Dating is one of the things that we are programmed to want to do. If you don’t want to die alone with a thousand cats, you’re going to be going out on a date. However, like humanity, dating itself has changed. For starters, we’ve surpassed the dates of our parents’ generation-you know, dinner and a movie. Instead we’ve entered a new era of instant attractions, Netflix and chill, and swiping to meet your soul mate. However, how can you meet your soul mate when you’re meeting someone through a screen? And when everything goes by so fast, how can we know that it’s the one? Is that how everything manages to fall through the cracks?
In our generation, when love is something that you swipe to receive, is the ways of dating now extremely obsolete? Kind of like the way older movies are.
All I know is I want to take a time machine back to the days when a guy will pick up a girl and then proceed through the standard motions. Dinner. Movie. You knew that was a date. In this generation, when everything is done in seconds, you don’t know if things are dates and the lines are blurred. Online dating was supposed to make things easier. So why did they make things so much more confusing?
The newsroom is often home to many different personalities, just like most offices. Especially in a college newsroom, where there’s a buffet of students who are getting their first real work experience.
There’s the editor in chief, the type a perfectionist who always has to be in control of everything. She is the type of person who wants things done right, which is fine until she sends “improvement” emails to you at 2 a.m. She’s the person whose the first in the newsroom in the morning, and the last to leave at night. It seems all she has going on is the newsroom; however, she’s the one who’s getting a 4.0 grade point average, and is Miss Perfect. She’s the person who will point out every tiny detail. This could be nice, but most of the time it comes off as annoying.
Then there’s the hipster art and entertainment editor, who shows up with black coffee that he swears is as “black as his soul.” He listens to Indie music with a weird name, hides behind a beanie hat, and Ray Ban sunglasses. He shows up late, much to the editor in chief’s dismay, and looks down on you when you say you don’t understand whatever the hell he’s talking about. He insults music that’s popular on the radio, and his section mirrors the music on his black iPod classic. He’s a culture snob, despite his carefree attitude can be mirroring a hippy’s. He’s intelligent, clearly, but he takes his degree of intelligence to another level. Of course, his full time job is not giving a damn about everything.
The Sports Editor, a former athlete who lives vicariously through the stories he covers. He’s always sporting a jersey, knows more stats then anyone who’s a math major, and always live-tweeting games just as they are happening. He’s at home at the sports bar, and is perhaps the most relaxed person in the newsroom, other than the Arts and Entertainment editor.
Then there’s the Opinions Editor, which is the position I had. I was the one who was extremely passionate about issues, whether they were campus ones, social injustices, or politics just to name a few. If you’re unhappy with something, chances are there’s an article about it.
These are the just the main characters in the scene, however, there’s minor roles in reporters, copy editors, and photographers. However, despite the many different personalities that occupy in the newsroom, every person shares one thing in common. That is their passion for writing, great journalism, and delivering a great product. We all want to be writers when we grow up. We all worry about not getting a job. That’s why every Monday, when we flock to put the paper to bed we don’t end up killing each other. Also, the fact that it’s not professional to throw something at the annoying editor in chief could be a component.
That’s when this nonsense started. It was on a Monday in the newsroom. It was in early September, when the fall foliage began to emerge in the New Hampshire skyline. We were now getting into the routine of getting the paper’s layout perfect, and now were looking foreword to making our paper even better than what our predessors had left it.
We just had finished putting out the layout together, when Sarah called the editors together to meet to talk about some new ideas she had for each of our sections. The meeting would occur when we met with the rest of the staff to get the stories for each week. She looked like she was all business with her black skirt, and her white blouse. She had a notebook in front of her, the page filled with ideas written in blue ink. Her strawberry blonde hair was pushed away from her face in a tight bun.
“Good afternoon, everyone,” she said in all-business tone. “Let’s get started, shall we?”
We all nodded.
“Okay, so great work on last week’s issue. I’m noticing an improvement in every week’s articles, which is great. We all really should be proud of ourselves,” she said. “However, with that being said, let’s not get cocky here. There’s always going to be room for improvement. We have to stay at the top of our game, because these clips are going to get us jobs. We always have to do better, and to work harder.”
“If I work any harder, I’m going to have a mental breakdown,” said Jodie, one of my closest friends on the paper. She’s one of the copy editors, and is one of the best writers we have.
