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Confessions of a Speed Dater

Gabriela Leskur | Monday, February 4, 2013

You’ve seen the signs posted across campus. Speed Dating is at Legends this Thursday at midnight.

I bet you’ve chuckled to your friends and asked, “Who even goes to that?”

Good question. Last semester, I wanted to find out.

So after a few minutes of creating the perfect outfit – where you couldn’t quite tell if I was being serious or if I was going as a joke – I made the long walk to Legends.

I’m glad I went. Actually, I now think that everyone should go at least once during his or her four years at Notre Dame.

Not because I found true love, but because during that hour I met a cast of characters worthy of their own CW drama.

Here’s a purely hypothetical example of what you might encounter:

Greg the Grad Student

Greg is 26, sporting a well-groomed goatee and a plaid button-down. It’s obvious he’s looking for a real connection. Poor guy doesn’t realize the majority of the girls in here are freshmen. He’s got a soulful look to him and the slight smell of cigarette smoke lingers from his jacket. You can tell Notre Dame is going to be a huge adjustment from his freewheeling days at Brown.

He’s pursuing a Master’s degree in Art History and living at Irish Row. That’s really all you learn about him because once you mention that you are 17, a look of horror spreads across his face and a panicked smile graces his lips. He barely squeaks out a “Nice to meet you” before bolting, allowing himself to find a more age-appropriate date.

Danny the Drunk

He plops down on the seat across from you and leans his elbows on the table. For a moment, you think he’s wearing some kind of weird cologne. Then you realize that the distinct aroma wafting from his shirt is in fact the beer he spilled on himself earlier. He explains this to you and then widens his bloodshot eyes and asks if he’s seen you before.

He has.

You’re actually in three classes with him this semester. You receive an occasional mass Snapchat from him. Usually it’s just a picture of him holding a red Solo cup and a caption asking, “Hey babe, whatcha doin?” You never respond.

Tonight, though, he finally knows your answer.

Parker the Player

As he sits down across from you, you can almost feel the cool dripping off him. He opens with a sly line, explaining why he chose to sit at your table. Apparently he got lost in the oceans that are your beautiful blue eyes. He’s so charming you almost don’t want to tell him your eyes are brown.

You decide to give him a chance and see how the rest of your few minutes together go.
After he dazzles you with his finesse in the art of conversation, you think perhaps you’re wrong about him.

That’s when he asks you for your number. You agree. Then he lifts up his shirt, hands you a Sharpie and asks you to sign his chest. You silently judge some girl named Mary who wrote “XOXO” next to her phone number on his abs.
You rescind your offer. You hand him back the Sharpie and don’t mind when he looks offended. You figure he’ll be just fine.

Nick the Narcissist

There’s a window right next to your table. You catch him turning and looking in it multiple times when he thinks you’re not paying attention. He fixes his hair every two seconds and never stops talking about himself.

Minutes pass and you’ve learned a lot about him that you didn’t really care to know. You know where he’s from – the Northeast – and you’re not surprised. You know his favorite band, his favorite TV show and his favorite food. You know his dorm is a long walk from most of his classes and how much he hates his RA. Best of all, you know all about the girl from last night, how she was an absolutely terrible kisser as well as her first and last name.

You make a mental note never to hook up with this guy.

When he asks for your phone number, you ask him if he knows your name.

When he doesn’t respond, neither do you.

Frank the Friend Zone

Finally, you’ve met someone you like. He’s funny. He’s cute. He’s interested in you and you are actually interested in him.

He’s majoring in Chemical Engineering and Philosophy. He reads Plato for fun. He has a job at the Center for Social Concerns. He knows Fr. Jenkins, Fr. Monk Malloy, and Fr. Hesburgh and refers to them on a first-name basis. After he graduates from Notre Dame, he wants to volunteer abroad and teach English as a second language in rural China. Oh, did he forget to mention he’s fluent in Mandarin Chinese?

Just when you feel the love well up inside of you, it’s all ruined.

You find out he lives in Carroll.

The one person you’ve met tonight whom you like. And yet, your chronic laziness has forced you to put him in the friend zone.
You know there must be a Lyons girl out there who will be able to appreciate him and how wonderful he is.

Perhaps you two will have lunch together sometime at South Dining Hall or will run into each other at the Basilica on Sundays. But if you live in PE or Ryan, you know that even true love couldn’t compel you to go to Carroll on a daily basis.

So should you go?

Yes.

For those of you not willing to risk the frostbite on the walk over to Legends, your loss. If Frank the Friend Zone can do it, so can you.

For those of you considering the journey through the Indiana tundra, I really suggest you try it. Put on your favorite Uggs, your thickest set of gloves, and just go. You might meet some new friends or the love of your spring semester. Who knows?

If anything, you’ll have an interesting topic for small talk when you go on that actual date of yours.

(The characters mentioned in this article are works of fiction. Any similarities with people living or dead are completely coincidental.)

Contact Gabriela Leskur at gleskur@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.