The best date spots on campus, according to r/uoft

Does dating at U of T even exist?

The best date spots on campus, according to r/uoft

Valentine’s Day is upon us, and out of concern for my fellow students, I wanted to share some valuable knowledge. I decided to turn to that paragon of expertise, the U of T subreddit, to see what other students were deeming as our campus’ most romantic venues.

“Hoping you guys can tell me of some interesting date ideas and places to take a girl around campus,” posted one account about three months ago. They received a number of suggestions, ranging from restaurants and bars to activities and romantic locations on campus itself.

Some restaurants in the area mentioned by r/uoft included Thai Basil, Famoso’s, El Trompo, and Fresh. Activity-based venues were also suggested, like board game cafés such as Snakes & Lattes or Tilt, the arcade-themed bar on Brunswick Avenue. Users also mentioned that students have free admission to the Royal Ontario Museum on Tuesdays and to the Art Gallery of Ontario on Wednesdays from 6:00–9:00 pm.

Those willing to brave the cold might want to check out Philosopher’s Walk or U of T’s various quads, including those at University College, Trinity College, or Knox College. For those willing to travel a little further from campus, there were several areas mentioned as worthy of exploration on a date, like Kensington Market or the Distillery District.

Other students had more cynical responses to this query. “There is no dating at U of T, there is only pain,” wrote one user.

“There’s a pretty titillating 137 lecture with Alfonso three times a week,” wrote another, likely referring to Professor Alfonso Gracia-Saz’s calculus lectures, which take place on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from either 9:00–10:00 or 10:00–11:00.

Other users were more concerned about venues where they would be able to screen their potential dates. In response to a year-old query from one user, someone suggested Future Bistro. “I have started a ton of downtown dates at Futures; it is an excellent way to ‘make sure they aren’t a serial killer’ place.”

When they posted on r/uoft eight months ago, one user hadn’t quite made it to the ‘in a relationship’ phase, stating that they were an engineering student and had observed that there seemed to be more female students in arts programs.

“Is the dating scene such that you go up to a girl and ask for their number and text for a bit, then go on a date?” they asked. “Is it more complicated and do you have to try harder when it comes to UofT girls?”

“It’s common knowledge that UofT girls are vastly different from other girls,” wrote another user. “I’ve heard there’s some molecular biology research going on… the general consensus among the scientific community is that girls that go to UofT may share a different common ancestor than other ‘normie’ girls and could possibly even be, dare I say, inhuman.”

There’s no shortage of locations around U of T to take your significant other. The hardest part will probably be finding the significant other. I shudder to think of the state of Tinder during midterm season — but readers, go forth and prosper. I’ll save the ‘where to have sex on campus’ posts for another article.

How to survive cuffing season at U of T

Could we possibly have been cuffed all along?

How to survive cuffing season at U of T

Cuffing season is upon us, which means millennials are sliding into DMs at 2:00 am on a Wednesday night, trying to convince themselves that being ‘cuffed’ isn’t as bad as they initially thought. Or they’re tweeting Tumblr quotes and reposting Insta-poetry to combat the emptiness of being incredibly single.

Cuffing season refers to the period of fall and winter during which singles will attempt to find a relationship in an attempt to be cuffed during the colder seasons. In the past, non-University of Toronto students have told me that the best way to survive cuffing season is to party all day, every day. The internet’s suggestions include buying body pillows, binge drinking, and going for brunch.

But none of these tips are suitable for the average U of T student taking a full course load, overworking themselves with endless extracurricular involvement, and setting their hearts on finding the cure to a rare disease.

Since there are still at least two more months left until cuffing season is over, here is a guide to surviving cuffing season at U of T.

Go on ACORN and look at your GPA

U of T is a prestigious school, and only the smartest, brightest high school students are admitted each year. Despite being the most intelligent group of individuals in the country, U of T students are not immune to the feeling of loneliness and the overwhelming weight of singledom.

When feeling sorry for yourself due to your lack of a significant other, log onto ACORN and admire your 4.0. Non-U of T students find us intimidating because of our genius minds — it’s not our fault people can’t handle our brains. A 4.0 will always be sexier than being cuffed.

Find love with Northrop Frye

The saying goes, “Men always cheat and, eventually, leave,” or so I’ve been told by the Polish ladies at my job. But living at Victoria College has assured me that this sexist statement is inaccurate. Since my first year at U of T, a lot of men have disappointed me, and many did abandon me.

