Just Give Up

Erin Campbell Watson

After my helpful suggestions last week about relationship nomenclature, intended for a female friend who shall remain nameless, were widely misinterpreted, sparked a series of inquires and musings about my personal life – unprecedented since I wrote about the consequences of making out with your best friend – I feel the need to make something quite clear. I have never actually referred to anyone as my boo, other than my mom, and several occupants of a Beachy Keen condo – which, in fact, is an actual place.
So, I do not necessarily know if my advice will work, as I have never personally tried it. I happen to hate endearing pet names more than just about anything, other than public displays of affection and unsolicited cat-calling, so it is quite hard for me to pretend that I could ever find this a pleasant part of any relationship, or acquaintanceship. I understand this is bold of me, and I assure you that this is usually not the case.
Unlike when I wrote about reviving one’s relationship after throwing up in one’s bed, for instance, I have never actually tried this out. So I cannot be held personally responsible if your significant – or not so significant other – as the case may be, does not like being referred to as your boo. I, for the future, or at least for the next three columns I write before I move permanently to the VR – where there are no computers – will try to stick to providing advice about things I’m good at.
That said, I have recently been implored to comment on the elusive qualities that members of the Lawrence community find attractive when looking for potential boos … and what it is that they are doing wrong when attempting to attract them. I wouldn’t consider myself an expert in this domain, either, but, like last week, I’m going to give it my best shot.
In my limited experience with the Lawrence relationship, or lack thereof, I have found that my one quality that has proved to be the most attractive has been my ability to drink large quantities of beer – like way more than other girls. I don’t trust this data though, so instead, I’ve highlighted several qualities I’ve observed among the Lawrence community that don’t seem to succeed in attracting others.
A popular complaint that I hear pretty much five times a day at Lawrence is that it is difficult to find promising dating prospects on campus and that it will be much easier in the real world, and that no one at Lawrence will ever appreciate anyone else at Lawrence for any reason because every person of the opposite gender that Lawrence chose to admit is actually an idiot.
Though valid, I struggle slightly with the claim that not one single person of the opposite sex among this small pool of similar, incredibly homogeneous individuals who have shared lifestyles, classes and interests, is capable of appreciating you.
I also don’t really understand how – if you can’t make it work here – you’ll be able to make it work in any kind of larger community, where you actually have to work to run into people, because you don’t live in a close enough proximity to devise simple stalking routes as if to make it appear that you are running into them by chance.
In any larger community, you will be unable to run background checks on every prospective match with at least five friends before allowing the relationship to progress, nor will you be able to rely on the friends you have in common to facilitate your group hangouts to ease the original awkward tension. I understand that practically no one at Lawrence is a total stranger, and it is difficult to dig for attractive qualities among all the juicy tidbits of gossip you’ve heard about your peers throughout your Lawrence career, but I’m kind of over that one too.
Many people seem to think that a sense of “irony” and “cynicism” will be attractive to members of the opposite sex. They attempt to be aggressive about their flaws, their quirks and their shortcomings because they assume that other people will find them attractive or at least mysterious and edgy. As a person with many flaws and shortcomings, I know that people who find these things attractive don’t exist, and if they do, they won’t after a while. Unfortunately, after a while, the fact that you are “so frank” or “endearingly rude” will soon become boring and even kind of off-putting and you will be left with a repertoire of self-deprecating jokes that are no longer ironic, because you are once again alone.
The desire to cultivate this edgy, quirky personality isn’t exactly your fault. Lots of people at Lawrence attempt to ascribe to the indie-ideal gender roles that movies with Michael Cera and Seth Cohen’s character on “The O.C.” have done such an astoundingly successful job of marketing to na’ve, lonely preteen girls.
Many people at Lawrence grumble about how no one here is really indie – well, they use the word “bohemian” – enough, like people were in their hometowns.
This also amuses me, because by now, there are without a doubt enough people here who complain about this to form a small colony of “indie-enough” people, but they haven’t really done this, and the co-op house doesn’t count, because none of those kids were “indie-enough” for me or J.B. when they came to college anyway, and look where it’s gotten us.
In reality, there are about three people who are looking for this kind of partner, and all three of them have never actually dated anyone like this. If they had, they would know that it is hell. But they have not, so they continue to purchase American Apparel hoodies and talk about things that are “transcendent,” as if a band full of 20-year-olds in flannel can actually fit that description.
What these people, and many other people at Lawrence, do not realize is that if you were to be in a relationship with yourself, or with someone exactly like you, your life would actually be miserable. I do not want to have to walk my own drunk self home every night, so through the guise of dating, I find other people to do it for me. I do not want to date someone who loves Lil’ Wayne as much as I do, because then they would love Lil’ Wayne more than they would love me. This is a helpful idea to keep in mind when searching for a mate.