Learning Together

A friend recently said something that bothered me. And in some ways, it is depressing: all relationships end in break-up or marriage. Hell, a lot of marriages end in break-up. It makes romance seem futile. Yet in many relationships, there does come a point when the novelty has worn off and the nebulous idea of commitment is the only way forward. A lot of Harvard couples stall at this tipping point.

Why? We aren’t commitment-phobes. There are people here who spend more time planning Women In Business conferences than I would my wedding. If anything, we over-commit. What makes these Harvard relationships go kaput? What value do we place on these partners, who were lovers, roommates, pset buddies, best friends, all at once? Read the rest of this entry »


As a follow-up to my post on formal etiquette, I’d like to provide a guide to dirty dancing at Harvard. Since so many guys get so many steps of this wrong, I’m going to be thorough.

You and your bros arrive at a large, muggy room somewhere in the quad. Hopefully the place is already packed with CSA girls. If it isn’t, leave and come back later.

The dance party is now in full swing. Maybe you’re standing awkwardly to the side, holding a beer, and looking at your phone like someone is actually calling you. Put the phone away. There is a group of girls jumping frantically up and down in the middle. Move toward the one closest to you. Place your hand firmly on her shoulder and leave it there until you have her attention. Say exactly, “Would you like to dance?” A lot of guys just start grinding up behind a girl, and to be honest, meet very little resistance, but that’s poor form. (Note: Make sure to get rid of your beer in advance. You’ll need both hands free for this.) Read the rest of this entry »

Formal Etiquette

Formal season approaches, and for those of you whose prom experience consisted of breathalyzers, forced poses, and tuxes that made you look like a cater waiter (that is, all of you), this is an opportunity to recoup your losses!

First off, formal is primarily about your date. Don’t let the House Committees, with their themes and live bands and ballroom dancing lessons, persuade you otherwise. It’s Harvard. If you wanted finger food you’d go to a recruiting event.

So who should you take? A debate that my girlfriends and I have every semester is whether to invite a romantic interest or a good friend. The pros of inviting a good friend are that it’s likely to be less awkward; if you plan ahead you may wrangle a good dancer, and since you’re not too worried about impressing him, you can just re-wear the obscenely shiny gold dress that you keep on hand for Gilbert and Sullivan parties. He’s also probably already friends with your other friends, and all in all, this could be another Saturday night out, with fruitier drinks. Read the rest of this entry »

A Modern Day Guide to Coquetry

You want to give her your particular attention without fawning, to pique his interest while presenting a touch of resistance, to treat her differently. So you target your words and you smile deliberately. When she turns to look at you, you let your eyes linger. In the world of flirtation, propriety is secondary to provocation, and conversational content is superseded by teasing and touching.

Teasing is contextual. For example, when your romantic interest exclaims that he hasn’t seen you in forever, explain that you’ve been avoiding him. When she groans for the fifth time about how cold it is, remind her that if she complains a couple more times maybe it will get warmer. When he starts talking about his career as a high-powered corporate lawyer, ask him what he wants to be when he grows up. These remarks need not make sense. Read the rest of this entry »

On Dating

The best way to improve your dating life is to stop thinking of dates as a means to an end, i.e. an expensive outlay of resources in exchange for possible sex. Instead, think of each date as a self-contained experience that would be well worth your time and money even if things don’t end up working out between you and the girl. I personally suggest Celtics games, strip clubs, and hiking. Be active. Be efficient. Specifically, don’t do things on dates that you wouldn’t want to do were it not a date. If you think a day looking at glorified silly string at the MFA with Hist&Lit girl is going to end with a blowjob, well, the blowjob would have to be fluffer caliber to compensate for the headache.

Dates should never be stressful. They should be exciting, energetic, creative, a chance to try something new and show off what an incredible person you are. That early dating stage is when you’re both still putting your best faces forward. Afterwards, the girl gains ten pounds and stops shaving her legs. You start reminiscing about your time on kibbutz and how at least then, love was free. No, but really. Dates are fun! Read the rest of this entry »