Love is a drag, except when it’s not. In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, students shared the highs and lows of their university love lives.
Three’s a Crowd
In my Film History course at Innis Town Hall, I became fast friends with a peppy girl who sat five seats away from me during the first few weeks of class. We had a good system going, sharing notes and making jokes. Then one day, a tall, painfully shy boy who sat a row above us interjected when I asked her a question, and soon after, he began to sit with us. Through lectures and film screenings, we stayed loyal to our little seating arrangement.
I don’t really know when it happened, maybe when I discovered the mysterious boy had great taste in music, but I developed a crush on him. But no matter how eager and hopeful I was, there was always a distance between us. When our mutual friend would skip class, which was surprisingly often, the boy would leave an empty seat between us, or awkwardly fill it with his backpack during darkened film screenings.I finally understood where the boy’s intentions lay when my friend and I got out of our tutorial on the third floor of Innis College one day to find him waiting for her by the single row of desks, killing time with assigned readings. His advances were timid, but he never failed to wait for her every week. I tried to remain content playing the friend, but luckily I could stop when our union didn’t endure past the school year.
The last place one might expect to fall in love would be a Political Theory class located in the bleak, poorly-lit lecture hall of New College (what up, Wilson Hall 1016). This unfortunate setting, however, did not obscure my ability to truly fall for the ethnically-ambiguous, beauteous young man in my class.
While our noticeably aged professor spoke of Marx theory of class struggle and the welfare state, I shifted my head slightly and fixed my attention on the boyfriend of my dreams (this prediction was based purely on appearance and course choice).The best part? We shared a tutorial session. Our chance of interaction increased tenfold. He walked in one cold January wearing an Urban Outfitters cardigan with two red stripes on the arm. I owned the exact same cardigan, and took it as a green light from the universe. We were meant to be. Taste in clothing must translate to fruitful compatibility, right?I played the self-assured young female thing and found him on Facebook, added him and sent him a quick “I think we’re in the same polisci tutorial?” The subtext read, “I know you are, let’s hang out and DO IT.” We ended up dating briefly after. It didn’t work out, but I will always have a place in my heart for that purely authentic university style interaction. I can’t think of a better setting than U of T’s dim, fluorescent lecture halls.—Navi Lamba
I was nervous about coming out, but I finally told a guy whose attention I had been trying to get for ages, since we met at the dining hall. It was only after that moment that he started to notice me, tried to get to know me, and invited me to sleep over. As my first real intimate “relationship” continued, I still felt really distant from him. After asking what he considered us, and getting “I’d rather not put a label on it” as a response, I figured it was just fun for him and he didn’t actually care. A long-time friend came to visit me at residence a few weeks after this had started, and came out to me. He slept over and … well … things happened. After he went back home, I told my “friend-with-benefits” what had happened. He seemed distraught, and disappointed I would do such a thing. Sorry, for ruining what I didn’t know we had. And sorry, for trying to apologize to you for the rest of the year. Thanks though, for giving me a try.—Anonymous
I would always notice this guy in my art history course at Sidney Smith. He would often wear a black vest over a light blue dress shirt and had several interlocking bracelets on his left arm. I would peer at him from across the lecture hall. The next semester we were in a smaller classroom and I decided to get a bit closer to him, so I started sitting right behind him. I enjoyed seeing him cross his legs, playing with his curly hair and ever so elegantly typing on his laptop. At first, his physical appearance attracted me to him, but then I started to notice him browsing fashion and art blogs, and suddenly my urge to be in his life grew more intense. I wanted to talk to him about everything. I wanted to do things with him, like get drunk off free wine at gallery openings or down 40s of Olde English on hot summer days at Trinity Bellwoods. I had a great desire to hug him every time I saw him. I’m a male, I’m straight, and I had a girlfriend at the time. I wasn’t sexually attracted to him, I just wanted to be a part of his life.—Michel Herzog
In my first week of classes, I went to a five-buck lunch event at Hart House. The meal was chicken and odd pea-looking things; the room was a beautiful banquet hall; I was alone and didn’t know anyone there. It was in this frame of mind that I came upon a second-year music student with yellow hair and giant headphones. He was alone too. We became fast friends in a matter of minutes. We exchanged details — names, what faculty we were in, our intended majors. He was from a small town in Alberta, and had just transferred to U of T. I came to learn other things — jazz musicians that he was really into, how he rejected an engineering scholarship for music a couple of years ago, and his love for European history.