“With that being said, we’re going to be trying some new ideas for each of your sections. We need to up our game, and to get this paper a more permanent place in students. So, without further a due, here are my ideas. First up, let’s talk sports. Derek, I’m thinking we should put a chart with the scores of each game. Sure, it’s good that we’re covering every game. However, readers might want to see a quick visual. Therefore, putting a chart in your section might be a fun-filled way to get a more visual aspect,” said Sarah.
Derek nodded. “Should we not cover as many games then?”
“No,” Sarah said. “Of course not. What makes you think that we shouldn’t cover as many games?”
“Because I’m not going to have enough room for both the chart and all of the games,” Derek said.
“Oh,” Sarah said. “Well we can surely fit a small on in your section, surely.”
“We’ll try,” Derek said.
“Okay,” Sarah said. “Well we’ll work together for next week’s issue.”
“Sounds good,” Derek said.
“Great,” Sarah said, grinning. “So, tell me what’s going on with the sports section this week.”
“Well I figured we’d cover the women’s soccer ternament, the preseason for basketball, and a profile of the new coach,” Derek said.
“That’s only three stories,” Sarah said, narrowing her eyes. “Is there not anything going on with sports this week?”
“I figured I’d also cover the games that are going on during the week. They weren’t worth mentioning,” he shrugged.
“Why not? I need to know exactly what’s in your section,” she said.
“Okay, well I’m going to cover all three home games.”
“What sports?” she asked.
“The boys soccer team, the football team, and the swim team,” he said.
She nodded. “Okay thank you.”
“Whose going to write all of these stories, by the way?”
“Aaron and myself,” he said.
“Okay, moving on to Arts and Entertainment. As for ideas, I think we should spotlight campus artists, because they are really struggling. Can you get me a piece about the band Speed for next week’s issue, Samuel?”
“Sure,” he said in his deep voice. “I can definitely get that for you by next week.”
“Perfect,” she said. “And this week’s other stories?”
“Well, I figured we’d keep it simple with an album review, a movie review, a book review, and a poetry slam,” Samuel said.
“And what are we reviewing?”
“I’m going to review the new Modest Mouse album, I think Jodie is going to review the latest novel by J.K. Rowling, and I’m not too sure about the movie review.”
“Okay, can you try to review something that’s an indie album?”
“Like what? Pop trash like Taylor Swift?”
“Yes, exactly like that.”
“Because more people actually listen to Taylor Swift. Therefore, we’ve got to think about getting music reviews on things people actually listen to. Since a lot of people listen to Taylor Swift, it will draw more reader traffic on the web. It also will just get more readers in general, which is something that we really need to think about when putting content out.”
“That’s actually really depressing,” Samuel said. “I should cater to what the basic Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte drinking, UGG boot wearing, white girl? Who clearly has no taste in music whatsoever?”
Sarah nodded. “Yes,” she said. “Because Starbucks drinking girls read our paper too, and they have lots of friends who would want to read the paper.”
“It’s sad that we’re catering to that audience.”
“We’re not just catering for those types of people. We need to review country music, hip-hop, and pop. And of course, we need to feature classic rock artists that are still coming out with new music,” Sarah said.
“So I’ll get a pickup driving, wrangler jean wearing, baseball cap wearing dude, a teeny bopper who clearly doesn’t have any taste in music, and of course the next Jay-Z on that because I sure as hell won’t be caught dead reviewing that music even if it were to save my life,” Sam said.
The newsroom laughed, while Sarah rolled her eyes. I almost felt sorry for him, despite the fact I found him obnoxious and annoying 90% of the time.
“This paper,” she said through frustrated clenched teeth, “isn’t going to be a testament of what you think is good music. It’s about what the campus audience wants to read, as well as me. I think that there needs to be a lot more of a variety in your section. And, as your editor, I think you should worry about that more than your little stand on music, don’t you think?”
He nodded. I was disappointed. I was waiting to see what other smart remark he would counter her argument with.
“So, why don’t we have another music review? Anyone want to take on the task?”
Michelle, a shy freshman with long brown hair, raised her hand. “I’ll do it!”
“Great. Do you know what you’d want to review?” Sarah said, as she wrote it down in her already filled notebook.
“The new Madonna CD?” she said.
“Perfect,” she said. I heard Sam groaning in the background. “Thank you. Now we’ll be moving onto Opinions. I am particularly excited with my ideas for this section, since this section is always the most fun to talk about!”
