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.

Alone on February 14? Try ‘Valentine’s Slay’

The benefits of embracing singledom on the most romantic holiday of the year

Alone on February 14? Try ‘Valentine’s Slay’

With Valentine’s Day upon us once again, U of T students are beset by an intense urge to enjoy a nice, romantic evening filled with red wine, white chocolate, and pink heart emojis. In reality, this isn’t always an option. Many of us find ourselves single by the time February rolls around and must spend the day of love alone.

Valentine’s Day is an emotionally exhausting holiday. It’s common for people in relationships on V-Day to expect bitterness from single people or to look at them with pity — even if they enjoy being single. This can cause singles to wonder whether there might be something wrong with them.

Cupid is a pretty popular guy — most of society eats up all of his propaganda. Google searches show countless magazines, newspapers, and blogs running stories on “gifts for him” or “gifts for her” or “gifts for 2018.” This love-crazy and deeply consumerist holiday ostracizes those who are single and makes us second-guess our own lives simply because it’s so normalized in our culture to prioritize romantic gratification over other ideals.

We can challenge this climate together — and if we really examine the circumstances of being single on Valentine’s Day, we might realize that the situation can actually be preferable to the alternative.

First and foremost, it’s cheaper to be single. With Christmas and Valentine’s Day only a month and a half apart — not to mention the countless birthdays that might pass in between — these holidays always manage to hit us where it hurts: our wallets. Last year, I had friends ask to borrow money to buy Christmas gifts for their beaus, else complain that they needed to pick up extra shifts to cover holiday expenses. While Christmas spending feels more justifiable due to its selfless and family-focused nature, Valentine’s Day has no such excuse. Last year, Canadians spent an average of $58 on each gift, not including dinner or new outfits. This year, CNBC reports that over half of American consumers are expected to spend $143.56 each on Valentine’s shenanigans. Singles on Valentine’s Day, however, get to save every dime they can.

Those without significant others can also use this time to do special things for themselves. You can be almost certain that parties and friends won’t distract you on Valentine’s Day, with the majority of people too preoccupied with dating or moping about not dating. At Bustle, they suggest everything from “Galentine’s Day” to shopping to trying out new recipes.

As university students caught between social prospects and academic performance, we should relish the opportunity to be free of both sets of constraints. In this way, we can use Valentine’s Day as a period of self-actualization.

Finally, choosing to enjoy a Valentine’s Day on your own is empowering. A relationship is so much more satisfying when you don’t need it to validate your existence, or when the fear of being lonely does not motivate your attachment. Really consider what a big statement it is to just enjoy your Valentine’s Day instead of dreading it. We have no one to answer to when it comes to our singlehood. Our lives are fully our own, and we can take pride in spending the day by ourselves, because there is absolutely no shame in that. If we choose to accept our realities without excuses or explanations, we can forgive ourselves for not being where we thought we’d be or where society tells us we should be, and we can teach others to treat us with that respect and compassion as well.

The most important thing to remember about Valentine’s Day is that it’s optional. You can choose to spend it in whatever way best fits you and your current situation. Though it may feel disappointing to not have a significant other, there are so many significant people in our lives that prevent us from ever being truly alone. So enjoy your half-priced chocolate on February 15 and support your completely deserved, self-centred ‘Valentine’s Slay.’

Jenisse Minott is a third-year student at UTM studying Communications, Culture, Information, and Technology and Professional Writing. She is The Varsity‘s Associate Comment Editor.

In photos: Valentine’s Day

A photo essay on the value of the self

In photos: Valentine’s Day

As Carrie Bradshaw eloquently put, “Don’t forget to fall in love with yourself first.” Single students might often see couples around campus and hear love songs on the radio, and wonder why they cannot find that significant other for themselves. Society has time and again reinforced the notion that, in order to be complete as individuals, we must be accompanied by someone else. However, instead of spending our time consumed with the worry of finding that person this Valentine’s Day, we should first learn to love ourselves and ensure that we are putting what we love first. The most important thing to remember is that you cannot fully love someone else until you truly love yourself.

