‘Dating Doctor’ prescribes wrong dose to campus singles

I would never attend a dating advice seminar voluntarily. The whole idea reminds me of being 40 and alone, depressed and in a suburban Hampton Inn. Does anyone here want any of those things? No? Shocking. Speaking as a single, strong, independent 18-year-old male, I like to think that I do not need anybody’s help when it comes to finding a compatible mate. But when last Thursday night came around and I wanted to avoid studying for my art history quiz, suddenly the idea of going to one of those things did not seem so bad.

I’m sure you saw at least some of the promotional materials for the self-proclaimed “Dating Doctor,” David Coleman. Flyers emblazoned with his achievement of becoming the “2011 Entertainer of the Year,” as decided by Campus Activities Magazine (which is, apparently, a real thing) were all over Paresky. As his performance time approached and the seats in Baxter Hall appeared nearly empty, Coleman proved unafraid of some good old-fashioned self-promotion as he stood up in the dining hall and implored students to come listen to what he had to say.

He was pretty successful in this endeavor, and though it seemed unlikely, the space was soon filled with students. “I’m here as a joke!” their side-glances seemed to say. “I don’t really need this. I love being single! College!” Of course. I’m right there with you.

Coleman’s presentation towed the line between advice and comedy. His seemingly endless supply of bad pick-up lines got him consistent laughs, making me wonder, are there any good pick up lines? He seemed almost desperate to emphasize inclusivity, constantly affirming that his client base consists of both men and women, who identify as gay, straight and everything in between. He often asked for participation from the audience, adding that we had the opportunity to ask any question we wanted, a privilege his clients pay $1000 an hour to gain.

Coleman talked pretty extensively about break-ups. He gave a standard timetable for getting “over” someone: two weeks for every month, and two months for every year you were together. That would explain why I absolutely, definitely, for sure do not ever still think about that person I hooked up with once at First Fridays! Sometimes, breaking up can be a murky issue. The line of what dating is can get blurred at the College (breaking news, I know). If you were never really “with” someone, do you ever really break up with them? No matter the semantics, college dating always seems to suck.

A shockingly small portion of the evening was spent talking about what we were all really there for – sex. Where were the tips? Tricks? Positions? More than anything, sex was used for comedic effect. The crowd burst into laughter as one student asked Coleman about the proper way to go about initiating group sex. He used it as a punch line after asking the audience to name and describe their favorite body of water, revealing that this supposedly reveals their sexual preferences. Then again, my answer was Niagara Falls because it is “fast, wet and powerful.” I have to admit, that is funny material. In a way, the whole show felt kind of like a real relationship: you spend most of the time wondering what you’re doing there, some of the time asking your friends what they think and then occasionally awkwardly bringing up sex and feeling like a middle schooler for giggling at the word “penis.”

There was one thing Coleman said that really stuck with me. “Never look for someone who will complete you. You have to be complete yourself before you can even consider bringing someone else into your life.” I have a conflicting reaction to this statement. On the one hand, it makes total sense. No wonder so few people find their one and only at this age. We’re all still changing, still growing. I can certainly say that I don’t even know what my major is, let alone who I am or what I want in a life partner (even that term seems horrible and scary as I write it)! Yet on another level, why were we all there? Why were a few hundred supposedly happily single people in Baxter, listening to this stranger tell them what to look for and what to avoid?

We can try and be complete on our own, but sometimes there is a gap that only another person can fill. Think of your life without your best friend, without your family. We all have holes that other people patch up for us. It is safe to assume that you can only depend on yourself, and maybe that is true. But it feels so much better to know that someone else is a part of you, to know that you are an invaluable part of their life. I cannot say that everyone here feels the same way, but I don’t think that I am the only one.

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