I groaned. As much as I thought Sarah was a good editor, I think sometimes she realized that her ideas weren’t always as good as she said that they were. She also thought she knew pretty much everything, which annoyed those who knew what they were doing. I got this job fair and square. I knew what I was doing.
“My idea is to implement a few weekly columns. Maybe get one of the guys to write about what it’s like to be a male in a feminist driven world,” she said.
“I think I know what it’s like. It’s called the patriarchy,” I said.
The newsroom laughed.
“Okay, good point. But it would be cool to have multiple point of view, don’t you think?”
“Anyone interested in doing it?” she turned to Sam.
“I’m not writing about that!” he shouted. “First you have the adacity to make me write about Taylor Swift, and now this!”
“Fine. But would you be interested in writing a column?”
“I suppose I can entertain the idea.”
“Okay. What would you write about?”
“How I feel like commercialism and capitalism is taking over.”
“Okay, that’s an article that will work. Are you okay with this Audrey?”
I nodded, as if I had a choice. This was Sarah’s show and we all were just standing by like lifeless puppets who had no free will to think for themselves.
“Okay, I also had another idea, but this one is a long-shot,” Sarah said.
“What is it?” I asked. I could already see it now. It was something that was a great idea in theory, but in execution would equal of stress and Sarah breathing down my throat until it’s exactly how she visualized it.
“Tinderella,” she said as she clapped her hands together like an excited child getting ready to receive her Christmas presents.
“What’s that?” I asked.
She turned to me, and the newsroom. “Tinderella is an examination of how the online dating scene works. One person will go under cover to examine what it’s like to date like this. They will download the app Tinder to their phone, and each and every week, write a column about their experiences with the app,” she said.
I had to admit this was a great idea, but I was skeptical about it. “What will they do to experience the app?” I asked.
“You know, go out on dates, talk to potential partners, etc.,” Sarah said.
“So basically,” Sam said. “You’re encouraging someone to go out there and write about their hookups. What is this, Sex and the City?”
How did Sam, a culture elitist, know about Sex and the City?
“Not exactly,” Sarah said.
“But you do know that Tinder is a hook-up app right?” Sam asked.
For once, I was extremely grateful for his tendency to debate with Sarah.
“No, Sam. I didn’t,” Sarah said.
“So, what will they write about?” I asked, trying to avoid a blood bath on the newsroom floor. “Their hookups? What if they do hookup? Would we be able to publish that?”
“No,” Sarah said, looking defeated. “No, I guess maybe we should omit that part.”
“But there’s another part to consider,” I said.
“Is it safe?” I asked.
“What do you mean?”
“Well what if someone gets raped or hurt? We don’t know what’s going to happen since they are hooking up with complete strangers,” I said.
“Yeah,” Jodie said. “What if something happens? I mean great journalism is always a good thing to strive for, but my safety should come before that.”
The rest of the newsroom nodded in agreement. Sarah said nothing, a sure indicator that we at last finally proved her wrong. Tom, the photo editor, should get out his camera, because this was a rare moment.
“Oh, I didn’t think of that,” she finally said quietly.
“Maybe it’s something you should think about, “ I said. “I really don’t want any of my writers to be in danger because they are writing a piece for me.”
“Okay,” she said. “Well maybe I have a solution.”
“Oh?” I said. “What’s that?”
“Well, we can ask the reporter bring someone along with them when they go out on a date. That way, if something happens, they won’t be alone.”
“And when someone rapes someone, that will totally work,” Derek said. “How can you be so smart, yet so stupid, Sarah?”
“The buddy system will work,” I said. “That way, if something happens, at least someone will know the whereabouts, and call the police if something happens.”
“That’s all they can do?” Sam asked.
“Well, why don’t we try it for a couple of issues, and if it’s really a disaster, then we’ll stop it and move on to something else?” Sarah asked.
I nodded. “Fair enough. But whose going to be Tinderella? Did you think of that?”
Sarah said nothing. “Actually, I thought you would be Tinderella.”
“Me?” I asked, almost shrieking. “Why me?”
“Well you’re single, for starters,” Sarah said.
“Gee, thanks for pointing out my relationship status to the entire newsroom,” I said.
“And you’re experienced. I can just see you doing this.”
