The Liberal Art of Schmoozing – Til Death or “New York, New York” Do Us Part

The other day it dawned on me that some day I might find myself married, which led to a even scarier realization — in order to get married, someone has to like me. It is hard for me to fathom the fulfillment of this most unnerving yet seemingly trivial prerequisite. For me, the assumption that someone would choose to spend eternity with me seems especially farfetched. However, at that moment my harrowing inclination was displaced by a more immediate impulse, a funny thought and in a way a kernel of hope: what do Colgate couples tell their kids if they met in the Jug?

During our time at Colgate, the thought of marriage is about as imminent as the end of the world. Yet we probably think more about the opposite sex than we do about the Liberal Arts. It is said that nobody at Colgate dates, and people are quick to get caught up in the catch phrase “hook-up culture.” Indeed it is a weird phenomenon. The idea of asking a girl out on a date to the Colgate Inn is the ultimate faux pas, but asking that same girl to go back to your place after a night of drinking is the social norm. Only after multiple nights of hooking up could the notion of dating even come into play, and even then our idea of dating is so skewed it makes my Jewish mother’s hopes for grandchildren dwindle every time I try to explain it to her. I’ve had girlfriends at Colgate, and I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve gone out on a dinner date.

But before I give my mother a heart attack, I’ll admit that there seems to be hope for those of us with a Colgate diploma and no significant other. Something like ten percent of Colgate alumni are married to another Colgate grad. This means that there’s a ten percent chance that a girl I sat next to in the library, did a project with in class or spilled a drink on in the Jug could turn out to be my future wife. I apologize in advance. We’ll just tell our kids, “Son, your mother and I met over drinks one evening at the local campus gastro-pub, only to fall in love as we strolled home through the angelic autumn canopy of Willow Path.”

If the statistics don’t lie, that means one in ten of all my friends are going to have a Colgate wedding. I can’t imagine toasts from the Best Man and the open bar. I hope all of our friends have grown up and matured by then, but let’s be serious, what are the chances of that happening?

More importantly, what about all the other Colgate girls you “met at the Jug?” One can only hope none of them choose to go ahead and take advantage of “speak now or forever hold your peace.” In a place as tight knit as Colgate, the wedding would inextricably be filled with exes, mistakes, good times and Colgate spirit. Let’s just say it is extra important to scrutinize over seating arrangements.

So how is it that these seemingly benign Jug hookups somehow mature into the sanctity of wedding vows? Is there something in the water at Frank? The truth is, a place like Colgate cultivates a community where differences foster similarity. It is a place where we develop an understanding of ourselves in light of the experiences we have collectively while engaging with one another in the Colgate community. Colgate is more than just a university or an education — it is a common experience every graduate shares. That experience shapes us into the intelligent, free-thinking and jocular people we become. Ultimately, opposites only attract if you have enough similarities to stand the differences. It is Colgate which creates and highlights those similarities which allow us to appreciate the differences in one another. The experiences we have here will continue to shape the contours of our future, and those whom we find opportunity to share it with. It should come as no shock that our fellow Colgate classmates inevitably make good spouses. At least they know what they are getting themselves into.

I guess it’s somewhere between those random hook-ups and the rest of your life that Colgate Alums pair up as if “New York, New York” just came on in the Jug. As for me, I don’t think I will have much say in choosing my wife. I just hope I can find a woman patient and understanding enough to deal with my antics. And as for the possibility we met at the Jug? I just hope my kids don’t find out.