Opinion | Jan. 23 11:18 am EST

Just Ask Emily: Where them girls at?

Alba Photography / flickr

And we’re back! First, as a reminder, please submit your questions, comments, concerns, and queries right here. Now, in this week’s installment of Just Ask Emily, one reader feels he’s looking for love in all the wrong places.

Hi Emily,
I’m a single guy in CC who’s wondering where to find a date. This is an amazing school, and there are tons of smart, cute, funny, etc. girls at Columbia and Barnard. And I think a good number of them must be looking for guys (unless @MyLifeIsBarnard is lying to me). So why is it so tough to meet them?

I’m not a shy guy, but I can’t seem to find the girls who are looking for guys. After class/in cafés, I run into good female friends. At the bars and random parties, I do the whole hook-up thing, which is fun but ultimately unfulfilling. I’ve also tried the whole “get a friend to introduce you to her cute friend” thing, but that didn’t go well—way too much drama.
I just can’t seem to find that nice girl who’s looking for a date. Any advice?


Looking in Many of the Wrong Places

Dear Looking in Many of the Wrong Places,

Andy Warhol once said, “Everyone winds up kissing the wrong person good night.” I know that’s not exactly what’s going on in your case, but I am bringing it up because:

  • a) I think it’s beautiful.
  • b) I can.
  • c) It speaks to a really astute observation that you made: There are people on this campus who are looking for what you’re looking for, but you can’t seem to find each other.
  • d) How to find the person you’re meant to kiss goodnight is a tricky question—one that Warhol couldn’t answer, and I must preface all of this by saying that I don’t have the answer to it either.

What I can say is this:

Firstly, try looking again where you’re already looking. You say that you’ve already hit the party circuit (no, I did not mean that in more ways than the most innocent one). Did you try chatting a girl up and just asking for her number at the end of the night? You say that you run into “good female friends” in classes and cafés—have you thought that any one of those might possibly be something more? Sit down with them at the café or ask one of them to study with you. The worst case scenario is that you’ll end up with a better friendship.

Secondly, look in new places. Join a club that’s dedicated to something that you’re interested in—it’s probably filled with girls (and guys, too) who are likeminded. Study, eat, drink, etc. in places you haven’t before if the old places aren’t working out for you.

Thirdly, finally, and contradictorily to everything I just wrote, try not to look so hard. And give it time. I think that many students come here thinking that they’re going to meet a significant other, and sometimes, yes, it does work out that way. But sometimes it doesn’t, and that’s fine, too. And who knows? Maybe, when you stop looking for the right girl, the right girl will find you.

Emily Tamkin is a Columbia College senior and a former Spec editorial page editor. She wishes there was a sound option on these posts so that Rihanna’s voice belting “We found love in a hopeless place” could play as you read these words.




  1. idea • January 23, 2012 at 11:57 am • Reply

    How about starting a dating site just for Columbia/Barnard?

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    • Wrong • January 23, 2012 at 12:40 pm • Reply

      Dating sites are for when you are looking outside a bubble. Ie. In the real world and none of your co-workers are your age and you just moved to a city so you don’t know that many people and you work 80 hours a week so its hard to meet people.

      A dating site for Columbia/Barnard is simply sheer laziness. I think the main issue here is that guy writing letter just doesn’t think to go out on a limb and ask a girl to get coffee sometime. As someone who used to (and still perhaps) falls in that trap sometime, you forget to simply be upfront/nonchalant about it.

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  2. Anonymous • January 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm • Reply

    How about being friendly and smiling, and starting conversations first.

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  3. Class • January 23, 2012 at 1:36 pm • Reply

    Don’t underestimate class. You might want to wait until the end of the semester so if things go wrong it isn’t awkward, but I met boyfriend in a large anthropology lecture just by chatting about the professor and our TA one day. He asked me to get coffee and we’ve been dating for three years now. The hardest part is making that first move. Just suck it up and do it.

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    • Subhash • February 27, 2012 at 1:26 am • Reply

      Manny July 25, 2009 Hello to eedrybovy,just try to write a phrase IMAGINE A WORLD WITHOUT FILIPINOS at google or yahoo search.maybe you would be surprised the results.Anybody just try.

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  4. You should go outside Columbia • January 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm • Reply

    Really. Girls here aren’t looking for guys here, for the most part. You’ll be much happier for it.

    Go to bars downtown, and yes, join a dating site.

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    • Anonymous • January 23, 2012 at 10:48 pm • Reply

      not true… most columbia girls feel the same frustrations.

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  5. another idea • January 23, 2012 at 3:03 pm • Reply

    Join ballroom dance. Plenty of cuties looking for a dance partner there. You never know what could happen.


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  6. Anonymous • January 23, 2012 at 10:11 pm • Reply

    posted on spectrum a little while ago from our good friends at yale (toads is like our campo or mels)

    Questioner(average heterosexual male) wants to date a woman in the top 20%, many of whom are taken or dont want you (see below). Questioner is not really looking at the bottom 80%.
    Also, average heterosexual female wants to date guy in top 20%, who is taken, doesn’t want her, or can go around hooking up with a bunch of different women so sees no need to settle.
    The reason questioner cannot find a nice girl who is looking for a date is because he is only looking at a certain group

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  7. Anon • January 25, 2012 at 4:19 am • Reply

    The problem with this single guy is that he has too many “good female friends.” Stop getting friend-zoned by all the women. Go out and meet women not only in school but around NYC too.

    Also, no offense to “Emily”, but the single guy needs to stop asking women for advice on other women. I.E. she wrote “The worst case scenario is that you’ll end up with a better friendship.” in regards to trying to start something with your female friends. This is wrong. The worst case scenario is that you’ll lose a friendship because now it’s ridiculously awkward. Thats not even the worst case scenario, thats probably what’s going to happen.

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