NYU Diaries: Metrocard Dating
Written by Bwog Staff
NYU diarist W.M. Akers returns with ruminations on love below 14th street and why you should get in on the action.
From what I understand, the Columbia dating pool—men and women, straight and gay—is a shallow one. Your battlements keep you so well-contained that you bounce off them and into each other quickly, in a kind of sexual pinball that leaves most of the acceptable options exhausted by the end of freshman year. In the past I’ve found myself jealous of your closed social world, since it’s necessary to have a close circle of friends in order to gossip properly, but the closed circles quickly run out of people to do gossip-worthy things with.
So if Valentine’s Day didn’t see you trapped in a suffocating dorm relationship, consider a little sexual tourism down to Washington Square. After all, no one at Columbia is impressed that you go to Columbia. But if you get the right brand of NYU student—or New School student, if you want things even easier—he or she should be perceptive enough to recognize your natural, well-projected superiority. The child of the Village will thrill to see your name appear on caller ID, for a descent from Morningside Heights is no less an occasion than an angel’s coming down from Heaven. (And whether your descent is voluntary or, like that most beautiful angel’s, forced, we below cannot tell.)
But where can you meet these darling downtown desirables? The Thompson Street chess shops are not the place to start. It helps, of course, to know someone at the University who can invite you to a party. Don’t bother trying to meet someone in a dorm, since handing over your ID to get signed in is not sexy. Use your CC-honed intuition to sniff out a mid-size party in Alphabet City, in a dingy, ill-decorated apartment that costs more per month than your housing. Choose the surliest attractive person there—try to make sure they match your preferred gender and sexual orientation—and make a crack about how you’re glad no one is playing beer pong or, if someone is playing beer pong, about how you hate this person. When that line of conversation flags, ask about your target’s apartment and rent. No one below 96th Street can resist talking about rent. Let your inherent conversational deftness take over from here, and the night is yours.
If you choose to keep seeing Mr. or Mrs. Downtown, it won’t just be good for you. Columbia students aren’t the only ones with something to prove, you know. Ours is an anxiety of consumption. We feel guilty for spending too much of our parents’ money, and at the same time anxious that we’re not consuming the city properly. We don’t get out into Brooklyn often enough; we spend too much time in dorms; we eat at the same restaurants over and over again. Having you downtown is like having a friend come to stay; through your eyes we can see the city fresh. Wouldn’t you like to go to a cool downtown restaurant, a fun downtown bar, and a beautiful downtown park? Your date should know exactly one of each, and once he or she’s done showing you, well, you can see how much nicer our dorm rooms are than yours. For a moment your new friend will feel cool again because, next to you, we almost are.
Eventually, of course, you must grow tired of your 8th Street piece. NYU students are a pleasant dalliance, but marriage material we are not. Most of us aren’t even worth taking home to your parents. Our most interesting students are the artists and actors, and God knows you can’t show up at the summer home with that. But if you keep it up until May then you can go home to your high school ex. By the time summer’s over and you remember why you broke up in the first place, there will be a whole new freshman class to pinball off of. And so the cycle will begin anew.
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