You’ve arrived at university, bade goodbye to the only people that love you sincerely and unconditionally and taken those initial terrifying, sweaty palmed steps into a kitchen full of judgmental future buddies with different accents. And its gone fine. The conversational skills that previously seemed limited and best suited to vague mutterings over Smash Court Tennis Pro Tournament 2 cause genuine amusement. The personality that saw you pigeon holed as ‘the one with the hair’ at school wins you friends who regularly do things like smoke drugs and wear shirts. You’re doing great. Well done.
There is however, one major obstacle that lies between the new you and genuine and worthwhile social acceptance. The one thing that will nip the quickly emerging roots of suspicion that you are in fact a palid, socially inept goose in the bud- getting a boyf/girlf.
As with all worthwhile things this is easier desired than done, in some ways particularly at university, and in many ways definitely in first year. Although York University freshers week materialises as a playground of debauchery and well worn avenue for nailing hot chicks, an island of drugs and one way ticket to getting-bunned-ville, a hamlet of alcohol amongst the rolling hills of lets-do-some-mother-fucking-shots-county, such open handed morality amongst the sea of terrific banter…. has its inevitable downsides. Most notably, finding a sincere and committed partner.
In this week’s edition of York Vision’s ‘Slightly ruining the excitement of coming to University by telling you half the stuff that you should find out for yourself’, we offer a five step guide to navigating the obstacle course of higher education based love.
Let us know how you get on @YorkVision.
1. Look the part
Knowing how to dress the part is an integral part of dating, even if only to get past the initial, slightly superficial stages of attraction. What’s appropriate to wear is determined less by what’s en vogue but by the venue and person in question. A quick couple in Spoons calls for a dishy plaid number or snuggly fitting jumper/jeans combination, whereas an evening in The Blue Bicycle something slightly smarter. Although it may seem obvious, dressing with effortless class is an invaluable and far harder skill than might be suspected.
2. Learn your manners
Don’t believe half the shit you read in Grazia or GQ. Not only on the basis that they’re sexist publications that do more for reinforcing gender stereotypes and putting people in their places than the entire Saudi Arabian Royal Family,(it should be noted that this is an entirely uninformed glib comment rather than a telling one) but because they’re wrong. Dating etiquette isn’t a minefield. The anxiety of whether to go Napolean or pull out someones chair shouldn’t, and probably doesn’t, keep you up at night. Be nice and treat people how you’d like to be treated.
3. Locate and display a personal weakness
This point is part of a far larger one, namely, that you shouldn’t focus too much on yourself. The notion that women find humour attractive may well be true but is far too broad to be of any practical use. The art of self deprecation is a two tiered one. Not only does it show you to be capable of self awareness and introspection, invaluable traits for the post-ironic student romancer, it will make your date comfortable. For a more detailed explanation I recommend Neil Strauss’ The Game, but to give a brief example, telling an embarrassing story shows you to not be overly proud or pompous whilst allowing the other to feel better about themselves.
4. Strike a conversational balance
A first date is in many instances little more than a means of discovering if you like a person and as such, you’re being judged. Although belligerently sticking to the socratic method shows you to be interested and offers a platform to the other to talk about them, it can go to far. Establish common interests, drop an anecdote, even tell a joke. Just don’t be limp.
5. Be yourself
This is probably the most aggravating thing anyone can ever say to you. Vague to the point of non-existent, it completely neglects to realise that 7 years of secondary school and half a bottle of Lynx has buried the inner you past the point of recognition. It is far more practical to suggest that one chose the most open and pleasant of their numerous personalities or simply the one that can be worn for the longest. Adopting a jumped up version of yourself is doing no one a favour and will do little more than cement your place within York’s staggeringly awful boysboysboys community.