Author: Christina Reid
For years, my parents have told me the elaborate story of how they fell in love with each other their junior year of college. They often reminisce about how their romance was sparked in an English class while reading Shakespeare. At this point, I have learned to tune them out. Here I stand, a very single junior with no love, no steamy Shakespeare class, and a seemingly impending deadline. I like to reflect on my solitude from an independent perspective — I am single because I want to be and who cares? But then I see a couple holding hands in the library and am reduced to a bitter mess. I ask you, fellow Cornellians: how does one find love on the hill?
According to my research, finding love at Cornell is, in fact, possible. In a moment of weakness and despair, I googled “Cornell love stories.” The results were astonishing. Lovebirds across the country have submitted tale after tale owing Cornell for granting them everlasting happiness in a spouse. Pam ‘74 writes, “I met my husband during Freshman orientation in 1970. We sat together in Bailey Hall and have not been apart since. We will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary this year.” Pam, you are one lucky woman. But my time here at Cornell is ticking away.
The more research I did, the more helpless I felt. But I couldn’t bring myself to look away from the statistics on the Cornell Alumni page. 24% met as first-year students. Well, freshman year has come and gone. 41% met at a hall party. How old is this data? What’s a “hall party?” 25% dated at the hot truck. This statistic hurt me the most. Many a nights I have spent ordering Cajun fries from Louie’s with no boy on my arm. 31% walked around Beebe Lake holding hands and got married. This just could not possibly work now, we’re all too busy Instagramming the lake…#gorges.
My research showed me that while I may, in fact, be “undateable,” Cornell just is not what it used to be. Much of Cornell’s dating culture has now become a hook-up culture, largely dominated by sites like Tinder and Yik Yak. The hopes of an epic Cornell romance have been dimmed by swiping left and swiping right. We have it all at our fingertips making everything way too easy. Call me old-fashioned but I doubt love lies in the deep abysses of Pixel Alley or CTP. Courtship seems outdated compared to the ease of hooking up with your date at some formal or your “bae.”
Or maybe electronics have really ruined everything. We are all so obsessed with our iPhones and Facebooks to notice each other in class. Maybe we can attribute the dismal dating scene to everyone being eternally stressed by schoolwork and the pressure of being here. Nobody has time for anything serious because we are all pulling all-nighters in Uris. Safety is another issue. Who can we trust on this campus when we get Crime Alert emails virtually every other night? My friends constantly tell me that college is the time to have fun and nothing serious could ever come out of my four years here. Maybe they are right.
But part of me wants to believe that they are wrong.
I see couples holding hands in the cold and they give me hope. Cornell’s dating life here can be revived if we all stop interacting virtually and start interacting personally. Let’s think of this as a manifesto. Let’s pick up our dignities from the cruddy Pixel dancefloor and court each other. Let’s be upfront about our feelings with one another instead of waiting around in the frustrating limbo of “Are we exclusive or not?” Let’s go on actual dates to the Farmer’s Market instead of waiting around for an invite to a date night. Let’s swap the late night “booty calls” for some daytime phone calls.
I still have some time left. We all have some time left to find that special someone here. In the meantime, you can find me at Louie’s waiting for my cheeseburger with a side of Mr. Right.