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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Dating at Carleton

<ck, I got into a pretty heated argument with my tablemates while dining at the LDC. Perhaps “argument” isn’t a fair word. It was more of a “spirited discussion.” We had been discussing a topic that is probably covered at every table in the LDC every night of the week. It’s a hot topic indeed, and one I think that’s quite controversial. I’m speaking of course, about the dating scene at Carleton. The table was filled with men and women, and gender really was not relevant to our discussion. I simply made a statement that many people took issue with: I thought dating in the real world was going to be a lot harder than it is at Carleton.

I already know what you’re thinking: I’m crazy. True, dating here is rather tough. The rigorous academic commitments, demanding extra curriculars, and a dose of what we’ve come to know and love as “quirky” aren’t conducive to a healthy relationship. Not to mention the fact that this is a small school. No one really wants to risk an awkward hook-up history with his or her future lab partner. Still, even if we consider these to be limitations, we must acknowledge that these things present a lot of opportunities for meeting people. My fear, as I expressed at dinner, was that without the built-in programs and resources of college life, it would be much harder to meet people once we move on to the real world. It’s not that easy to pull a number from the cutie whose bagging your groceries, or from the barista who memorized your Starbucks order. Believe me, I’ve tried.

I also had firm evidence proving the challenges of the real-world dating scene. I learned that one of my former classmates, one of the most popular girls in my high school, is currently “searching for a relationship” on J-Date. If you’re not familiar with J-Date, it’s an online dating site for Jewish singles. It’s like, but for “the chosen people!” Dating outside of Carleton was now officially insane; a girl who once had guys falling all over her at the venerable Parkway North High School was now looking for love online. This certainly did not bode well for the rest of us.

Oddly enough, I just got back into contact with a Carl alum friend who offered a different perspective on the situation. In his Carleton days, the kid was literally a poster-child for the potential bliss that comes with finding romance on campus. Now well out of Carleton, he had some shocking news: he is currently an active member in the world of online dating, and thinks it’s the greatest thing of all time. This from a guy who had enjoyed the fruits of a long-term Carleton relationship, and had met his sweetheart the old-fashioned way: HCB activities! Alas, he and his significant other were not meant to be. After relocating for his new job, my friend found that many of the people he met at work (men and women) had dating profiles. Not only that, but these people aren’t creepy. They are just super busy post-college grads trying to get acclimated in their new town. He’s planning on making his own profile, and he described it as the perfect way to get out there, all day, every day, without foregoing other important obligations.

Okay, so maybe I had it all wrong. I thought that in a world without small group discussions about discourses, dorm room parties, and “Screw your Roommate,” we might all be destined for a life of solitude. I should have realized online dating had gone legitimate. With Facebook profiles now an almost-essential part of a social life, credibility in the online dating world doesn’t seem so outlandish. I admit, I was too quick to judge, and I apologize to those of you I dismissed as naive. Still, we must not ignore those well-publicized Carleton statistics. You know, the one that says 50% of Carleton students end up pairing off and growing old together. Even if it’s not true, there’s something nostalgic there. I hope NSW leaders are still telling this story, and that it hasn’t gone the route of the “white pony” icebreaker.

-Dustin Goldberger is a Carletonian columnist.

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