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The Engineer’s Guide to Romance

An Orientation Dating Guide

By D.M.

Welcome, freshmen! Let me guess, you just got to MIT and you’re looking for a hook-up. The only problem is you don’t know what the hell you’re doing. Well, that’s why I’m here to help you. If you want to get anywhere with anyone during orientation, follow this guide:

1. Personal hygiene goes a long way. You’d think that people would’ve learned this in health class, but it’s amazing how many people can just plain forget when they’re coding for 72 hours straight.

2. Be friendly. Initiating conversation is half the battle. Everyone here is just as clueless, lost, and eager to meet people as you are. Go ahead and introduce yourself. That applies equally to both men and women.

3. Be interesting. If initiating conversation is half the battle, then maintaining it is the second half. If your life is as bland and boring as Al Gore’s personality, go to #4.

4. Ask questions. If I’ve learned nothing else, I at least know this: people like to talk about themselves. A lot. Be inquisitive and get to know what this person is really like.

5. Don’t forget names. There is no bigger insult. Well, I guess calling them fat, ugly, and stupid could be worse. Just don’t get caught forgetting someone’s name when they remember yours. If you fail, have them introduce themselves to your friend. You’ll have another chance to learn their name.

6. Don’t be sketchy. There’s a thin line between friendly and too close for comfort. There’s also a thin line between being drunk and giving consent, but I won’t get into that. Wait, maybe I already did.

7. Young ladies, know this: you not only have freshmen guys seeking you out, but upperclassmen as well.

8. Young men, know this: you don’t have older women checking you out. However, Wellesley, an all-female college, is a short Senate Bus ride away (to find a date).

9. Don’t be desperate. Asking a guy out isn’t desperate. Asking him to sleep with you is.

10. Tower Court is a big party at Wellesley on Labor Day at night. Men and women are welcome to try their luck. Any fraternity will probably take you.

11. Under no circumstances should anyone in the incoming class of Wellesley students be called a freshman. Refer to them as “first-years.”

12. Bragging about your S.A.T., AP, or F.E.E. scores will not make people like you.

13. Take it slow. You’ve got four years at MIT to contract VD. You want to start your freshman year off with a bang, not with the clap. If you’re not going to wait a while, at least be smart about it. Free condoms are everywhere.

14. Don’t sell yourself short. Remember that there is always someone smarter, funnier, and better looking -- at another college in the area.

15. Don’t stalk people. That’s just plain scary. Following people around campus will get you slapped with a restraining order.

16. Don’t be afraid to defy typical gender roles. After all, this is the 21st century.

17. Be open-minded. You’re meeting people from different backgrounds, races, cultures, and countries. Be mindful of their cultural sensitivities. Like Jet Li in Fist of Legend, if you are able to be fluid and adapt, you will always be the victor.

18. I’d like to think that it’s a bad idea to ask people out over e-mail, but I guess that’s the only way some people can communicate.

19. Always be ready to make a good and lasting first impression. People are not going to remember everything about you. They will remember the stupid thing that you said or did when they first met you.

20. Give people a chance. They might surprise you. You might even surprise yourself.

All you need now is a little bit of confidence. Go out there and show them who you are.