Sunday, February 10, 2008

No Diving: Sticking a Toe in the Law School Dating Pool

"Dating as a grad is like trying to execute a perfect, 1 and 1/2 twist dive--into the shallow end. Of the kiddie pool."
-- Funny Mean Friend, on the Grad School dating scene *

When FMF is dead on, well...she's dead on. More power to all of you in your shiny happy little grad school relationships- y'all are the Olympians of the dating scene, I swear it.

Being single in law school isn't such a bad gig, really. What with the omnipresence of Roommate, it is extremely unlikely that I will, you know, die of exposure and be eaten by my own cats, at least during the school year (Roommates are great for fending off this eventuality). Also, it enables me to self-indulgently wallow in my own lameness/couch/Kahlua without forcing it on anyone else, which is nice. Plus, no sharing! In my world, thats not such a bad thing. This is because I am Not a Nice Person, and do not like having to play nice, even for free steak.

Now that it's early February, the social order has started to sort itself out, and it appears that those relationships which survived/evolved through The Great Shuffle that was fall semester are fairly serious ones. It was eerie to look around at lunch this week and discover that nearly all of my little 1L buddies were coupled off, either within or outside the law school.** We've reached the phase in the year where the random hookups start to either die off or coalesce into relationships.

At this point in the game, it appears that, fortunately or unfortunately, the single among us are liable to stay that way for a while. Why, you ask? Well, in honor of the upcoming holiday, let me tell you:

1. Law School is Like High School, With More Drama & Less Action:
Oh really? You didn't want the entire school to know about your crush on Bobby Jo? Too late now, because its the first thing on everyone's lips, and flirty eyes in Contracts on Monday has turned into "OMG! Bobby Jo and Sally Sue DID IT. In the STACKS!"***

The high level of 'up in your business' that flushes through the law school (really, what else are we to talk about?) isn't exactly conducive to relationships, unless you've got catlike stealth and a killer poker face. Oh. And you never ever leave your house, because, lord knows, law students all hang out at the same places.

2. The Odds Are Good...But the Goods are Odd:
Aside from my dashing readers, who I am sure redeem themselves with their rippling abs, stunning wit, and sheer sex appeal, the pickings are...shall we say...."slim."

Slim, naturally, being a figurative term, since the legal crowd tends to occupy the grounds of "pleasantly plushy" or "uncomfortably emaciated" ("unwashed and malnourished," a secondary category, covers the bulk of the above as well). Maybe its the cold weather, but we're all looking a little marshmallowy these days. Have I been spoiled by a world of premier athletes and warm sun? Probably. Do I mind this slackening of the hotness standard? Eh. It swings both ways, you see. And, being blessed with adorably pert little features, it is refreshing, if a little bewildering, to be the Hot Girl for a while.

None the less, once the Marrieds and the Don't Swing That Ways are filtered out, and the Committeds and the Really Ought to Be Committed's sorted through, the dredges start to look more like what I pull out of my sink on Saturday afternoon, and less like what I want to be making eyes across the bar at on Saturday night. Once we've filtered through these dredges for friend potential, and controlled for the Drama contingent, the options are...limited.
Granted, we could date outside the law school, but that would mean we'd have to socialize outside the law school...and we all know that's just a figment of our imagination, anyway.

3. Nobody Likes a Lawyer:
There is a reason all those lawyer jokes exist. Sure, some of us are nice people, but (and I speak from experience here) we are not all that easy to date...In a vast overgeneralization, I must say that the personality traits which mark our class are sometimes counterproductive to relationships:

  • We are always right
  • We are unreasonably loud
  • As 1Ls, we move in a herd- this means mind-numbing repetition of the same stories, same jokes, from nine different people, on matters you've already experienced first hand. Because we're ALWAYS together.
  • We are intensely competitive
  • We are frequently self absorbed
  • We know a little of everything, but most of it isn't all that useful
  • We are not good party guests: we will drink all your alcohol, fight about it, and then make ridiculous "tort feasor" jokes until dawn
Put two of us in a room together, and its possible the megalomania may actually light a table on fire. Which, while it might lend a cozier ambiance to the situation, tends to be more dangerous than romantic.

4. Law Students are Crazy:
I mean really. If our willingness to come here in the first place isn't proof enough, go read a blog or two. Please see "Really Ought to Be Committeds," issue #2. We are not normal people. In large groups, we are subject to mob rule & mass hysteria. We make really, really lame jokes. We want to grow up to be lawyers. We're kind of mean. We own 12 different kinds of highlighter, and can color-code our entire life on a post-it note. It is NOT a pretty sight.


So there we stand. Grad school/law school dating is a funny, funny beast, and it only gets weirder from here, I fear, so I think I'm going to stand with trepidation on the edge that pool for just a while longer. Bad news, Single & Looking 1L: you're going to have to get thee to Match.com if you're seeking a lil V-Day love. Just, for the love of all that's holy, stay out of the stacks. It gets crazy in there this time of year.



*(Seriously, have you gone to read her blog yet? Because you need to. Get a move on. It will build character)

**(This did momentarily make me realize that I might die alone, with my cats...we know how the story goes from there. If Roommate ever leaves me, I'm getting something more on the herbivore side of things. Like dairy cows!)

***(Really, who hasn't?)

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...How dreary—to be—Somebody!
How public—like a Frog—
To tell one's name—the livelong June—
To an admiring Bog!
-- Emily Dickinson