This Valentines Day, show yourself a little love. Elizabeth Dix/THE VARSITY

This Valentines Day, show yourself a little love. Elizabeth Dix/THE VARSITY

We have transformed love into an object that must be attained – the idea that our whole life is an ongoing scavenger hunt to reach the goal of finding that one right person.

There is nothing inherently wrong with trying to find love. The problem is that we become so preoccupied with the search that, in the midst of trying to find it, we forget about ourselves.

We have been programmed to believe our worth is quantified by who we date, how many people we have dated, and how attractive we come across to others. We forget that our value cannot be found in another person, but rather, in who we are as individuals.

We spend so much time swiping left and right, looking for attention at the bar, and attempting to get noticed by an attractive person in a lecture that we don’t invest nearly enough time into ourselves.

How can we become more in tune with ourselves?

Explore: Explore your interests and meet new people by checking out clubs, joining an intramural team, volunteering with an organization, or even striking up a conversation with someone at the gym! The more you try new things, the more you will discover your likes and dislikes. If you do what you love and pursue your own interests, you’ll meet people who share the same passions as you, accept you, and you’ll feel a sense of belonging to a greater community. Ultimately, when you learn about yourself and pay attention to your needs, you’ll gain and cultivate the most fruitful of relationships.

Celine Markle photographed by Elizabeth Dix/The Varsity

Celine Markle photographed by Elizabeth Dix/The Varsity

Celine Markle photographed by Elizabeth Dix/The Varsity

Celine Markle photographed by Elizabeth Dix/The Varsity

Celine Markle photographed by Elizabeth Dix/The Varsity

Celine Markle photographed by Elizabeth Dix/The Varsity

Reflect: It is very beneficial to spend time alone; this time for reflection is crucial for self-development. Whether it is writing in a journal, spending time on your own, or pursuing a personal goal of yours, spending time away from others isn’t being antisocial or an introvert, it’s re-connecting with yourself. You can use this time to reflect upon where you are in your friendships, family, and school life. If you don’t feel accomplished in any of these areas, try to think about what you can do to improve your life and the lives of the people around you.

Jasmine Romero photographed by Elizabeth Dix/The Varsity

Jasmine Romero photographed by Elizabeth Dix/The Varsity

Jasmine Romero photographed by Elizabeth Dix/The Varsity

Jasmine Romero photographed by Elizabeth Dix/The Varsity

Engage: We often walk so hurriedly down the street to class, swerving in and around other students, that we don’t see the wonderful people we come in contact with each and every day. We assume that, since they aren’t constants in our lives, there is no need to acknowledge them. What if you took a step – even just a baby step – out of your comfort zone? Next time you’re walking to your next class, make eye contact with another student and smile! Ask them how their day is going! Be bold! Although the mere thought of interacting with a stranger stirs anxiety in many, the friendships you will open yourself up to by putting yourself out there is extraordinary. There are many opportunities to take in the beautiful city that we call home.

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Disengage: How many hours do you spend aimlessly scrolling through Facebook, only to close it and find yourself updating your Snapchat and Instagram, all while trying to sort out a social dilemma on Messenger? Sometimes, the best way to connect with others is by disconnecting from social media. We feel the need to live our lives through a lens – we make sure Saturday night’s concert was filmed, we spend the whole party taking pictures with our friends, and we snap a picture of every restaurant meal we’ve ever eaten and post it online.

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What if we rejected the notion of trying to document the entirety of our lives on social media and instead enjoyed the moment sans camera. Close your Facebook, delete your Tinder (a seemingly horrifying prospect), and enjoy life away from technology. In return, life will grant you the opportunity to meet, socialize with, and, most importantly, enjoy the moment with like-minded people.

Left to right: Jasmine Romero, Sarah Leuverink, and Alisha Becharbhai photographed by Elizabeth Dix/The Varsity

Left to right: Jasmine Romero, Sarah Leuverink, and Alisha Becharbhai photographed by Elizabeth Dix/The Varsity

As February 14th approaches, stores put up romantic window displays, and chocolates are wrapped in pink ribbons, we may easily forget one of the most fundamental relationships – our relationship with ourselves. We go out of our way to compliment others, yet are first to criticize ourselves. This Valentines Day, show yourself a little love for a change.