They hover at the bar, lingering, waiting for the right moment to engage. Timing is everything at this moment. If he acts too soon he will scare her off. She’ll be able to sense that he was waiting for her to approach and she will get spooked. Wait too long, and he’ll miss his opportunity completely. Sound like the animal kingdom?
Sadly, this is what courtship looks like at the University of Connecticut. While waiting for a drink at the local watering hole, Huskies Bar and Restaurant (although there is no food to be found), I noticed the ways in which young men and women were engaging mimicked that of the African safari or the Amazon jungle. Each person, while indulging in watered-down vodka-crans, looked around to find a familiar face to fraternize with or a hot human to hold on to for the night.
Gone are the days of a dozen roses left at your door, simple yet sentimental text messages, and date nights consisting of dinner and a movie. Now the roses are the clothing you left at his apartment the night before, the simple text messages are inquiries about coming over after a night out, and dinner and a movie has morphed into what my generation calls Netflix and Chill.
He doesn’t care what your favorite color is, she doesn’t care if you prefer boxers or briefs, they just want to know when you’ll be home and if they can come over. If what you are wearing is tight enough and what he is saying sounds sincere enough, then you have found your mate—for the time being that is. This type of relationship, the one that comes with no labels and no feelings has a shelf life of about 2 months. When you’ve been with each other long enough someone is bound to catch feelings –catch them, yes, like it is a disease we can contract. Once one person catches these feelings the other is headed for the hills. Feelings, much less than any actual disease, are a big red flag.
Watching the baboons and hyenas mingle with the antelopes and giraffes at the bar is less like an episode of Planet Earth and more like the Real World. Socializing is not about making friends, but about finding someone to go home with. I’ve managed to distinguish a pattern amongst all the havoc. Have one drink too many and you’ll find yourself unable to even speak, not enough to drink and if anyone approaches you they’ll be talking to the hand. Five-six drinks seems to be the perfect balance between the two ends of the spectrum.
Although there are no tall trees, swinging vines, or beaming sunshine; Huskies is a jungle. Seeking a mate, for the time being, only to move on once you’ve become bored. A place where there can only be one winner, one alpha male. It is as hot, as dangerous, and as competitive as the jungle. The courtship of this territory is reminiscent of an eat or be eaten world. In order to successfully court a woman at the bar, you ask to buy her a drink and obtained her number in one fluid motion. If you fail to do any of these, you’ll be going home alone.
While I could sit in Huskies and watch the students mingle with one another, I think my time would be better spent at an actual restaurant, one with food that is. So as the students put their books away for a night and subject themselves to puddles of spilled drinks and close quarters I ask these questions. When did it become blasé to have emotions? Why would you spend so much time with someone you have no feelings for? And why do people keep drinking vodka-crans when they know they’ll wake up with a massive hangover!?