Originally published in AMP Magazine at UT Dallas on 5 Feb. 2018.
Now, Comets might not be known for being outgoing, romantic, or even happy, but this Valentine’s Day, it’s a virtual guarantee that some thoughtful saps will have set their friends up on blind dates. While it’s possible that a few lucky people could see themselves in amicable relationships with their dates in a few weeks’ time, the most likely outcome is that you’ll make awkward conversation at the Pei Wei down Campbell for about 75 minutes before adding each other on Facebook so that you never have to have another in-person interaction again. Knowing this, we at AMP have decided to help you brace for impact by outlining exactly what you can expect from the six blind Valentine’s dates you’ll go on while at UTD.
1. Your Partner at Freshman Orientation You’d Expunged From Your Memory
Was this even a real person? Have you fallen victim to a synthetic memory, implanted by some foreign mind? Once you recognized their name as the one that never stops posting their Buzzfeed quiz results on Facebook during pre-date research, you realized that you’d be in for the worst kind of catching up. Maybe you can ask them what exactly it is about their taste in berries that makes their ideal dream man a punk-ish lumberjack from Portland. Or you can both talk about the vast networks of people you’ve both met that are more interesting than each of you. Either way, the night could be fruitful; you both could be shut-ins with two friends between you and now your social circles are twice as large! But it’s more likely that your most valuable takeaway from the evening will be a mix of appreciation and frustration with your friend who set you up.
2. The TA For The Class You’re Totally Going To Fail Now
It seemed too good to be true; the class you’d been dreading, the one that was a black hole on your degree plan, was going so smoothly through the first day. Sure, there were gonna be approximately 200 pages of reading a week and a cumulative exam worth 75 percent of the grade, but that TA was going to make the 8:30 start time so worth it. That is, until you saw them walking up to your table and pulling up a chair for that date your friend said you’d thank them for and thoughts of “Oh God, I Can Never Go Back” start racing through your head. And sure enough, they’re feeling the awkwardness too. After talking about the difficulties of working with a professor with tenure and dealing with the immense feeling of inadequacy that your peer makes you feel, you both part ways until the next quiz day, at which point you’ll drop the Scantron on the table and speed walk out of the room like your life depended on it.
3. A Grad Student Who Won’t Stop Talking About The Artistic Merits of Sword Art Online
This person means well, they really do! When you were pitched this date idea, it sounded so exciting to meet someone pursuing their passions through research. “What a noble pursuit!” you swooned to yourself. It seemed like your dreams would be coming true … that is, until you realized that you hadn’t spoken more than three sentences in the 30 minutes you’d been together because, sadly, you fell victim to the ploy of the Scholarly Weeb. Sure, they’ve technically completed a bachelor’s and have begun to pursue their dreams, but that doesn’t indicate the sad reality that they’ve truly become married to their passions. And once they try for the fourth time that evening to defend Sword Art Online as a seminal work in modern anime, you realize that discovering all there is to another person like in shoujo manga might not be all it’s cracked up to be. Alas, the quest to find the doki doki date of your dreams must continue next time!
4. The Person Of Your Dreams Who You’ll Scare Away Within 15 Minutes Of Meeting
After leaving the last date, you take survey of your own date behavior. And it seems prescient, because you get set up by your most sociable and taste-savvy friend, so it must be good. Upon hearing their description of the date — perfect body, cute face, and just interesting enough to not be frightening — you just have to cyberstalk them within an inch of existence. Reading their perfectly formatted lifestyle blog at 3 a.m. the night before your date, you realize that you’ve fallen way harder than any rational person should. Any confidence you had promptly goes up in smoke, and all that work you’d done to round out any rough edges in your Casanova persona? Gone. You pull up to the restaurant, hair disheveled, car crooked, metaphorical/literal dick in (thankfully), and bank account empty. It becomes clear to you that the one chance you had at finding happiness at this godforsaken school is more interested in their now-lukewarm stir fry as you recount the details of your ninth birthday party and the “totally hilarious, I swear” story about your aunt’s dog biting your knee. The sting of that experience is nothing compared to the self-loathing you’ll feel as they graciously pay for dinner and leave you with nothing but your thoughts.
5. Someone Who’ll Do Homework On The Date
Sure, meeting at The Pub sounds like a good idea, but you clearly forgot about the fact that this is still UTD, and people will do homework anywhere at any time. “It’s just a really busy week!” they’ll say, flipping through a textbook that looks like it could break a window if thrown hard enough. The fantasy of doing just that passes through your head more times than you’d care to admit as they fill out yet another page of this worksheet while the once-crispy fries you’d split go limp under the napkin that’s supposed to keep away the flies. And once it finally looks like they’re ready to engage you as they flip the sheet over to name and date it, they put it in a folder … only to replace it with a different textbook. Without a word, you stand up and leave them to their work; it takes 30 seconds for them to register your disappearance, and you exchange a knowing but sorrowful look before parting indefinitely. The next Wednesday, you hope that they passed that one exam they talked about having that day. They didn’t.
6. The Person That Temoc Possesses For Every Campus Event
This person has got to be the most interesting person on the entire campus, if not the entirety of the fucking city of Richardson. “What must it be like,” you muse, “to have your corporeal being taken over by the ethereal being, the mythic beauty, the raw sexual ENERGY that is Temoc?” “Do they get magical powers? Did they have to sign a blood oath? Has there ever been Comet on Comet action?” Before your mind wanders to thoughts of pulling at flaming orange hair, their comment about how much they’re enjoying their Intro to Comm class snaps you back to reality. And suddenly, you remember that this person is just a normal student like you. Sadly, you aren’t regaled with any wild space adventures of Temoc’s Vessel; you’ll never know if they’ve seen the wonders of the universe, if they’ve lost possession of their first-born, if Temoc’s impact is as legendary as you fantasize. All you come away with is a perfectly fine evening with a level-headed and excellent potential date partner ruined by your fantasies of sleeping with a fiery sperm. Well done.