I was as enamoured as you could get for being naïve and 17.A week later, a botched first date followed in which he told me about getting drunk at 13 and shooting signs and animals with rifles in Northern Alberta.I come from a conservative Muslim background, so I was kind of petrified. Guns? Alcohol? WHAT? Needless to say, we broke it off.—Anonymous
When we met in the Music Room at Hart House two years ago, I barely noticed him. But he persisted, and we started dating. Soon, perhaps too soon, we were sharing secrets, and sorrows, and promises of forever.
On a Saturday evening this past December, he told me he wanted to take a walk. As we wandered past Trinity College, he looked at me and remarked that much of our relationship has been tied to this campus. “Sure,” I said, not understanding.When we approached Hart House, icy drops of rain began to fall, and he steered me inside. In a quiet corner of the building, he held my face in his hands, kissed my forehead, and got down on one knee. He said wonderful things that I could not hear because my heart was pounding, and I was shocked and scared and so very, very happy.—Anonymous
Since coming to U of T, I’ve found that a repeated theme in my ‘romantic’ interactions on campus has been missed connections. I’ll see someone who I find attractive, but the situation won’t be right for me to approach them, or the timing will be off. There was once a guy in one of my tutorials who I thought was really cute. He made cheesy jokes, had a funny haircut, and possessed a sexily extensive understanding of history (only at U of T, I know). At the end of the last class, I finally approached him, and he told me all about his excitement over his impending move to a new country. Great.
This theme of poor timing has been mirrored during my time here by the popularity of the short-lived website LikeALittle
and its predecessors, the Facebook pages “UMentioned UToronto” and “UTSG Compliments.” One day, I was tabling for a club at Gerstein. A lot of guys passed by my table on their way to the library, and I mostly just sat and read, smiling at people as they passed, and offering to tell them about the group. My friend later pointed out to me that I had been mentioned on one of these pages by someone who had passed me by. He went slightly overboard describing my eyes, but it was a relief to realize that for all the guys I’ve noticed at U of T who will never know, there may be some who have noticed me too.—Danielle Klein
Last year, I was in a class I absolutely hated. But I was taking it with an acquaintance from home, K. I didn’t know K very well, but I’d thought she was cute since seventh grade. But for two months, I said almost nothing. Then, more than halfway through the course, I finally gathered my courage and went over to her post-lecture. And I said:
“So, uh, if you, uh, ever wanted to. Go to the library. Or something. I’d be okay with that.”This, apparently, was my idea of courage — inviting a cute girl to study in the most passive way possible.Now, while I had convinced K to do something with me, the day we went to the library I was late, I was in a foul mood and I was followed there by a very ill friend. I barely spoke to her. And after that disaster I didn’t speak to her for months.Cut to summer. I contacted K over Facebook. Just some casual conversation. Then I guess she got impatient. She invited me over to watch Buffy. We watched a while, we drank wine, we kissed a bit. And then I tried once more:“So. Tonight — this was really fun. And I. I was wondering. If you might, maybe, want. To do it again. But … with dinner?”It wasn’t eloquent. It was, however, an actual question that she could answer.Her answer — though God knows why — was yes.And somehow, we’ve been dating ever since.—D
We met on my first day of university. He was my frosh leader and I was a shy first-year, intimidated by my new surroundings. We both lived in residence and hung around similar people, but never really spoke to one another, later each admitting that we were too shy. A year and a half went by. He was no longer in residence and the only contact we had were brief moments passing each other on campus, each of us too busy, or too timid to share more than a “hey.” Annoyed by our lameness, fate intervened, and one cold January day I met him on the steps of uc; we were in the same class. In that big lecture hall, we connected. I nervously laughed at his jokes and our elbows touched in those cramped chairs. That same semester Robarts was transformed into a club; the event was called Party in the Peacock. I hosted a pre-drink and invited him. Later that night, we kissed for the first time! Yes, our first kiss was in the cafeteria space in Robarts. Perhaps not the most romantic place on campus, but, hey, at least there was a disco ball. It’s two years later and we are still going strong!—Anonymous