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Sex + Relationships

How to Find the Perfect Formal Date

Fraternity and sorority formals are basically just high-school dances with beer.  That being said, finding a date to one is completely different than waiting for your high school crush to fill your bathtub with fish and ask, “of all the fish in the sea, would you be the one to go to formal with me?” . . . Or did that just happen on Laguna Beach?   Regardless, no fratstar is going to come up with some elaborate scheme to take you to his date party or formal.  So how do you get him to ask?  And how do you ask a guy you’ve had your eye on to one of your date functions?  Read on, clever collegiettesTM, and you’ll have a date to formal in no time!

Who to Ask to Your Formal/Date Party/Function

First, you’ll want to consider your “working options.”  List anyone you’ve hooked up with/flirted with/dated in the past 3-4 weeks.  Then make a list of guys you have interaction with say, in class, but would like to get to know on a more social level.  If you are serious about anyone on your first list (i.e., you’ve been dating), then there’s your date.  If you’re only casually hooking up with guys though, I tend to think it’s better to ask a “friend with potential” (a guy from your second list).  That way you get to try on a new guy as a romantic option, and you don’t send the “I’m obsessed with you” vibe to just a casual hookup.

I’d put these boys on my list.

Getting the Game Plan

I recommend coming up with your first choice date and one or two “back-ups” in case your first choice doesn’t work out.  It’s rare that a guy will straight-up turn down an invitation to a sorority event (guys love getting invited), but there’s always the chance that he has a sports conflict, a huge paper due, or (ugh) someone else has already asked him.  Hence, you need choices #2 and #3!  Once you have your backup options in place, you’re ready to ask your first choice.

How to Ask Him

The key to asking a guy on a date (always nerve-wracking) is to be casual.  This is not the time to fill his dorm room with flowers and wait on his bed until he gets home.  You’re asking him out on one date, not to marry you!  If you have his number, and you guys have been talking, it is not rude to send him a flirty text asking him what he’s doing the night of your function.  An anonymous sorority woman told me she sent a guy a text asking if he’d been asked to her date party yet.  When he said no, she had the perfect opportunity to say, “Well that’s great, because I was hoping you’d want to go with me!” This is a great move, because you stroke his ego by assuming he may have already been asked, and you give him an out in case by some chance he already has.

If you don’t have his number, or don’t have a good texting rapport, you have two options.  The first is to (as non-creepily as possible) show up where he is when you’re going out.  If you know he frequents a certain bar or hangs out at a particular fraternity, now would be a great time to start showing up at that venue and striking up a casual conversation.  Casually bring up the formal, saying something like, “I don’t have a date yet . . . wait, would you ever be interested in going?  That would be so fun!”  Easy peasy.  Then get his number so you can text him with deets.

If you’re not feeling so bold, your other option is to go for the “fake set-up”.  If you know who you want to ask, but don’t feel like you know him well enough to do so, find someone who will set you up with him!  Your sorority is a perfect outlet for this, since one of your sisters has to know him well enough to set you up.  If that doesn’t work or you’re not in a sorority, poll your friends and see if they have any friends that could set you up.  Check out your mutual friends on Facebook.  If you can’t find anyone who knows him, the date is probably too random to not be awkward.  Go to choice #2 or #3 and utilize the same strategies for how to ask!

This isn’t your high school dance!

How to Get Asked to a Fraternity Function

Maybe you don’t need a date to your party . . . you want to get invited to someone else’s! The most important thing to do when trying to get invited to a fraternity date party or formal is to HANG OUT WITH THAT FRATERNITY.  Make yourself present at their open parties and mixers your organization has with them.  You could even organize a pregame for some of the brothers (including the guy you want to ask you, obviously) and some of your girlfriends.  You just want to be on this guy’s radar!  If you don’t know of a particular guy to ask you, but just want to go to the event because your girlfriends are, have girls who are already going ask their dates if they have friends who still need dates.  They can offer you as a set-up option!  Guys are always looking to meet new, gorgeous collegiettesTM like you all.  Just make yourself available!  One thing you DO NOT want to do is ask a guy to his own formal.  It is his job to ask.  This is his organization and you can’t assume he wants to go with you but is too shy to ask.

Hopefully your “date night” goes better than this!

Well there you have it, ladies.  Never again feel flummoxed at the thought of finding a formal date!  All it takes is slight planning, and open and eager attitude, and a willingness to have fun . . . because you will once you have your perfect date!



Allie Jones is an English and American Studies double major at the College of William and Mary.  She's interned at W magazine and is currently the Senior News Editor at The Virginia Informer.  When she’s not chatting up colonial impersonators in Williamsburg, Allie drinks too much black coffee and thinks about going to the gym. She enjoys singing for her friends and planning parties for her chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Allie looks up to Liz Lemon, Carrie Bradshaw and Jon Stewart; 2 ½ of which, she realizes, are fictional characters. You can find out more about the high-brow television programs she watches over at her Twitter, @allierileyjones. 
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