A crowd formed outside of the doors of Devlin 008 long before the class inside was set to disperse, in hopes of getting a seat to see the famous “date talk” given by Kerry Cronin, a professor in the perspectives department.
As soon as the clock struck 7:15 p.m., the crowd forged into the lecture hall, grabbing rows of seats for friends and roommates. When Cronin came in at 7:30, she thanked the St. Thomas Moore Society for inviting her back before addressing the different reasons that brought people there to listen.
Some were there from her class, others because they had already heard it and wanted to again, and others because they already knew they disagreed with what she has to say and just wanted to reconfirm their opinion. Cronin has delivered her thoughts on dating to crowds for years, after she went to White Mountain with a group of seniors one night and asked about their dating lives, she said.
Of the eight that were there, only one had ever been on a date while at Boston College. She said she couldn’t believe that the smart and driven people in front of her weren’t taking advantage of living in a place with 10,000 other smart and driven people.
“This is a big buffet,” Cronin said of the student body. “Feel free.”
So the famous date assignment was created—the one that freshmen start whispering about before they’ve even learned that Lower is called Lower and not Corcoran Commons. In her senior capstone course the next year, she told everyone that they needed to ask someone out on a date as part of the course.
“I’m going to make you go on a date,” she told them. “And I will flunk you if you don’t go.”
Cronin ran through the requirements of the date assignment, pausing to give personal anecdotes from students—usually ones that drew out groans and cringes from the audience members. Over the years, the requirements have changed as Cronin has realized what works and what doesn’t. What hasn’t changed, though, is the three kinds of students that Cronin said she sees at BC.
There are those that are in “pseudo-marriages,” people who are “talking” or have a “thing,” and those who completely “opt out,” she said. She elaborated most on the opt out group, because she said that’s the most common one.
She said that she’s come to realize what kind of person is usually a student at BC—someone who is used to being rewarded for hard work. The problem, she said, is that effort doesn’t always translate into success when it comes to relationships and that is why many people choose to ignore them all together.
Cronin ran through seven things you have to know about yourself and seven things that you have to know about dating before you can date successfully. She couldn’t even get through the first one before the auditorium erupted with laughter, people turning to look at their friends every time something she said struck a chord.
When she’d finished her lecture, she had one final thing to say to the audience.
“You came here wanting me to give you this assignment,” she said.
After fielding a few questions—such as “How do you avoid a pseudo-marriage?” and “How do you ask a friend out?”—Cronin dismissed the lecture hall, with the requirement that everyone in it go out on a date before Valentine’s Day.
Featured Image by Colleen Martin / Heights Editor