A College Student’s Guide To Rambler Romance

Do people like it when someone holds the door for them? Is ghosting mean? These are a few of many questions that may plague the minds of singles navigating today's dating scene. Nonetheless, understanding dating do's and don'ts can be a tricky endeavor that may quickly lead to embarrassment. When you’re already dealing with the …

Do people like it when someone holds the door for them? Is ghosting mean? These are a few of many questions that may plague the minds of singles navigating today’s dating scene.

Nonetheless, understanding dating do’s and don’ts can be a tricky endeavor that may quickly lead to embarrassment. When you’re already dealing with the litany of other embarrassments accompanying young adulthood, it’s nice for things to feel easy. 

There’s no clear right or wrong answer to these questions, but there are right avenues to answering them in your day-to-day life. In the style of The Cut’s 194 etiquette rules for everyday life, here are six rules to make navigating the dating scene a little easier. 

Chivalry isn’t dead — as long as you’re not weird about it.

Online misogyny is back in vogue, according to CNN. The “manosphere,” a term used to describe a loosely connected sphere of podcasters, TikTokers and influencers that advocate for male domination over women, has been gaining more traction in the past few years.

These men tell their audiences they need to be of “high value” in order to meet anyone, which means doing “traditionally manly” things — and buying their how-to courses. These courses are often advertised as guides on how to pick up women, but in the past have acted as guides on how to recruit women into webcam schemes and trap them there in the case of Andrew Tate, according to Vice

Despite its often performative nature, chivalry as a concept isn’t dead — a kind act is likely to be appreciated. Whether it’s through opening a door before getting into a car or offering to pay on the first date, showing courtesy to a partner or crush is going to make a great first impression. Just don’t be weird about it.

Don’t talk about how you’re going to pay for a first date meal because “that’s what real men do,” and then in the same breath complain that women only want to go on dates for free food. Don’t tell your date that they look good in a way that they are clearly uncomfortable with because to you their attractiveness makes you look like a high-value partner. 

Not smelling bad is a universal love language. 

If you spend a lot of time in crowded lecture halls or on the shuttle, you probably have a story about standing or sitting next to someone who smelled awful. The worry of smelling day-old baloney while trying to watch “Knock at the Cabin” is a universal first date fear.

Stories like these can serve as a cautionary tale when going out on a date with someone new. Spending hundreds of dollars on perfume or cologne isn’t necessary, but at the least brushing your teeth is. College can get busy, but never no-time-for-a-five-minute-shower busy.

It’s nicer to be direct about not wanting to talk to someone anymore. But if you’re going to ghost someone, disappear.

In a world where face-to-face conversation isn’t always the default method of communication, it can be really tempting to cut off all communication with someone you might not be interested in anymore, according to the Institute of the Future of Education. But dropping off the face of the Earth to the person in your Tuesday morning psychology class isn’t the nicest. 

There’s no harm in gently telling someone you’re just not interested in them anymore. Save the poetic, “I’m just not feeling a spark” text and avoid the blunt “I’m not attracted to you” message — something sweet and simple will do.

But if you are going to ghost someone for any reason, you need to disappear. They should think you’ve either transferred or tossed your cell phone into Lake Michigan because of how little they see or hear from you. Loyola’s campus isn’t all that big either, so be sure you have an escape route planned should you make eye contact across the Sheridan crosswalk. 

If you make the choice to drop out of someone’s life so suddenly, you have to commit to it for their sake. 

If you’re in a situationship and want something more permanent, you have to say something. 

In a similar vein, communicating with the people in your life who occupy the strange gray area between friend and partner is incredibly important. If you want something more out of your relationship, you have to tell them. Most people you’ll meet won’t be able to read minds so make your intentions clear once you figure out what those intentions are. 

It can be scary to navigate these conversations, especially when it’s uncertain whether or not the other person wants the same thing you do. But there’s no need to worry — if your partner values your relationship, you will be able to work it out together.

If you need to have a serious conversation, do it in person.

No one wants to be told they’re being broken up with through a five-paragraph essay. It’s inconsiderate to the person on the receiving end and can seem like you don’t care. 

It’s more difficult to work through the emotional nuances of an argument through an Instagram DM, according to Forbes. You lose a bit in translation over text and meeting in person can convey the gravity of the situation and how you feel about it more easily. 

If a quick coffee shop meeting won’t work, a phone call will suffice. Just don’t subject your soon-to-be exes to a treatise. 

Don’t get into a relationship with anyone in your building — especially if you live on the same floor.

This is especially applicable for underclassmen, who both live in dorms and are still largely figuring out how to best navigate dating in college. The reasons are simple enough — you will see them again, and it will be weird. 

Do you really want to be in the laundry room at the same time as someone you had a thorny break-off with? Unless your relationship ended incredibly well, it will be difficult to move past the awkwardness when you’re both constantly passing each other on the way back to your room. 

Suite-style or communal, there’s no place you won’t see that other person once you’ve broken up. There’s a chance you might see their new partner as well, which can be an aching punch to the stomach after the initial break-up. It’s best to avoid it entirely. 

Featured image courtesy of Hanna Houser

Audrey Hogan

Audrey Hogan