Monday, October 22, 2007

Dating is no Sex and the City for me

Mary-Kathryn Millner

What the first thing that comes to mind when you think of dating in the States? Sex and the City, of course.

It's undeniable that most self respecting women have watched at least one episode of the crazy antics carried out by Carrie Bradshaw and her friends. And to be honest, who wouldn't want their love lives to be equally as cool?

But contrary to popular belief, dating in small town America is not quite as exciting as the fiesty foursome of Sex and the City make out. In fact, the picture created by movies and television shows about dating in America is not quite what you'd find here in Oxford, Mississippi.

Cosmopolitans and silk sheets are in fact the last thing on a girl's mind - for us, it's really just about trying to land a date!

One great example in Oxford of this whole theatre of dating always pops into my mind at this time of year.

You see, the University of Mississippi is a school steeped in traditions, and none more popular than football.

But aside from the party that goes along with Ole Miss football, another which goes naturally hand in hand with the game is dating.

You simply cannot go to an after-party without a date here, and to turn up without a man on your arm would be like - well, turning up in a pair of loafers at the prom.

I remember as a student at Ole Miss, one of my first experiences, and constant headaches, was the constant question being asked by fellow classmates: "Do you have a date for the game?" Now, usually, the girl asking this question is the one who always has a date and is probably just taking some pleasure in the fact you don't. But hey, love it or loath it, that's what occupies the minds of many women over here (and not to be sexist, let's not forget that a lot of the male students also suffer the same anxieties, particularly if they don't even play football).
While the main concern of the Sex in the City girls may be how many guys you sleep with in a week, the aim of the game here is much simpler - just bag a date! Any date.

Still, whatever the case, date or not for the game, I'm sure all the usual romantic rituals are identical to what young people endure over your side of the 'Pond' - will he?, won't she?, does this fit?, will she expect me to pay?, does my breath smell etc.

It's just that the football fixation seems to bring all our insecurites into sharp focus.

So, as you can see, contrary to life in New York City, life here in Oxford is a little slower, and maybe at times, we fall back on traditions that may seem outdated at a glance.

But in a town filled with young people, excellent restaurants, some pretty great bars and many unique and interesting things going on, those relationships and chance meetings that are meant to happen, and usually do.

And for that, practically everyone I know is forever grateful.

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