Broadly Speaking: (Lack of) Sex in the Stanny

Opinion by Molly Spaeth
Jan. 26, 2010, 7:19 p.m.

When I first found out that I had a column in The Stanford Daily, I skipped and paraded around the house for a full day, bragging to anyone who would listen (i.e., my cat and brother) that I was the next Carrie Bradshaw!

Upon hearing this, my cat stared at me blankly and my brother asked me to pass the Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Unfortunately, however, up to this point I don’t think I’ve really done Carrie Bradshaw justice. Namely, I haven’t touched on the subject near and dear to her heart, and the hearts of all those other tortured souls who, like me, came into Stanford still believing in truth, beauty, and above all things, love.

Dating at Stanford, or more accurately, the lack of dating at Stanford.

Ahhh, the argument harkens back to the beginning of time, as every year the producers of the Real World wrestle with their consciousnesses, trying to prove to the new freshmen that this lack-of-dating stereotype doesn’t exist, while simultaneously resigning themselves to the fact that it really, truly does.

O.K., to be fair, I should clarify what I mean. Stanford’s romantic realm consists of three main genres: you’re either married, “hooking up” or spending your weekends waiting for your own Mr. Big with your girlfriends, Nutella and endless Sex and the City marathons.

But, why is this the case? Although apparently the Stanford student body as a whole is supposed to be really smart, anyone eavesdropping on the conversation I had at brunch this morning (my roommate from Madrid spent five minutes trying to figure out whether someone had switched her toothbrush because she couldn’t remember if it was dark purple or not–afterward, I had to pick a speck of tater tot out of her eyebrow) could come to the conclusion that the majority of us are a far cry from high-minded intellectuals; some of us (myself included) might even be more along the lines of 10th graders straight out of Sweet Valley High. All in all, we’re relatively “normal,” and relatively normal people go on dates, right?

Either we’re not actually that normal, or I’ve just been rollin’ with the wrong crowd.

A dear friend of mine described her thoughts on her own dating woes to me in detail over a mixed greens salad at Pluto’s a few weeks ago: “People at Stanford don’t date because we’re already so critical of ourselves. We’re even more critical of the traits we look for in a significant other. We set impossible standards that no one can ever hope to live up to because we can’t even live up to our own standards.”

I gave her theory a lot of thought and was really starting to agree with her when I ran into an old friend at Stern dining this past weekend. As we were catching up, she mentioned in passing that she had gone to Cirque de Soleil the night before. After a little more squeezing, she admitted that it had been a date.

“Yeah, but I’m probably not gonna go out with him again. He’s nice, but I’m just not that into him. It’s O.K., though, I have another date on Tuesday.”

At this point, the risk of dropping my tater tots in my coffee was running pretty high, as both my jaw and arms fell to the floor in bewilderment. “Homegirl,” I said. “How did you manage to find THE TWO boys at Stanford that actually go on dates, never mind that you’re cycling through them both in one week?”

To which she waved me off and said, “No, no, that’s not it. Guys want to go on dates. The thing is that girls at Stanford come in with this pre-conceived notion that boys don’t go on dates, so they just accept it. It’s great for the guys, they don’t have to spend money and get their fill of frat-party hook-ups. I COMMAND to go on dates, so I go on dates. It’s actually pretty simple.”

Homegirl’s got a point. I suppose I could be a little more proactive, rather than hanging out in my pajamas all day, eating Nutella and over-analyzing every other text from last night (“What do you think he meant by, ‘See you later’?”). However, it must be said that a prerequisite for this whole COMMANDING the date thing has to be that the guy is at least remotely interested. (But, you know, minor detail. We can work with that.)

In any case, ladies and gentlemen, I’m going to start COMMANDING to go on dates (Editor’s note: oh dear sweet baby Jesus), and I suggest you do it, too. If we start now, hopefully by the time the incoming class of 2016 rolls around, the producers of the Real World will have some new stereotype that needs disproving. (GPAs plummet as Stanford students average four dates a week?!)

We can only hope.

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