tl;dr version: if you’re looking for your MRS degree, you’ve chosen the wrong school. Vandy takes transfers, I’m sure!
When I started at Vassar, my knowledge of college dating was based entirely on my sister’s experience at Georgetown. Britt started dating her boyfriend approximately five seconds into her freshman year in 2003. In March of this year, she and Matt celebrated their first wedding anniversary.
Fun fact: This did not happen to me at Vassar. Funner fact: This does not happen to ANYBODY IN THE CLUB at Vassar (Devon and Sabrina, may you be the exception). Vassar, on the whole, is no breeding ground for lasting relationships. It’s more a breeding ground for angst. And probably the herp.
Arm yourselves with these tidbits of knowledge of the Vassar dating scene:
1. Vassar Freshman Boy Syndrome: VFBS is a catch-all term for the propensity of Vassar freshman boys to want to sleep with anything on two legs and then never talk to them again. VFBS is neither limited solely to freshman boys, nor is it typical of all of them; I just had a limited scope when I was an angsty lovesick freshie and that’s what I termed it. VFBS is pretty standard practice in the real world, but what makes it kind of hilarious and tragic at Vassar is that in the real world, you can actually hit it and quit it without too much drama. But Vassar is kind of a tiny little place. You are bound to run into your hittee at one point or another, whether you’re in the same English seminar a couple years down the line or you always get Pesto Chicken Ciabattas at the same time on Tuesdays at the Retreat and HELLO IT’S SO AWKWARD DO YOU SAY HI OR DO YOU JUST LOOK REALLY BUSY WITH YOUR IPOD?!
Just be forewarned: the Vassar Freshman Boy (whether or not he is a Freshman Boy. Or even a he) does not want to be your boyf. He may or may not want your phone number. Do not drunk-text the Vassar Freshman Boy. (This is a very important piece of advice. Take it to heart. I’m serious. You’ll remember this when you drunk-text — drext — the Vassar Freshman Boy and he acts like you’re cray cray. I know, it sucks to be beholden to such a cruel social construct. Deal with it.)
You might even find yourself coming down with a nasty case of VFBS. (Ask me about the first three-quarters of senior year.) What do you do? Well, I personally suggest joining an a cappella group that does concerts with groups visiting from other colleges. Or just renounce awkward and say hi REALLY CHEERFULLY to all of your hittees every time you see them. And if one of them turns out to be a stage five clinger? Be kind. Let ‘em down gently. DON’T MAKE FUN OF THEM FOR DREXTING YOU OR KARMA WILL GET YOU.
2. The Retreat is Not a Date: Still looking for The One? After wading through a slew of Vassar Freshman Boys, you might think you’ve come across him! One major indicator of a Nice Boy at Vassar — or a boy who might ask for your phone number, or at least say hello to you when you’re both ordering Pesto Chicken Ciabattas for the umpteenth time during the Tuesday lunch rush — is that they might do the unthinkable and ask you out ON A DATE. Dates are a thing of significance at Vassar. But don’t be fooled! Lunch at the Retreat is NOT A DATE. It may be an indicator that the gentleman in question is interested in getting to know you better… but it’s not a date unless you are OFF CAMPUS. (Unless you’re like, having a picnic in the Shakespeare Garden or something. In which case, gag me with a shovel and stop being so cute. This is an ironic college.)
Note: This does not mean the boy has to pay for you. Ladies split the bill! This has been a Dana Cass public service announcement on dating in the modern age.
3. The Pantless Psychiatrists: You will run into a number of boys at Vassar who want to explain you to you. You think you know yourself? Hell no, girl, the gentleman in the tighty-whities knows all your secrets. Even if you don’t know his last name. He has seen the cereal boxes on your bedroom floor and he will tell you why you do what you do and HE IS RIGHT. This, if you ask me, is the downside of the oft-sought Sensitive Boy. You find a guy who thinks he is super-attuned to your feelings and he decides that he knows them better than you do and that you need to hear about yourself from him. I always want to be like, “Okay, hello, I know I seem like a megaspaz and a hot mess and can barely form a coherent sentence unless I have the powers of spell check, but I actually am fairly self-aware and would really prefer if you would save this for your English composition class.” Be secure in your knowledge of yourself. Nobody knows you better than you know yourself, except maybe your housemates, whose opinions you should probably trust.
I may add more to this series, but I’m still a little concerned that my mom is reading this and I don’t want to send her to an early grave. Stay tuned for my memoirs in a few decades.
P.S. Yes, I know this is grossly heteronormative. Unfortunately, I am the straightest straight that ever straighted and vanilla heteronormativity is the only subject in which I have any expertise whatsoever.