But Northrop Frye has always been my constant. He’s always been there for me. When I fail to make time for him, he doesn’t take my absence personally. He has definitely cheated on me, but cuffing season only mandates a relationship — not a serious, monogamous one. More importantly, he’s a great listener.

Recall Ivan Reznikoff

Romantic love and U of T don’t always work well together. We have to maintain our GPAs and keep making ignorant and hurtful memes based on our mantra of being the number one school in the country.

When you start to feel an inkling of loneliness, remind yourself how romance has historically ended at U of T — like Reznikoff, for example. If he and another man hadn’t fallen in love with the same woman, he wouldn’t be haunting the halls of University College. The correct lesson to draw from this is that U of T students who try to pursue love will end up haunting the campus for the rest of their lives.

Remember: at convocation, you will acquire a U of T degree

Shortly after graduating, you will be receiving pamphlets from U of T asking for alumni donations. U of T is in it for the long run, and everyone knows commitment is important for a healthy relationship.

In the book Is He or Isn’t He?, John Hall claims that “sometimes what you’re looking for is right under your nose and you don’t even know it.” That could not be truer for U of T students — U of T has literally always been here for us. We wear U of T’s clothes, talk about U of T to our friends and family, and all of us have been inside U of T. Maybe we’ve been in an intimate, committed relationship all along, and we didn’t even know it.

Happy cuffing season!

Explaining Tinder to your grandmother

Shedding the stigma of online dating, and unveiling its unexpected benefits

Explaining Tinder to your grandmother

At Christmas dinner with my extended family, the classic uncomfortable investigation came from the elders: how are the boys? Cue a snarky jab from my younger brother about everyone’s favourite swiping app, and I ended up in the unfortunate position of having to explain the concept of Tinder to my grandmother. 

How would you explain and defend Tinder to someone who was born the same year the British left India? On the surface, the app apparently marks the decline of romance, given its infamous reputation for facilitating one-night stands. This, in turn, leads to a stigmatization of its ability to actually foster long-lasting relationships.

In fact, many of my peers seem inclined to create fake ‘how we met stories’ after finding and dating someone on Tinder, in order to sidestep this stigma. A good friend of mine has been dating her boyfriend for around three months. While we referred to him as ‘Tinder boy’ when they were unofficially hanging out, she slowly transitioned to referring to him as ‘Starbucks boy’ when she realized he was sticking around. The Starbucks ‘how we met’ story was initially created solely for ‘meeting the family’ purposes. Yet, she began to rely on it more and more when everyone seemed to delegitimize the origins of the romance.

It is strange that we ridicule Tinder as a means of romantic interaction, especially given that it is so popular among our generation. While no one can pinpoint the exact moment we went from flower petals and ‘he loves me, he loves me not’ to ‘swipe right, swipe left,’ it’s clear that online courtships has  taken the world by storm.

A 2011 Leger Marketing study showed that 36 per cent of Canadians between the ages of 18 and 34 used dating apps. Over 50 per cent of Tinder’s user base are between the ages of 18 and 24, which coincides with the peak ages for university attendance. 

Certainly, there are those who have not succeeded in, or simply avoided, the Tinder-verse. This is presumably because many of us haven’t yet unpacked the social stigma of meeting a significant other on an app that was initially marketed as a hook-up tool, even though Millenials are comfortable with using Tinder as a pastime.

Perhaps Tinder isn’t as romantic as bumping into someone in the hall of Sidney Smith, stooping to pick up the books you dropped, and gazing into one another’s eyes for the first time. Yet, as much as we may long for those moments, real life is not a romantic comedy.

Whether you’re introduced by friends or meet in an elevator, there’s an inordinate amount of luck involved in meeting someone right for you. Millenials are busy, and we don’t always have time to wait around for cupid. It’s a good thing that we make our own luck, and Tinder — amongst other dating apps — is incredibly helpful in facilitating that. Such technology merely represents a different, form, rather than a  deterioration, of communication.

At least for the next little while, Tinder is here to stay, and its customer base grows every day. So, while my own parents met at a high school party in Whitby, “how we met stories” may be markedly different in 10 years. Perhaps that’s not such a bad thing.

Nish Chankar is a second-year student at Trinity College studying economics and international relations. She is also the associate vice-president, equity of the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU); the views expressed here are her own.