Flirting with the enemy

For all the single lads and lasses out there, I propose a Valentine’s Day challenge: take someone pursuing your least favorite major out for dinner.

With Shopping Period over, we can all finally own up to participating in a particular ritual: you step into a lecture for your major, scan the room, and execute your plot to “coincidentally” slide into the seat next to the hot bro or bro-ette you’ve picked out of the crowd, hopeful that they will slide into your DMs and you two will magically fall in love. Half-way through class, you realize either that they are the lecture asshole or they did DS. Probably both.

Finding someone within your major would just be so much more convenient. You wouldn’t have to worry about incompatible interests and would never run out of things to discuss. You could help each other with problem sets and essays. And as my Math major suitemate Ella Henry, SM ’20, pointed out, you would have more classes together. Getting to spend more time together organically would be a perfect way to conquer the classic Yale pitfall of having to send G-Cal invites for every single “let’s get a meal sometime.”

But the great thing about a liberal arts education is that you don’t need to limit your dating pool to just one area of study. One of Yale’s core tenets is to encourage its students to engage with different modes of thought and pursue relationships with a diverse range of peers. When choosing a romantic partner, as when choosing your friends, interests don’t need to align perfectly. By seeking a significant other outside your major, you push yourself outside of your comfort zone — the first, most crucial step when looking to grow as a person. While dating someone within your major, club, or residential college might be convenient, acting out of convenience does not always put you at an advantage. In this case, it could close you off from the personal growth that comes of exposing yourself to different people and experiences.

Stereotypes about certain majors seemed to be a common thread amongst my friends when weighing pros and cons of dating within a major. An ER&M major who wished to remain anonymous said she’d definitely date another ER&M major because “they are more likely to be woke,” but that she wouldn’t date a philosophy major because they were “pretentious.” “Let’s just say Aristotle can suck my dick,” she said, emphasizing that no one wants to hear Kant’s opinion mid-hookup.

Another friend who requested anonymity insisted that Math majors were the hottest and the smartest. He’s a Math major.

“What about Art majors?” I asked.

“They probably smoke a lot of weed.”

Overhearing our conversation, Caleb, a Statistics and Data Science major, chimed in: “Art majors just think they’re better than you. And don’t even get me started on neuroscience majors. It’s like, you’re already Pre-Med, why take it a step forward?”

“Yeah, neuroscience majors are too extra,” the anonymous math major agreed, adding that EP&E majors are total snakes.

Another Math major, also named Caleb, said he’d never date a Psychology major because they’d probably psychoanalyze him.

While humorous, stereotypes of majors only reinforces romantic (and platonic!) barriers that prevent you from engaging with different perspectives. College, and life, should be about developing new beliefs and pursuing new experiences. After all, how can you expand your perspective if you refuse to operate within certain social circles but not others? Maybe you’ll find that opposites really do attract. If not, at least you can add dated a snake Python to your resume. On a more serious note, while the anonymous ER&M major held her ground on never dating a Philosophy major, she acknowledged that dating outside your major can give you room to expand your identity. Great point, because — let’s be honest — who has time to double-major? A better solution: find a bae in that second major to complete the missing half of your heart, not to mention your diploma.

Some of my most treasured relationships with friends, family members, and lovers (ha, who am I kidding?) have paired me with people who are very different than me. My best friend studies Digital Media Marketing and loves photography, two subjects I know nothing about. Others among my closest friends are destined for Goldman Sachs, a route I have no interest in, yet we can still stay up until 3 a.m. laughing and chatting about anything. Having grown up as one of the few biracial women in Eugene, OR., most of my childhood friends were white. I even have beloved family members who enjoy embarrassing me in public by starting heated debates about Donald Trump. Nonetheless, these are some of the most supportive people in my life.

Differences do not equate to incompatibility — not if you’re willing to find ways to respect, love, and relate to one another beyond the spheres that you do not occupy in common.

It is by embracing these differences, even those as inconsequential as our majors, that we can learn to appreciate, or at least understand, where others come from. And for all you know, your friend or significant other’s passion might become your own.