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Monday, Dec 5, 2022

Sex Panther: Dating ... with style

Hello, everyone, and welcome to cuffing season! As many of you have noticed, the frigid arctic has begun to descend upon us. As the temperatures drop, the number of couples sky-rocket. For those looking for alternate ways to get cuffed this year (especially coming into J-Term), might I suggest using this as a convenient time to act on your dissatisfaction with Middlebury’s hook-up culture and asking someone out on — wait for it — a date? (You also do not need to be cuffed nor do you need to want to be cuffed to do so; friend dates are amazing too.)

At Middlebury, a lot of the time we’re scared that the person we are into is less into us than we are to them. Asking someone on a date is perceived as the opposite of playing it cool (you know, because it conveys that you are actually interested in the person in a more profound way than wanting to sleep with them occasionally). While everyone defines labels like dating slightly differently, I personally don’t think you get to say you’re dating someone unless you’ve been on a date. At the same time, going on a date doesn’t mean you’re in a relationship — it just means you want to get to know the person better in a setting which isn’t dependent on you guys hooking up (no, “Netflix and chill” does not count). 

That brings us to the dreaded “date.” I feel like I say this all the time, but I am incredibly perplexed as to why more people don’t go on dates here. Sure, I mean, I know we live in a small town, but come on — there are so many different, fun things to do for a date at Midd. So let’s spice up cuffing season and add asking people on dates to the mix. As your trusty Sex Panther (someone who passionately dislikes hook up culture here) I’ll even do some of the groundwork for you and review some local establishments for their date potential. This week, I’ll be looking at Otter Creek Brewery.

 If you are in need of a date location and activity that is removed from the prying eyes of Middlebury, you should consider Otter Creek Brewery. Don’t worry, I have been to said brewery on two occasions now. Granted, on both occasions I was with friends, but I still feel qualified to review it for maximum date potential. The ambiance is fun and flirty. They have live music on Friday nights (which could honestly be a great distraction if your Panther of choice turns out to be a less-than-ideal love match). Their staff are friendly and helpful. You definitely don’t need to be an avid beer drinker to go, because the staff will resourcefully guide you towards a beer you can enjoy without grimacing. You can order a flight (small samples of a few different beers, which screams “I’m adventurous ... but also indecisive”) or a full-sized beer (which whispers, “I like commitment”). They have delicious nachos and wings (but maybe save the messy wings for the second date — unless you think you look cute with barbecue sauce on your cheeks). Their hot sauce is delicious, too, and everyone knows that hot sauce tolerance is directly correlated with fun potential. 

Another awesome thing about Otter Creek is that their taproom has a huge window that overlooks the floor where beers are canned! That way, if you run out of things to say, you can use the window to spark a lively conversation about supply and demand, or a cost-benefit analysis of capitalism (hot).

It is a little bit of a drive off-campus, but this affords you some welcome privacy and anonymity. Grabbing a beer is a great, low-stakes way to get to know someone and a great excuse to get off campus and be around people who aren’t Middlebury college students. No longer are you confined to the artificial party makeout scene. In the event you go with the intention of getting drunk, though, you should arrange a DD. 

So, if you feel dissatisfied with how cuffing season is going for you, or how hook up culture here is performed, consider asking your crush out on a date. Good dates are like good I.P.As — they put a little hop in your step. Dates don’t have to be scary or boring. In fact, they might even allow you to show your best self — you know, in a way that isn’t always possible in an Atwater suite, where you drunkenly scream over the 2019 “Big Booty Remix.” Otter Creek is just one of many options for a date location. Stay tuned for next week when I explore another one!