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I dated all four Young Trustee candidates so you don’t have to

With just one more day until our Young Trustee is selected and just one more week until the student body promptly stops caring, I feel obligated to weigh in on the undergraduate Young Trustee candidates. Like everything else at Duke, this process is performative and ultimately pointless, but still requires an ungodly amount of time and attention. The Young Trustee does not even truly get to act as an advocate for their so-called platform—the job description calls for someone to serve as a holistic representative of the university. Nonetheless, as every white liberal will say, if there’s anything to be learned from the 2016 election, it’s to get out and vote!

However, I have a personal dilemma that I find much more pressing than knowing which senior will spend the next three years as a meaningless figurehead/puppet of Duke’s administration. I am concerned about Valentine’s Day. Most importantly, I am concerned about who I will be spending Valentine’s Day with. Seeing the opportunity to take advantage of this university-wide popularity contest, I decided to combine my desire to be an informed voter with my selfish interests. Using my best investigative journalism skills, I sought to see which candidate has the best personality (in other words, who would be the most datable). I’d know who to vote for and who to take out on Thursday! Win or lose, they’d have my heart.

The first to respond to my invitation was Trey Walk. Remarkably on brand, he suggested we attend Friday’s Me Too Monologues show and go out for drinks afterwards. Throughout the show, he leaned over and whispered, “me too” into my ear each time one of his marginalized identity groups was mentioned. As you can imagine, this got pretty old. By the fourth monologue, I longed to hear the story of girl who left her top-tier sorority to no longer feel complicit in a demeaning and oppressive system—just something to make Trey seem less relatable. We never made it to drinks. Two hours of sadness porn left both of us too drained to continue the night. As we exited East Duke, he offered me a hug and said he had a great time. “Me too,” I replied, and we parted ways.

Saturday morning, I woke up to a text from Brian Buhr. “I’m too busy for a real date right now,” he explained, mentioning a laundry list of errands he had on top of his typical weekend obligations. Nevertheless, I persisted, offering to accompany him on his errands. Soon enough, I found myself sitting outside of a J. Crew fitting room, deciding which pair of chinos went best with Brian’s scarf-du-jour. After several hours of watching him debate the merits of every cable-knit sweater in Southpoint, I couldn’t help but to feel like I was running errands with my dad. Maybe it was the fact I invited myself, but the whole date felt artificial and forced. I craved spontaneity or, at the very least, a conversation that didn’t feel like a job interview. Before we headed into Brooks Brothers, I thanked Brian for letting me tag along and called myself an Uber.

After my morning as personal shopper extraordinaire, all I wanted to do was spend some time alone, preferably with a nap and Netflix. I posted a quick Instagram story of my computer in bed and soon received a reply from the @luke4yt account. “Netflix and chill? Lol,” the message read, and I immediately replied, “sure.” 

When Luke Farrell and I finally met up, he told me he was “just kidding around” in his message and “does not at all condone displays of toxic masculinity.” Hoping to push past any of the overly platform-y chit chat, I asked him to pick a show for us to watch. He chose Black Mirror, explaining that he’s “just sucha nerd,” because he’s studying computer science and is “super into AI.” I asked him if his Instagram account was run by AI and received an over-exuberant laugh. Before he could further explain his future hopes for AI, I asked if we could just start the show. Following three episodes (all full of excruciating commentary), I got ready to return to the comfort of my home. Before I reached the door, Luke asked me to stay for two more minutes—he wanted a selfie to put on his Instagram story to show my endorsement. I politely declined. Just as our brief rendezvous began via Instagram, it ended the same way.

As the last of my four dates, Archana Ahlawat and I went to The Commons for Sunday Brunch. When I questioned her venue of choice, she was baffled. “I just love Duke,” she said, “why would I ever want to leave an institution that has done so much for me!?” That was all I needed to hear. I sat and ate my eggs Benedict in silence, nodding as I listened to her opinions on the current circus of Democrats vying for the 2020 nomination and the concurrent circus of women vying for Colton Underwood’s attention on The Bachelor. Archana’s involvement with Duke Conversations makes perfect sense. Our date felt exactly like one—one-sided, lifeless, and lacking any true substance. Promptly at 12:30 p.m., we split the check and she ran to a “super important meeting,” thanking me for my “productive dialogue and a fresh perspective.” I returned to my room, having lost 30 food points and having gained nothing.

Much to my disappointment but not to my surprise, I did not receive a text back from any of the candidates. I know I will spend my Valentine’s Day alone, but it’s not my fault. The common denominator in all of these dates wasn’t me—it was the candidates, more specifically the type of person we nominate for Young Trustee. The four people are supposed to be the best personalities our university can offer, but they’re exactly like everyone else. Beneath a veneer of student organization endorsements and self-assuredness, these people are just awkward Duke students who want to boost their resume. However, I’m not, and I still will be single on Valentine’s Day.

Monday Monday would like you all to know that they did not go on any dates with any of the Young Trustee candidates. In fact, they have not been on a proper date in quite a long time. If any readers are a fan of sardonic wit and extreme narcissism, Monday Monday is available to be both wined and dined for Valentine’s Day. Seriously. Please contact their editor as soon as possible.

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