Opinion | Columns

Why “Blank Spaces” are bad ideas

When Taylor Swift sings, “So it’s gonna be forever or it’s gonna go down in flames,” I get so excited. It’s just more proof that she’s a boss.

Let me drop the beat, in the style of Swift’s “Blank Space”: We’re in college, so “we’re young, and we’re reckless.” Pretending that boys are stupid is part of the bygone high school past, because let’s be honest: Here in college—this magical place of learning and self-discovery—we’re on a quest not only to build successful lives for ourselves, but also to find our potential soulmates. So, the moment we step onto College Walk and see a cute guy, we think, “I’ve got a blank space, baby! And I’ll write your name.”

We’ve all had our share of college love stories. It’s simply so fun to write a new person into our “blank space” every now and then. It’s fun to dream about the possibilities, the what-ifs, like we’re creating our own versions of 500 Days of Summer in our heads—except with happier endings. Because boys are a completely different species of human, it’s fun to try to “figure them out” and play the game of overanalyzing meanings, deliberately spacing out texts, and pretending to be cool when we’re actually thinking about them:





Then, if things do work out, we can be like the lovebirds in Sleepless in Seattle where we’ll exchange flowers and chocolate in a romantic-but-not-cheesy first date. It’s times like these that convince us that yes, it’s worth all of the horror stories. It’s beautiful and we feel complete together, and yes, it’s “gonna be forever,” as Swift suggests.

But sadly, most times things end up going “down in flames.” I think about the instances after which perfectly fine friendships have gone “way too far” and ended with “a nasty scar” on account of failed romances. It’s impossible for girls and guys to remain friends after they’ve written each other’s names in their blank spaces. It’s kind of like once the name has been written, and things don’t work out, then the entire story has to be erased.

Is “the high really worth the pain” in the end? Maybe it’s better to just be friends with members of the opposite sex. Here are just a few reasons, girls, why we should be careful about dating in college:

1. College boys are immature.

They’re still technically five years younger than us. Remember how the wise folk of yore once said that it takes guys longer to mature than girls? As of now, college boys are still young and silly. That’s why it’s much more fun to be friends with them. You’d think that the guys around here have may have matured, but no, they all still secretly love Pokémon. I remember a story my friend once told me: “I dated a 19-year-old guy who played video games and watched sports all day long, so I broke up with him. Then, I began dating a 25-year-old. Turns out, he loved playing video games and watching sports all day, too.” Who would’ve guessed, eh?

2. College love is not fair.

Think about all the time you’ve wasted just thinking about him. Okay, I am in no way immune to this, but honey, here’s the truth: You’ve been hanging out in your girlfriend’s room talking at 500 miles per hour about how the relationship is failing because his text messages have been monosyllabic for the last three hours and plus he kept smiling when he was talking to that random girl at Dig Inn and you’re freaking out because you think he’s probably tired of you and doesn’t want to hang out anymore and everything’s over and it’s right before Valentine’s Day and how could he do this and you feel ugly and you’re never going to get a boyfriend anymore and OMG you haven’t even started your stupid International War and Conflict readings yet because that professor doesn’t make sense. In the meantime, he’s probably in McBain watching football, or, even more likely, sleeping. Instead of going crazy, you could have gone for a walk in Riverside Park, gone to a Raw Elementz concert, or bought a donut for $1 in Lerner Hall.

3. You are complete without him.

At one point or another, it gets annoying and tiring to have to deal with the awkwardness when old flames turn into nothingness. Think about Taylor. Each time something doesn’t work out, she has to write a new song about him. Doesn’t that sound stressful? Maybe we should think about becoming New Age feminists, and focus on our careers and ourselves and form powerful girl squads to support each other. That kind of thing. We’d save so much time and energy, don’t you think? Even Taylor brought her girl squad instead of her hunky boyfriend to the VMAs. Now if that’s not a powerful statement, then I don’t know what is.

Trust me, love is a gameand you don’t want to play. But in the meantime, I’m going to stalk my crush on Facebook and then maybe go to my friend’s room to rant. He hasn’t even responded to my last message, or the other one, or the earlier one! Ugh, I think I’m just going to block him on Facebook.

Shannon Zhao is a Columbia College junior double majoring in political science and psychology. She is the secretary of Extended West Campus RHLO, a member of the Columbia debate team, and an avid lover of Butler corn muffins. Confessions of a Corn Muffin runs alternate Wednesdays.

To respond to this op-ed, or subit an op-ed, contact opinion@columbiaspectator.com



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? posted on

what the hell is this

Anonymous posted on

Why dating a Barnard or Columbia girl is a bad idea...false rape accusations. New York has plenty of sane, beautiful women off campus so look elsewhere.

Columbia Boy posted on

I hope this is satire. Relationships are dead on this campus. If there's a problem it's that people fuck around and call that "love." We need more relationships, more romance, and more emotional risk taking. Messages like this push us into our shells and give everyone a warped attitude about what intimacy is and what it should be.

Ash Ketchum posted on