Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
It’s been three weeks since you have heard from me, and it’s been three long long weeks of dating. Dating off campus is hard. I went on three dates with the same guy. I am just as surprised as you may be that I wrote that sentence. My semester started with a promise of casual dates and then I finally made it to the dreaded third date.
Let’s rewind. Who is this mystery man? Well, he’s a freshman from Temple who I met on Tinder. He’s hip. He’s cool. He’s charming. But there’s one thing he’s not: smart. Swatties can be annoyingly elitist when it comes to intelligence, but this guy couldn’t (or wouldn’t) hold any serious conversation.
“So how did you get to a third date?” you may ask. That is my question exactly. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in looks and charm—especially when you’re just looking to casually date! On the first date I was charmed by his beautiful hair and enigmatic smile. Then we came back to his place and hooked up. The second date I loved hearing about his favorite movies. Then he came to Swarthmore and we made out in the middle of Paces (and then hooked up).
But the third date there was nothing to talk about. We went to a “not Valentine’s” Valentine’s Day dinner and the conversation was mindless. I told him about a paper I was writing and he responded with, “That sounds terrible. I hate papers.” I told him about my thesis project and he responded with, “That sounds like some form of punishment.” Clearly, he did not want to hear about anything important to me at the moment.
After the date, he dropped me off at Swarthmore and was going to grab a night bag to spend the night as he had in the past but I texted him saying I felt sick from dinner. Lies! I felt fine. I just wanted to spend a Saturday evening going out with supportive friends instead of making out with a guy who couldn’t stomach any sort of intellectual conversation.
To me, this story exemplifies exactly why it’s so hard to date off campus. Swatties — myself included — sometimes act elitist when it comes to intellect. A smart guy is a turn on. Talk about Judith Butler and Nietzsche and you can hop in bed with me! But I don’t need intellect, I just need appreciation for my appreciation of intellect.
Instead of providing you with stories about how to endure dating someone who could care less about academia, I abandoned ship. I may have let you all down, but maybe I’m validating our own strange elitism. Maybe I shouldn’t force myself to even casually date someone who doesn’t satisfy one of my biggest turn-ons. These past dates have shown me exactly what I don’t want in a partner, which is still as valuable to me as finding someone who I do want to be with.
So what’s next for me? Before looking forward, let’s take a look back at some statistics.
Dates: 4 (yay for a date every other week!)
Guys Dated: 2
Bottles of wine consumed on dates: 4
Paces Makeout Sessions: 1
Dealbreakers: 3 (Technology phobia, bad at directions, dumb)
While I’ve been MIA writing these past few weeks, I’ve managed to fulfill my promise to go on a date every other week. I’ve shown myself that there is time at Swarthmore to date off campus, which is encouraging moving into the last half of the semester. Coming up, I want to look at how race preferences affect my dating life, as well as the infamous Netflix and Chill date. If you have any suggestions for my last few Daring to Date columns, leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to explore them before finals week falls upon us all.