a casual relationship could take us. I’m not looking for a marriage proposal; I’m a woman in my 20s, not 30s. But is it so wrong to want a little commitment? Apparently so.
And then there is, of course, the major elephant in the room: Tinder. Now, I’ll admit, I may have downloaded it initially to be nosy and see who I could recognize from around campus. However, the more time I spend on it, the more addicted I become. It’s a mystery with every swipe: will he actually message me? Will I unmatch him when he asks me for nudes within five minutes of a first response? Will I spill my deepest darkest secrets to a man 1,849 miles away because I already swiped on everyone within a 15-mile radius, including some random townie who said he’s sworn he’s seen me in Goodbye, Blue Monday before?
I can’t be entirely pessimistic. I have had some good conversations and dates with men I’ve met on Tinder, but overall, the overwhelming lack of Carleton students to swipe on means that I forget I even have it the majority of the time. Dating in college, I’ve come to learn, is extremely difficult, especially due to the ongoing pandemic, but I remain (somewhat) optimistic that my “Carls Marry Carls” is somewhere out there. While I will be spending this Valentine’s Day alone, I have my friends and, more importantly, the box of chocolate my parents sent me that I picked up from Mail Services today (and have almost finished already – don’t judge me!). All in all, I would say maybe this February 14th won’t be so bad after all.