Why is it so hard to get a date at Penn?

Many have tried and failed

There are few opportunities for overworked college kids to dress up in their best clothes and look nice for a special occasion. But when those nights do come around, often in the form of date nights or formals for our respective organizations, they can be some of our best memories. They can also be some of the worst.

Of course, it’s all fun and games imagining how the night will turn out – swirling effortlessly around the dance floor with the perfect date, stunning crowds with our charm and compatibility – but in reality, finding the date to complete this fantasy is extremely difficult. For those of us who have not been lucky enough to find a significant other to rely on for such occasions, we are left to fend for ourselves in the seemingly always shrinking date-pool.

As the semester picks up and everyone is being initiated into sororities, fraternities, senior societies, club sports and honor societies, date-required events are becoming more common. I decided to get into the nitty-gritty with a few Penn students to hear about their magical or gruesome date experiences.



“We have had at least 10, probably way more, date events since I joined my sorority I’m pretty sure, and I have been rejected by my first ask for every single one.”

She’s not kidding. Libby’s experiences have been an epic display of the worst possible luck. Each time her first choice has had a conflict or illness that has rendered them unavailable. “It’s really terrible, I can’t catch a break. They can just never go, every time.”

This story sadly isn’t too uncommon. Everyone has experienced the trial-and-error method of finding a date. On the bright side, Libby’s time has finally come and she managed to get a date on the first ask! Luck was on her side for her upcoming event and we wish her the best time.


“So many people told me I should ask this guy to our date night and so I finally perked up the courage to do so and he told me that he couldn’t because he promised his housemates he would watch TV with them.”

Ouch. Rejection isn’t uncommon sadly, but usually it’s for a better reason than hanging out with the people you live with. This sophomore reassured me though that she has had better luck since and has only been rejected for legitimate reasons “no worries.”

While finding a date is often extremely time consuming, having a good time with that date can be even more of a problem.


“I got set up with this really great guy and I thought I was pretty set, but he left me at my date night to go home with a freshman girl he had been hooking-up with all night and who he proceeded to date for the next year.” 

Well this is awkward


“He spent the whole night talking about how much he could deadlift and then about how amazingly hot is ex-girlfriend was.”


“My date blacked-out before we went to the BYO dinner and we ended up at the wrong BYO, then I completely lost her, then I found her hooking up with someone else so I left and while I was trying to hail a cab I fell in the middle of the street and completely ripped my pants. I finally got a cab with my friends and when we got back to campus we bolted, not paying. Overall it was a definite low point.”

Always pay your cabbie but ripping your pants is sadly a terrible way to end an already horrible date. Sorry Pierre.

Date events can be fun – don’t let this piece cloud your judgment too much – but the process of finding a date who is functional and semi-conversational is definitely a challenge. For our generation, dating is uncommon and no longer a real step in building a relationship, so hunting down a date is hard since no one knows how to do it. On the bright side, no matter how hard it is to track down a date or how terrible it may turn out, the hilarious stories that come out of these experiences are a good reward for all the struggle.

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