The Log Date: A Critical Review of the Traditions and Forms of Dating at Williams College – Quentin Cohan

Not without reason, the Log’s grand re-opening in November was accompanied with much fanfare and to-do. As great an (re-) addition as this is to the vibrant Williams College community, this researcher is not left without his worries. The primary one of these stemming from confusion as to where in the incredibly delicate Williams College Dating Hierarchy the, newly relevant, Log Date fits.

Granted, there are probably people on this campus who know more about Williams, dating, and Williams dating, than this researcher, but this researcher still thinks he has developed a fairly accurate understanding of said Hierarchy, (“Date” here being defined as: An exclusively social meeting planned more than 30 minutes advance of the meeting between two mutually attracted people, both of whom understand it as such) which, he believes, is as follows, from lowest to highest:

The Tunnel City Date: The couple has “Netflix and Chilled” (which this researcher believes to be a heavy-handed euphemism for an ostensibly wholesome social interaction when, in fact, everybody seems to know that the forthcoming activities will involve a decided dearth of pants and related undergarments) a few times, and now you have a nominally unspeakable mutual attraction, of which the agreement to meet in such a public place is the only acknowledgement. In fact, the public place-ness is a necessary element given the centrality in this date of declaring the attraction to others, and the ease of this at TC given the importance of seeing/being seen while there. (Addendum: The Lickety Split Date, with its exact ranking dependent on how the ranker feels about its general cutesy-ness cross-referenced against the fact that the time of the year it’s open is generally the primary incubator of Romance–colloquially known as “Cuffing Season”.)

The Dining Hall/Snack Bar Date: Basically the same as the above, the main difference, and reason it’s listed higher, being that the gambit “Would you like to get coffee with me or something?” (what that “something” is, though, is beyond the scope of this review) is almost exclusively an opening one, and that at this point the couple has moved on to engagements in the evening, which are generally perceived by the dating public to be of higher rank (here, however, the researcher will wager a hypothesis: These dates take place closer in time to the predominant period during which the intimate, or Fun-N-Games, elements of the relationship occur). This date, naturally, comes with its own sub-hierarchy, which is roughly as follows, from lowest to highest: snack bar, lunch, dinner (breakfast has been omitted because, as the reader will see, this whole date comes with so many technical complications that the idea of including breakfast is simply beyond the pale at the current moment). There is also a sub-hierarchy for dining halls, given that there are three on this campus, and that hierarchy would probably, given this researcher’s low opinion of dates in which making a statement to others is a major thesis of the date, arrange themselves, from lowest to highest, as Paresky, Mission, Driscoll (with a footnote for the fact that any dates at a meal of any kind in Mission by inhabitants of Mission being, of course, the lowest of the low). This, frustratingly comes with two complications: 1) What about the ’82 Grill, which is both the most intimate and least visible of the on-campus dining options, but offers a “date night”? And 2) Driscoll is the least-frequented dining hall, but having a date there could also come with the potential of wanting to seem super-private, so as to invite speculation into why these two want such privacy and creating buzz all the while appearing not to care about such high-school-style immaturity, which, naturally only creates more intrigue–and does nothing to answer the question of to what degree the couple wants to see/be seen. Both of which problems are much too vexing for this researcher to grapple with and thus (perhaps prematurely) end this section of the review.

The Restaurant Date: You go to a restaurant in the nearby environs. The reasons for this date being higher are, quite obviously, that restaurants are common sites for dating in what students at Williams College refer to as the “real world” and that the activity represents a solidly sizable monetary investment. The dominant school of thought holds that the sub-hierarchy here follows the relationship between quality (which this researcher will not discuss here, trusting, perhaps foolishly, the general perception–though he does, in fact, have one or two thoughts on the matter) and distance, with the ranking being (with just, for brevity’s sake, the most common dates listed here) from lowest to highest: Sushi Thai, Spice Root, Pera, Public, Mezze. This researcher, however, would rate a date at the Red Herring the highest, because he believes, that, other than Public, which is quite tasty, the food is the best (certainly if you’re in the mood for pub food; the burgers are To Die For), as well as the fact that its lack of pretension scares most people off, giving a date here a very high degree of difficulty in the see/be seen category.

The Date That’s A Date Because You’re Doing The Activity Together And You’re Dating And You Haven’t Seen Each Other, Like, All Week: Going to fucking Elizabeth’s.

We have now arrived at the “Log Date,” which this researcher would rate thusly:

The Log Date: The Log Date comes with several prickly thorns. Firstly, given its location, most people would, the researcher imagines, put it alongside a R Date. Following this train of thought, it belongs on the level of Spice Root, given that its beautiful decor and fancy-seeming food attract a higher quality of romance than Sushi Thai, for example, can service, but its connotation as “the student bar,” and the fact that both partners are taking advantage of that connotation via the student discount (which this researcher believes is a tacky ploy through which both participants attempt to impress the other with their possession of, and willingness to spend, cash while simultaneously trying not to spend it) knock it down from above Pera where it would otherwise be (though this researcher thinks Pera isn’t actually that good and shouldn’t be as highly ranked as it is to begin with). There is the complication, however, that the Log is not a restaurant in the same sense as the establishments previously considered. It does exchange food for currency, as do the dining halls notably, but the Log is more a commercial extension of other College-supported eateries than it is a restaurant in the traditional sense of the word. At the same time, though, it is not a dining hall. Therefore, after much investigation and meditation, this researcher is forced, perhaps thoughtlessly, to place the Log Date in between the DH/SB Date and an R Date. He would venture to say that it is the sort of place a couple might go to see/be seen by the all-important group of alumni that the Log and its board of directors are so dedicated to keeping well-fed.

One thought on “The Log Date: A Critical Review of the Traditions and Forms of Dating at Williams College – Quentin Cohan

  1. Altogether an okay article, but I don’t like the intimation that two people need to “netflix and chill” with the associated barely-concealed sexual activity before a Tunnel City date. Sex at this school has become an introduction rather than the fullest affirmation of a physical bond, and it is absolutely unnecessary when there are so many other beautiful ways to show affection for one another. That kind of expectation and social pressure to perform sexually before you can be considered a “real couple” is unhealthy for the heart and soul, and pressures people just looking for love into physical relationships, which at this school, more often than not, involve nothing but cold-hearted, selfish self-gratification on the part of at least one of the people involved.

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