Op-Ed: I Went to Butler and Didn’t Find a Boyfriend

“Hope for love, pray for love, wish for love, dream for love…but don’t put your life on hold waiting for love.” –Mandy Hale

With this quotation in mind, I apply my third coat of mascara. No longer will I wait idly for an econ major to sweep me off my feet; no longer will I sit pressed against the glass of my window, staring longingly at the men on 116th and Broadway. Today, I invoke agency with my love life as I prepare to camp out at Butler Library.

Mina Antrim says that “A beautiful woman delights the eye; a wise woman, the understanding; a pure one, the soul.” I shall be all three.

Surely, when she penned those words, Antrim had in mind a Columbia freshman on her way to Butler Library looking for love. On top of a full face of makeup, I complete my look with a messy bun, Canada Goose vest, and fake glasses. En route to Butler, I march out of my way, across campus, and get a hot chocolate from Joe’s Coffee, requesting that the barista write “double shot of espresso” on the cup so as to maximize my all-nighter clout.

Clutching my coffee in one hand and an unmarked edition of The Iliad in the other, I’m finally ready to head to Butler. There is no seating available in the reference room, the catwalk of Columbia, so I find myself in Edward Said’s reading room on the sixth floor. Even though I know none of his work, I sit down at a table and begin to read Orientalism, which I stole from my roommate’s bookshelf ten minutes ago.

At last, out of the corner of my eye, I spot a man—possibly pre-law by the looks of his Ralph Lauren polo. I start vigorously “annotating” my book, careful not to look up too often as to sell my studious appearance. After about five minutes of solid “reading,” I look up to see his response–none. He’s buying it! My next step is physical contact. I rise from my chair, hot chocolate in hand, and purposely spill it on his notebook. He seems furious, but I can tell he’s faking–he only wants to build up tension until we get a moment alone together.

I lean in for a kiss. Finally, all that I have worked for is coming together like a magnificent constellation. It’s as if all the sounds around me have gone mute; it is just me in this moment with this man. Then, all of a sudden, my universe is shattered. Mystery man pulls away and puts on his headphones as if nothing ever happened. How could this be? I did everything right, didn’t I?

Flabbergasted, I head to the only place I know will relieve me of my pain and give me what I need: the Stacks. I race up the stairs, too impatient for the lethargic elevators, and head to the PN section (something about it draws me in, although I don’t know what.) I see a group of men, possibly GS —not that I care at this point—gathered around a table. I close my eyes and lunge for it, flying what seems to be five or six feet, and land on the table.

When I open my eyes, however, I am not surrounded by ex-vets. I am in the hospital, and my nurse tells me CAVA brought me in after I went into hypothermic shock from the cold temperatures in the Stacks and the copious amount of Juul vapor that I breathed in second-hand.

I never entranced my mystery man; I never even knew his name. Yet, if this journey has taught me anything, it is that I mustn’t change who I am to find love with a future Goldman Sachs managing director. Instead, I must transfer to Barnard–maybe then I’ll have a better shot.