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The Truth About Sorority Date Parties

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By: Sophia Orlander, University of Michigan

What's the most horrifying yet exciting text a college student can both send and receive? I'll tell you: "Wanna come to my date party?" Oh, crap.

On this supposedly magical evening, sorority girls flock to a not-so-nearby venue in Detroit accompanied by that special someone. Considering the fact that the majority of our overly expensive dues fund these events, one would presume and, above all, hope that these nights are unforgettable. And oh, they are -- but not always in a positive way.

Why do date parties often result in disaster, you wonder? Is it the overwhelming pressure that gets to us, or our exceedingly high expectations that are inevitably met with utter disappointment? For you lucky ones who leave date parties with your heads held high and without a withering sense of self worth, I commend you. As for you other ill-fated souls, I am here to say I wholeheartedly feel your pain.

Along with most of my peers, I fervently believe date party stress ensues before the actual event even occurs. Finding a date is without a doubt the most traumatic aspect of the date party process. While on the surface this may seem straightforward and uncomplicated, this decision raises several profound questions, such as, "Are you currently seeing someone? If so, is it serious?" or, "Do you want your new relationship to remain casual and, thus, avoid making a public statement?" Honestly, if taking your current romantic interest to your date party seems that excruciating, then you probably should break up. And yet, maybe date parties just catalyze the inevitable?

Since couples obviously avoid this dilemma, do they have hope? After keenly observing my peers, I believe it's entirely plausible that couples have the highest potential to enjoy these extravaganzas; however, I think this is exclusive to newly established couples. For brand new couples, date parties are an exciting way to display one's exuberance and affection for one another. For more time-honored couples, date parties can be quite inconvenient and unexciting as you are stranded at a loud, crowded, far-away venue. Often these duos would rather stay in, casually drink wine and watch Breaking Bad. Please know we don't blame you, and any resentful tone you may discern is merely envy -- because who doesn't love Breaking Bad?

Lastly, in searching for a date, there is always the unpredictable, risky option: being set up. Set-ups pose a unique circumstance as they can result in some of the absolute best and worst scenarios. Personally, I highly respect those who opt for the chancy set-up. As a college student, we're always encouraged to "put ourselves out there." A blind set-up is an excellent opportunity to exercise one's freedom -- and what the hell, take a chance. Remember, whatever happens, you're bound to build some character, my friend.

Now, let's get into the nitty-gritty details of date parties: the bus ride. Generally, date parties are approximately 45 minutes to one hour away from our home base, Ann Arbor. For this reason, people tend to drink in excess before loading onto the coach buses -- I need not say more. It is speculated that this stomach-churning behavior comes from social anxiety coupled with fear of losing one's current state of desired intoxication (because God forbid you have to converse with your date soberly).

Nonetheless, I truly understand this concern -- long, drawn-out bus rides make for potentially awkward situations. My advice to you is to relax. If you've made it this far in life, I believe you have the capacity to maintain a conversation for at least a half an hour. If all else fails, take a leisurely, prolonged lap around the bus. Even though time may be seemingly frozen, just remember you'll get there eventually.

While the process leading up to event is pretty painful, the actual party can be fairly enjoyable. Upon entering the venue, couples can mingle amongst each other and unwind. Perhaps you want to dig into the buffet, or maybe get freaky in the photo-booth (hopefully not too freaky, though).

If you and your date aren't destined to be soul mates, there's no reason to pout in the corner. However, no matter how successful a date party can be, there will always be a handful of girls unapologetically sobbing in the bathroom. Obviously it is not ideal for these sob-fests to occur publicly, but I can attest to the fact that these occurrences are entirely unplanned. Admittedly, I've had my fair share of tears at date parties -- come on, who hasn't?

After completing almost seven semesters of college, I have attended more than a few date parties. Reflecting upon these experiences, I can confidently say that date parties prevail in teaching us to go with the flow, to be confident in ourselves, and most importantly, to make the best of any situation. Like many experiences at college, date parties are unpredictable, sometimes bizarre occurrences that test our adaptability and resilience of spirit. Whether it be a physical or mind-blowingly unpleasant moral hangover, try not to be disheartened by an unfortunate date party incident -- the next one will be better.

Hold on to that shred of hope. I promise it will serve you well.