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Ask Bwog: How Do I Find Love In Butler?

A filtered look at love and loss in 210 Butler

A filtered look at love and loss in 210 Butler

Desperate, lonely, seeking validation, and studying furiously for your upcoming exams? We have some advice for you. If you don’t see it working out, consider submitting a personal

Dear Bwog,

Valentine’s Day is coming up and…I don’t have a date. Usually I like to wait around the stairs leading to JJ’s Place and wait for guys to approach me (I like the sexual aggression and latent athleticism of the late night crowd), but the bursting pipes have totally shut that plan down. Lately, I’ve been spending all my time in Butler instead, checking out memes, books, and cute guys. So my question is, how can I make someone fall in love with me in the library and get them to be my Valentine by next Tuesday? What’s the proper etiquette for approaching/being approached by someone? Do I have a chance? Any and all advice is appreciated.

JJ’s Ho

Dear JJ’s Ho,

First off, you don’t need a Valentine, and will definitely be in the majority of Columbia students if you don’t have one (unless our personal circle is not indicative of Columbia as a whole, which is not unlikely). Maybe you can spend your Valentine’s Day having a romantic dinner for one at Tom’s or taking a brisk jog through Riverside Park instead. Work on yourself, you know? But we can tell you’re a bit needy, and if you’re seeking love, what better place to cast your net—gag—than Butler?

Barring the unbearably pretentious, uncool, and those who pay others to do all their work and take all their tests, everyone has spent time Butler’s hallowed halls. JJ’s, you’ll definitely find a number of people who fit all your criteria. But where and when should you focus your efforts? Since you seem to like people who display “sexual aggression and latent athleticism,” the following are our suggestions for the most atmospheric and promising rooms:

  • 210 and 310 are both appropriately cozy and mellow. Wood, warmth, and aesthetic upper levels make for an ideal backdrop for romance. The windows of 210 let in light beautifully in the afternoon, and the desks by the upper railing in 310 are very Serious Undergraduate Seeking Good Grades and Emotional Fulfillment. Not much aggression going on here though, so you might need to look elsewhere for that.
  • ButCaf is only on the list because you can actually talk there, but is otherwise not very romantic at all. Still, at least you can start a conversation with the person you’ve been staring at for half an hour. A lot of types come through here, especially for group projects, so you might have luck in finding your match.
  • Ref: By far the room where the most preening and social flexing takes place in all of Columbia. It’s a bit of a cliché choice, but you can’t deny its lovely moodiness—the drama of the ceiling and the shelves, the gleam of the lamplight, the intimacy of being left alone in the big, echoing room with only one other person. The amiable, insecure, and popular tend to congregate here, so your type is well-represented. Both the large tables and cubicle-ish seats seem ripe for romance, but you will likely have more options at a larger table. Then again, someone might be more likely to approach you if you are seated beside them at a table with dividers (less of an audience, and people here are shy!).
  • Adjacent study rooms on the fourth floor can lead to flirtatious interactions (chalkboard maneuvering in the spirit of Taylor Swift’s timeless music video for “You Belong with Me,” anyone?) but this is a long shot.
  • Don’t discount reading rooms on the fourth and sixth floors. These rooms aren’t super romantic, but are workhorses that tend to attract the same people every night. Who knows—two regulars, lonely hearts drifting aimlessly through the night, might find themselves becoming one.
  • Stacks: No. Leave people alone, unless they want to have sex.

In practice, we have found the 2 to 5 am stretch the most fruitful for odd or meaningful interactions. People get weird! Anything earlier, and you risk a superficial connection with someone who doesn’t really get Butler and who only views it as a place to duck in and out of, almost embarrassedly. If the intense Butler devotee worries you, go earlier in the day. Late evening, from 8 pm to 12 am, is another good, and more conventional slot. Still, we can’t emphasize the atmosphere of expectation when it’s 3 am and you’re left in the room with one other person—or when you’ve worked through the night and stand by the windows watching the sun rise and the light stream in (this one is more self-love than anything else, since at this point you will be too exhausted to seek romance).

Once you’re in the room, there are a few ways of getting the attention of your potential Valentine. You can be the only other person in the area, which is usually enough, but as we’ve noted, might not be your speed. You can, if seated next to them, try to discern their identity and send them a friend request on the spot, a bold and risky move. Or you can do the conventional things—smile, offer your gummy bears from JJ’s Place, eat a fruit (orange or strawberry, preferably) in a mildly seductive manner. Also, dress to impress your demographic, even if it seems like way too much effort, because really, nothing is too much effort.

Regarding notes—it happens. People send and receive notes. You seem to want people to come to you, but you’re the desperate one, so seriously consider being proactive and sending someone a note. It’s both romantic and respectful of your neighbors and will definitely get your subject’s attention, while not being as creepy as an unsolicited friend request. Don’t send notes during finals or midterms or if it looks like the person is on the verge of crying or pulling their hair out—let them live!! Off-peak hours (afternoons, weekends excluding Sunday, early in the semester) are great times to try out the note. The very worst that can happen is that the recipient will be enormously flattered and will take surreptitious pictures of you to send to their friends, and that you will be given a weird and unflattering nickname in their friend group. But you’ll be oblivious about all that, so who cares?

Make sure the content fits the recipient:

  • “If I’m Achilles, you’re my heel,” to a CC freshman (we think they’re pretty recognizable).
  • “Demand, meet supply,” to an Econ major (also recognizable).
  • “Hey, I think you’re really cute. Lunch sometime?” to someone who you don’t want to scare away with your aggression and bad lines.
  • Etc.

As for what happens next, it’s pretty much up to you. Romance has to be spontaneous, according to Hollywood. That being said, Butler is an emotional and wounded place, and very few good things come out of there. Don’t be optimistic. So: no, you don’t have much of a chance. (But people do wedding photo shoots on South Lawn all the time, so it’s not all bad news.)

Take all this with a grain of salt, JJ’s Ho! Good luck, but don’t fret if you end up friendless and alone on the most commercial, false holiday of the year—maybe you’ll find your Butler lover then, in the depths of disappointment?

View From The Top via Bwog Staff

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