Sunday, May 31

Throwback Thursday: Old-school college dating scene doesn’t seem so old-school, after all

(Daily Bruin archives)

Throwback Thursdays are our chance to reflect on past events on or near campus and relate them to the present day. Each week, we showcase and analyze an old article from the Daily Bruin archives in an effort to chronicle the campus’ history.

It’s spring, and, just like all the pollen that’s been driving me crazy, love is in the air.

That is, at least if you consider people taking to Twitter to complain about dating culture “love being in the air.”

Since I joined Twitter in 2014, I’ve seen people complain about how they want to go out onreal dates” and romanticize the pastoral and bygone era of oldschool dating. It seems like people our age just can’t find themselves on a good date anymore. All this time, I found it hard to believe that a whole generation could be failing at romance.

And that’s why I felt vindicated when I found out that the Daily Bruin has been criticizing these very same dating tropes since Feb. 2, 1965. In that year’s spring registration issue, then-society editor Paulette Benson dashed the hopes of first-year students who came to college with assumptions about what dating in college looks like.

“The average UCLA male will not have the money to take you places where they wear those ‘darling’ discotheque dresses, or that chic black little outfit,” Benson wrote. It turns out college students were just as broke then as they are now. What a surprise.

Of course, that didn’t mean students were without hope. Benson went on to detail some of the more popular inexpensive date options students could make use of, which, it turns out, aren’t very different from what students are used to now.

“For the price of the liquid refreshment (if it’s BYOB) a girl and her date can dance … or discuss the merits of the Free Speech Movement,” wrote Benson, accidentally inventing what may be the most boring date I’ve ever heard of – a variation of the party date so many of us are already familiar with.

But if this is the old-fashioned kind of date people are looking far, they need look no further than to their nearest frat row, where parties like this are a weekly occurrence.

Benson argued the party date’s biggest rival is the coffee or study date. It seems we’re not all that different from our “old-fashioned” counterparts after all.

But I get it. Just because the old-fashioned dates so many of us have been hoping for were never real at all, doesn’t mean they haven’t gotten old. And now that midterm season is in full swing, we’re all looking for ways to lift our spirits.

For that, we turn yet again to Benson, who, in a stroke of redemptive genius, recommends that new lovers try going to the beach and taking a long walk as the sun sets.

If that’s not your speed, you can also cool off and have fun all at once. Just buy blocks of ice and slide down a grassy hill with your date. The hill next to the Janss Steps seems the perfect location for prospective dategoers. Just make sure you don’t hit Powell cat on the way down.

Senior staff columnist

Said was an assistant Opinion editor from 2018-2019. He previously contributed as an opinion columnist for the section and writes about issues surrounding diversity and student life. He also manages the Daily Bruin's various podcasts.

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