Web Exclusives:On the Campus...

December 20 , 2000:
Matchmating at Princeton

Just what is it I want

By Emily Johnson '01

I called home after leader training for my Outdoor Action trip last September and got my dad. "My OA coleader is Catholic," I say. "How cool is that?"

"Oh, is he nice?" asks my dad. (yes) "Is he smart?" (yes) "Is he cute?"

"Daaaaad," I say. "I just met him. Besides, he has a girlfriend."

"I'm sure they'll break up soon," he says.

My mom gets on the line. "Dad's had a bit of wine."

I'll say. My dad isn't even Catholic. And unlike most dads, he usually pays no attention to my dating life. I'm beginning to suspect that as my graduation date zooms closer my dad bizarrely worries about my chances of finding a Princeton spouse.

Statistics on Princeton marriages float about: 60 percent or 70 percent or 80 percent of grads marry one another, meeting in school or at Reunions or on the job. An online senior survey asked if I would be willing to marry a Princeton grad? Yes or no. I would have given an emphatic no after freshman year. I'm marrying a public schooler! I declared rebelliously. But as Princeton dates grow more successful (lucky for you unattached males out there) I've stopped ruling the idea out completely.

Still, as a newly unattached senior after two years with a wonderful non-Princeton boyfriend, I'm starting to think about living in New York City with my long-hours, investment-banker husband. I think about dressing my kids in tiger costumes for Halloween and toddler-size Princeton sweatshirts for Reunions. I think about ordering from the U-Store catalogue for my husband's birthday. I think I am way too young to be thinking these thoughts.

On the other hand, when I graduate, will there be a dearth of dating prospects? Will I be working with married people, older people? Will I end up on TV shows like Blind Date? Will I be starting my life anew and all alone in someplace like Ohio? I am nervous.

Most of my married family met their spouses in college. My parents met in a Northwestern dining hall when my mom was a freshman and my dad a senior. So I look around Campus club at dinner. My parents were both math majors. I look around the geology department.

My sister met her husband, Chad, at UVA's Methodist youth group. I check out my fellow Catholics. Chad was getting a master's degree. I check out the grad students.

I despair.

My mom encourages me to give a very nice postdoc a chance. I would, but I don't think there's room in my dormlife-tanktop-unpaid-ripped jeans-babysitting-wide open life for a Ph.D. right now - mine or anyone else's.

"You know," says my dad, referring to a friend who dropped by my dorm room while they were visiting. "He was cute."

"Daaaaaaaad," I say yet again. "I've got more important things to worry about."

And you know what? I say to myself. I do. I begin to realize that my future husband, or his alma mater, or even the possible absence of a postcollege dating life, are not such big deals after all. I decide my both my dad and I will just have to wait.

Emily Johnson is warming up to the idea of being a Blind Date contestant.