by Laura K. Garrison
Growing up, I was definitely a tomboy (minus the looking-like-a-boy part). I was the only girl on my Little League baseball team, grew up surrounded by a brother and male cousins, and preferred listening to Elvis Costello than Lady Gaga. In high school, I had a core group of girl friends and the brotherly love of my guy friends. While I was concerned about attending a women’s college, everyone swore “Columbia’s right across the street!” But as many Barnard girls know, unless you are super active in a Columbia club or enjoy going to frat parties, there aren’t many ways to connect with boys over yonder side of Broadway.
Inspired by a fellow Nine Ways of Knower, I decided to give Date My School a try. Looking for a way to procrastinate, I created a profile with a friend, and we spent the night thinking up witty descriptions of our likes and dislikes and picking out attractive photos of ourselves from Facebook. When I got to the inevitable “What are you looking for?” question, I put friendship. I believe the best relationships are those that flourish between friends, and taking the step to “more than” would be no issue if it was right. With a few keystrokes, I was single and ready to mingle online with eligible bachelors across the country.
At first I was incredibly enthusiastic about Date My School, partly flattered and partly surprised by the number of boys who viewed my profile and messaged me. It was nice to know that I wasn’t totally invisible to men, as I often feel on campus. There were many very sweet young men genuinely interested in getting to know me as a person. Some, however, disregarded my interest in friendship and made very forward advances or vulgar comments about my pictures (which were not in the least bit suggestive). Though I ultimately blocked the users who made me uncomfortable, the lack of decorum of some left a bad taste in my mouth.
When I logged in on a Thursday afternoon, I was shocked to have received several requests for dates over the weekend. While it was certainly an ego boost to have been asked out multiple times in one weekend, it made me question the concept of online dating. These possible suitors knew little about me and seemed more interested in the fact that I’m supermodel tall. I wondered how many of these men would’ve had the balls to strike up a conversation with me in the street, and it was sad to recognize our generation’s lack of social skills beyond the screen of a computer.
After about a week of experimentation on Date My School, I ultimately chose to delete my profile. I am too young to resort to the superficial, often creepy world of online dating. However, I now have a clearer understanding of the New York college-dating scene. While Columbia undergrads would look at my profile and rarely messaged me, the majority of guys I had contact with were guys from NYU (they aren’t all gay!). The plot thickens: the first question they usually asked me was whether I was comfortable dating a guy from NYU. I have no pretentions about Ivy versus non-Ivy, but it would appear Barnard is not quite “good enough” for boys at Columbia and “too good” for NYU hipsters.
Faced with overwhelming prospects, I’ve realized (for the first time in a very long time), that I am content with being single. I find the freedom that comes with being unattached to be liberating, and I no longer complain (that much) about not having a boyfriend. Though I may not have found what I was looking for on Date My School, I found something greater – a new appreciation for myself and my self-worth.
Laura K. Garrison is a sophomore at Barnard and Managing Editor of The Nine Ways of Knowing.
Image courtesy of Shanereardon.