I felt like I was backed up in a corner, and there wasn’t anyway out. I knew I couldn’t say no, however, I was dreading this. Everyone was glaring at me, waiting to see what I would do. I knew if I refused, I would be on Sarah’s bad side. That would be fine, however I knew if I wanted another position with the paper, that won’t be in my favor. But, I knew if I accepted, I would be in so many uncomfortable situations. There was no easy way to get out this, I realized. Both yes and no seemed like terrible options, however I knew I needed to pick one. I knew yes would be the least terrible one.
“Okay,” I said begrudgingly. “I’ll do it.”
Sarah clapped her hands together. “Great. First let’s write a piece introducing the topic, say 500 words by Friday?”
“Sure,” I said. I was certain I was selling my soul to the devil, just like Sam had done a moment ago.
“Okay fabulous. Now what’s going on with your section?”
I quickly relayed the stories I had for this week, my head still buzzing. I couldn’t pay attention to what the news editor said was top news this week. All I kept on thinking was what the hell did I just do?
For the rest of the day, I couldn’t wrap my head about what the hell had just happened in the newsroom. It was kind of like when you hooked up with someone last night, and in the morning when the light reveals their flaws, you begin to question why you even thought they were cute in the first place. They were just an ordinary person, and another notch on your built.
I’ve never been much for dating, and I’ve never used Tinder. I had one steady boyfriend for five years, which ended the summer of our freshman year. Since then, I went on two dates, both of them were blind dates that ended up being complete disasters. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, it just happened like that. As for Tinder, my best friend Gabe was infatuated with it. As a flamboyant gay man, it was hard for him to find someone to love. However, thanks to Tinder, they had a range of options, and a date every Saturday night with someone who they thought was going to be Mr. Right. Most of his dates resulted in sex in his dorm, and one of two different storylines. A few dates, followed by a few unreturned phone calls, or he never heard from his partner ever again. Then, the cycle began that following weekend.
Tinder, in my opinion, seemed like a jungle where you were judged by your looks. It was a playground for those who were so desperate that they sought validation from a green heart, saying someone matched with you. It was a store for those who clearly didn’t have the abilities to meet people on their own. Just log on, and you’ll be able to shop for a partner. The concept made me uneasy, because you never know who you’re going to meet. I saw episodes of Catfish, where the person whose sweet words on the screen didn’t exactly match up with who they were offline. I never pictured myself as being the one who would use Tinder as a way to meet people.
This had the potential of being a complete disaster, and it was all in the name of great journalism.
“Hey Tinderella, have you meet your prince charming yet?” Jodie asked, yanking me out of my daze. She was carrying a cup of herbal tea, something that she swore by to keep her sanity.
“Ha, ha very funny,” I said.
“I still can’t believe Sarah would make you do this. She basically was forcing it on you,” Jodie said, as she took a sip of the tea. “If I were you I would go to Ms. Harris.”
Mrs. Harris was our club advisor who rarely attended the meetings, unless it was to tell someone that they were doing something wrong, or at the beginning of the semester when we all weren’t sure how to use the software.
“And do what? This isn’t elementary school where Sarah can get punished by getting recess taken away from her,” I said.
“But it’s still unfair,” Jodie said. “I feel so bad for you. I was worried she would make me do it. I don’t think that Joe would be too happy about it though, even if it were all in the name of a good clip.”
Joe was her boyfriend for the last year. He majored in psychology, and was determined to become a psychiatrist. They made a cute couple, even though sometimes he didn’t like it that she always had to cancel plans last minute to do extra work at the paper. However, he still loved Jodie and treated her like she was a queen on a throne. They kind of reminded me of Rory Gilmore and Dean Forestor sometimes, with the fact she always had to apologize whenever she did something wrong, and it raised a red flag for me. However, I knew he wouldn’t harm her, nor his intentions were anything less than honorable.
“I feel so bad for myself too,” I said.
“You really should have said no.”
“I felt like I couldn’t,” I said. “Besides, if it’s a complete disaster, we can always cancel the column too.”
“Fair enough,” Jodie said. “How are you feeling about it though?”
“Uneasy,” I admitted.
“I’m sure it will turn out fine,” Jodie said.
“Are you?” I asked.
“No,” Jodie admitted. “But you’ll be okay.”
“I surely hope so,” I said. “I surely hope so.”