They found love in a swawkward place

How two Screw dates turned into actual couples

The two couples enjoy stimulating Sharples conversation on Screw Night. (Courtesy of Avery Davis)

For all the freshmen reassuring themselves Screw is a meaningless, uncomfortable dinner conversation best suffered through and then removed to the dark recesses of repressed memories, think again. The following Screw couples have been together two years, proof that love can, indeed, be found in hopeless places.

The Dates:
Avery Davis ’12 & Julian Leland ’12
Screw Year:
Screw Costumes: Tarzan and Jane

Avery Davis and Julian Leland as Jane and Tarzan. (Courtesy of Avery Davis)

The Dates:
Emily Leach ’12 & Ken Flanagan ’12
Screw Year:
Screw Costumes: “Put the money in the bag”

Emily Leach and Ken Flanagan as “Put the money in the bag”. (Courtesy of Avery Davis)

The Setup:
Roommates and former Screw dates Avery and Emily worked for approximately three weeks leading up to Screw to top their previous debut as Octopus King and Queen in 2009. Avery, nursing a longtime crush on classmate Julian, was convinced he was not her Screwdate by a series of cleverly engineered deterrents by friends — “I’m pretty sure he has a secret girlfriend somewhere” — and thus harbored not even a guess as to the identity of her Tarzan. Emily, determined to uncover the identity of her Screwdate despite the repercussions of a similar spoiling attempt the previous year (Octopus King and Queen was Avery’s solution to a setup foiled by Emily’s sleuthing), successively snooped through Avery’s emails to uncover her Screw suitor days before the event.

“I hate surprises more than anything. I read her email and got really excited about it. I thought, ‘I got it, I figured out who it’s going to be, I don’t have to be worried, I can do this,’” Emily said.

Upon discovering her roommate’s foiling of her Screw surprise, Avery cancelled the initial arrangement and responded to a request put forth by Julian for a Screw date for a member on his rugby team, Ken. “Julian described him as needing someone who liked red wine and StarTrek,” Avery laughed.

Ken, meanwhile, had insisted on not being Screwed, instead looking forward to an evening spent chilling in PPR, far beyond the swawkwardness of the annual Valentine’s Day event. “It was dinnertime, and I knew it was Screw. I had my cup of rum, was sitting around in my room, was going to stay in and watch TV… I in no way expected anything to happen, and [my roommate] pulled out this trash bag and said ‘put this on.’ I was all but kicking and screaming,” Ken said. “In no way did I want to be Screwed at all. I very clearly told my roommate, ‘No, I do not want to be Screwed. I don’t want to do this. I just want to sit around and watch TV, I don’t want to get dressed some weird way…’”

Julian awaited the event with seemingly minimal concern until informed he would be dressing as Tarzan with roughly three hours to go. Heading out into the Crum in search of an appropriate costume, he came upon a big stick, which he paired with a handmade loincloth engineered using a stapler and swatches of faux fur.

The Date:
The girls arrived at Sharples together, neither having any clue who their dates would be. Ken was the first to descend the stairs, accompanied by his roommate’s shrieking, “Put the money in the bag!” and gesturing wildly towards Emily.

Meanwhile, Ken set about spoiling Avery’s surprise suitor by spending his first five minutes with Emily reveling in his anticipation for Julian’s Tarzan costume. When his friend finally appeared in his custom-designed loincloth, Ken was ecstatic and Avery terrified. “Julian comes out and says, ‘I’m Tarzan, where’s Jane?’” Ken said. “That was it. And then in the crowd I’m the only one catcalling. Everyone else was like ‘whoah, what’s going on?’ And I was like ‘BANG YOUR CHEST, BANG YOUR CHEST!’”

“You could see how all our relationships were forming in this horrible moment of nerves,” Avery said. “We had the typical awkward dinner where we made weird small talk, and Ken talked to Julian, Ken ONLY talked to Julian … we were all kind of half overjoyed and half terrified.”

“I remember [Ken and I] going back [to our dorms to change for the formal] and being like, ‘Do you think we’re going to dance with them later? I don’t think so,’” Julian said. “I thought I blew it.”

Between Sharples and the formal, the couples headed over to the Variety Show, during which they “played Contact [a word game] for hours since we had absolutely nothing else to do or say because we were so nervous,” according to Avery.

By the time the couples arrived at the formal, things began looking up. Avery and Julian shared their first kiss to the classic “Empire State of Mind” while Emily and Ken descended to the basement to talk about music … for hours.

The Aftermath:
Avery, waiting until the Wednesday after Screw, finally sent a text to Julian, proposing a coffee date. The message sent Julian into a tailspin. “I spent probably like three hours shitting myself, freaking out talking to [a friend], saying ‘What do I do? What do I do? I don’t know what to do!’ Julian said. “[My friend] describes me in rugby shorts walking back and forth, back and forth across the quint because I didn’t know what to do.”

After finally composing what must have been an impeccably worded reply, Julian met Avery for coffee, and the rest is history. “My friends made fun of me, because I was listening to love songs for a week and a half [after Screw],” Julian smiled.

Emily and Ken took their sweet time after Screw. Ken invited Emily over to show off his record player the next week, but there was still some confusion as to the level of interest. “I didn’t know if it was a romantic thing or a platonic thing because he was just sitting there and not touching me, and I was wondering if I should touch him?” Emily recalls. This is always difficult territory to negotiate.

The couple finally sealed their fate at a Paces Engineering party the week after Screw, Ken waited until the last song — “Sexual Eruption” — to ask Emily to dance. “The thing about Ken is, he dances like a total Dad,” Avery said.

“I don’t like dancing,” Ken stated in defense.

The two couples spent the next blissful honeymoon weeks racing to lock each other out of the girls’ dorm. “There was this one Pub Night where Ken hid Avery’s coat, so Avery and Julian were looking for it while we ran back to the room and locked them out,” Emily smiled.

Eventually, the couples learned to coexist, remaining close friends and celebrating their anniversaries together by attending the event that brought them love.

Screw Advice:
“No matter what, it will be awkward and you will hate [Screw],” Avery said. “But you can still manage to have a good time, even if you hate dinner.”

“Don’t be a wimp. Text the girl back. Seriously,” Julian offered.

“Don’t listen to your roommate,” Ken volunteered. “Screw them anyways. And if they don’t like surprises, surprise them!”

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