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Column: Shoes and boys

I used to think that trends touched only shoes��stilettos for fall, Puma sneakers for winter and wooden wedge heels for spring. But now it seems the waves of fashion have washed up way past footwear--they've spilled into our love lives. With fall hosting a campus hook-up session, winter showing a settle-down season and May as the make-it-or-break it month, Duke's dating habits are as easy to spot as fashion fads. We already know the new Anne Taintor address books are hot. Now we need to know: Whose digits should we be scribbling into them?

If you're following the current campus trend, the answer is: Nobody's. "Relationship?" laughed a friend, pausing 10 Things I Hate About You to talk. "Whatever. I have no time, no interest and definitely no prospects." Some students are working overtime, some are working out and some are just working it on the dance floor. But this semester, we're overcommitted--and also against a committed relationship.

"Besides," sighed a sorority sister as we left Pizza Palace, "it's not like you can plan when you'll meet someone. That stuff just happens." She scarfed some pepperoni and continued. "Girls trying to find a guy? They'll always settle for the wrong one." I nodded. When you force a connection that isn't there, everybody loses. "And don't forget my favorite proverb," chirped my shopping buddy as she sampled lip-gloss: "Better alone than badly accompanied. I'd rather have the right bag on my arm then the wrong boy in my arms anytime."

But the In Bloke for fall isn't always wrong; he's just recycled. A popular choice for juniors and seniors, returning to an ex is like pulling out the Doc Martens we ditched in high school��once they were comfortable but totally over, now they're back in style and back in our lives. "We don't want to face the future, so we reach for the past," mused my friend at the career fair. Maybe she's right. Faster than an order of fries, our future is being served. By asking past flames to provide a different kind of service, we have the comfort of knowing while life zooms ahead, some bedrooms (and the couples in them) never change. Currently, "we got back together" is a phrase that's as trendy as the Longchamps bag everyone's toting to class.

"That's depressing," moaned an old freshman pal when I described my findings. "And wrong. I'm in a new relationship and it's great. I think this could be the beginning of something big." I smiled and scoped her outfit: Anne Taylor button-up, denim skirt, pearls. And then I told her, "Some people like their relationships the way they like their clothes: easy, constant and classic."

But for Duke slaves to fashion, it's easy to want the Next Big Thing. It could be a Balenciaga bag; it could be a boy. But fashions are fickle as feelings--they change in a second. And we all know that the truly stylish are those who do their own thing. Whether that means wearing ski boots to class or ditching Duke dating trends for guys in Chapel Hill, it's easy to remember to do your own thing. The hard part is to actually do it.

Good luck, happy Friday and props to the girls in the ski boots.

Faran Krentcil is a Trinity senior and senior editor of Recess. Her column appears every other Friday.

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