The Study Buddy Phenomenon.

  We’ve all seen this haven’t we? One of your most awkward and sexually naive friends excitedly tells you behind a beaming, innocently childish smile, that they’ve met the love of their life at a sociology seminar. Tensions blossomed and dizzying glances were all on show from the moment this unsuspecting person asked your pal for a pen. I must have seen this episode played out a dozen times; it bores me now, even irritates me. Repetition has led me to analyse the scenario with a degree of removed coldness, especially in the case of repeat offenders. More often than any other, the word being flung around by your chum-come 19th century romantic is “Cute”; a repulsively sugar-coated term that truthfully means harmless or meek. 

  ‘Sexy’ or, lord forgive us, ‘Hot’, are evidently confined to people with an ounce of self-confidence. If you have ever met the idol of your friend’s obsession, you will almost certainly see nothing more than a regular, slightly dull and stiff individual. Though of course, your erotically inept friend would never dream of courting the terrifyingly seductive. Instead, in the case of a boy, they fawn over a lanky, skeletal character who thinks Yves Saint Laurent was a woman. Meanwhile, the girls who are the focal point of these classroom infatuations are almost always the most timid of characters.

  Without a morsel of egotism or self-belief to be found in either party, a coffee date is completely out of the question. All that is open to these painfully awkward souls, is to hide behind the respectably bookish pursuit of studying together. A quick trip to the library will reveal hundreds of silently distracted people coupled up like mallards. These characters will sit together for up to thirty hours a week, bashing out useless notes, all while yearning to wrestle each other’s clothes off in the 8th floor annexe. Very little will ever be done about it, but your friend will make sure to tell you every little detail of these prudish dalliances.  

  In truth, it’s difficult to understand where this behaviour stems from. I’m certain awkward sorts have been up to it for generations, but it feels almost ubiquitous now. Many people who are able to break free of this dilemma find themselves in the even stranger, dreaded situationship. Perhaps then, it is better for all involved to carry on with the uncomfortable silences and amateur attempts at flirting. My only complaint is that these would-be-couples constantly take up spaces that I could otherwise use. Instead, these selfish folks dart between their Philosophy 1B work and occasionally giggling slightly too loudly. Meanwhile I wander around; unable to find a decent seat I reside myself to a place as cramped as a box cart. “Oh well,” I think to myself peering over the masses of sexually-pent-up dullards before me, “At least I’ve got a girlfriend.” 

by Daniel J. Cheslett (@daniel_cheslett)


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