So, summer is approaching…the trees are blossoming, the temperature is rising, and finals are rushing towards us like a freight train. But for those of us who, like me, are both members of a sorority and very much single, another potential train wreck looms even larger on the horizon: formal season. For the lucky few with boyfriends, these magical weeks before finals are a dream come true: dress up in formalwear, take full advantage of a hotel’s open bar, and dance the night away with your sisters and your special someone. But for the rest of us, formals are nothing short of a nightmare. For the first time in our lives, we have to be the ask-outers instead of the asked-out, and we have absolutely no idea what we’re doing.
Single girls have heretofore known only one kind of date distress: the passive, waiting-around oh-my-god-is-he-going-to-ask-me anticipation. We hope to God we get asked to the dance, the prom, the formal, the whatever, and if we don’t we just deal with it. If we don’t get invited to a guy’s formal, we don’t go to any formals. We sit in our room with that pint of Ben and Jerry’s and The Notebook and we cut our losses (most of us, at least). But with sorority formals the tables are turned 180 degrees. For once, it’s OUR event we need to get a date for, not some guy’s, and we need to find a date ourselves or else we’re going solo. There’s no Ben-and-Jerry’s option for our own formals, since all our friends will be out having a great time and we’ll have no other single friends to whine to. Plus, we already paid for the cost of formal in our semester’s dues, so we definitely don’t want that to go to waste.
So, for once, we attempt to make an active effort at finding a date. We scroll through our phones’ address books, wondering if “Ohio Hottie” or “Ben Lacrosse” will remember us if we text them. We make exhaustive lists of all the guys we’ve drunkenly locked lips with, ranking them in order of importance and making pro-con lists for each. We suddenly become the fun, flirty party girls we’ve been forgetting to be all semester, latching on to every guy we meet and slapping a “POTENTIAL FORMAL DATE” sticker on his forehead. We primp, we preen, we push up, hoping each night that a formal date will fall from the sky. But when it comes down to it, in nine out of ten cases, he doesn’t, and we chicken out. We‘re too scared to text Ohio Hottie and Ben Lacrosse to say hi, let alone to ask them to formal. We claim to make an active effort, but for the most part we just sit around and wait for a date to our own formals to find us, with dismal results. We therefore turn to one of the two single-girl formal date solutions: the friend and the set-up.
Obviously, neither of these situations is ideal, but if, like me and most other girls, you’re not brazen enough to ask a hookup to formal, you’ll just have to pick the lesser of the two evils. My suggestion: go with the set-up. Even though you may be more comfortable with your best guy friend, you’re forgetting one crucial detail: you need to be able to dance with your date! And if I’m correct, you and your guy friend either hooked up once and it was awkward, or you avoid a When Harry Met Sally situation by avoiding touching altogether, in which case grinding is certainly out of the question, and can you really dance any other way to Lil’ Wayne? A setup, as awkward as it may be, is completely out of your hands—if your date is oozing with zits, four feet tall and 300 pounds, and wearing plaid golf pants, none of it is your fault (though it is your sister’s)! It actually makes for a better story when you have a spectacularly terrible blind date than a boring friend. Plus, there’s always the chance that your date will be magical, and the two of you will end up getting married. No risk, no reward, right? My friends and I have avoided the excruciation of the date-search by setting up a giant “screw your sister” set-up pool, in which each of us is assigned a sister to find a date for. If you are dreading formal as much as we are, it’s a great way to get out of texting Ohio Hottie. Now all that’s left is the dress!