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Think on ink

| Monday, September 1, 2014

think-on-ink-WEBKeri O'Mara
Living in an all-girls dorm is great, most of the time. There is almost always someone around ready and willing to give me outfit advice, the hallways are decorated with all sorts of celebrity heartthrobs, and someone is almost always baking something. It also means that there is always a space for any one of us to sit and analyze (and re-analyze and overanalyze) every aspect of our love lives.

It means in the last year, I’ve had more conversations about boys I don’t know than ever before in my life. It’s fine. It’s even great sometimes. It’s also a little worrying. As I sit and listen to my friends stress, dissect and over think every interaction they have with the opposite sex, I begin to question my own relationships (or lack thereof).

I begin to wonder if not having a boyfriend and not believing that “ring by spring” is really for me are problems that will cause me to be alone forever. It was in this state of mind that I picked up Katie Heaney’s “Never Have I Ever: My Life (SO FAR) Without A Date.”

Heaney is a 25-year-old from St. Paul, Minnesota, who has never had a boyfriend. In the introduction, she calls herself a “Bermuda Triangle.” She tells her readers it’s not just a lack of a long-term boyfriend; she’s never had anything resembling a real relationship.

The book reads like one of those late night conversations you have with your best friends, where they tell you about every single significant interaction with a boy they’ve ever had. Surprisingly (or maybe not), most of these “interactions” are minuscule in reality. But, in the course of thinking and re-thinking, Heaney has made them all into long, extended stories — even though, in most cases, she never even spoke to the boy in question.

I think Heaney wants her relationship with her college best friend, Rylee, to be the center of the book but she never quite achieves this. It is not until the end that the reader is really given an insight into what Rylee’s relationships look like, and she reads as more of a background character to most of Heaney’s adventures. Still, the sentiment is sweet and something I can wholeheartedly support.

The book is silly, light and even insightful at times. We follow Heaney as she floats through elementary, middle and high school without a date. We watch as she stumbles through her first attempts at college dating. She tells us about the perils of online dating and the different types of messages one might (read: will definitely) receive.

Most girls, I think, can see a little bit of themselves in Heaney’s antics. Whether it’s obsessing over the cute guy who sits in front of you in History or worrying because you aren’t crushing back on your best guy friend, Heaney has a story that relates. Maybe she doesn’t get through it as gracefully as she could but I think her point is that maybe that isn’t necessary.

This isn’t a book that impresses passersby when they notice you reading it. When I was reading it in the airport on my way back to Notre Dame, I think my waiter decided I was a little sad and alone (based entirely on my reading material — and, quite possibly, the fact that I was traveling alone).

Still, when I waiting in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport for four hours, Katie Heaney’s company kept me laughing and entertained as I received constant notification about my friends’ arrivals back on campus. It was exactly like a conversation with my dorm mates at school, except I wasn’t nearly so stressed at the end. After all, if she can be 25, still single and still happy, I probably can do it too.

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About Caelin Miltko

I am a senior English and Irish language major, with a minor in Journalism. I spent the last year abroad in Dublin, Ireland and am currently a Walsh RA living in Pangborn.

Contact Caelin