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Soon-to-be graduate Nathan Ray offers us his expert advice

You all asked, so now he’s answering

Q. Dear Nathan,

I’ll be studying abroad in Valencia this fall and I’m pretty nervous. My boyfriend and I have been together for about two and a half years now, and I’m scared because the semester I’m in Spain will be the longest we’ve ever been apart. How do we pick up where we left off when I come home in December?

Sincerely,

Anxious about Ethpaña 

A.  Dear Anxious,

I’m going to put this in the gentlest way possible — your boyfriend is going to cheat on you while you’re in Spain. Think about it — who encouraged you to study abroad in the first place? I’m willing to bet all the tuition money I’m about to pay for grad school that it was your boyfriend. “You’ll get so good at Spanish that when you get back we can have dates where we speak in Spanish the whole time!” Sound familiar? How about, “Take lots of pictures so I can live vicariously through you!”? How easily statements of support can disguise the desire to hook up with strangers at the bar in your absence. Look, I get it — 4,000 miles and an ocean separating a couple can make it seem easy to fool around without consequence. But trust me, nobody on this earth, and certainly not at the University, is worth losing your shit over on a Spanish balcony at three in the morning when you find out that that “just a friend” you were worried about, finessed their way into splitting Plan B with your partner. My advice? Dump him on the way to the airport and ball out in Valencia. As the philosopher Elaine Benes once said — “NEXT!”

Q. Dear Nathan,

As a straight man, I recently downloaded YikYak and was surprised to find how sad and horny the majority of University students seem to be. Anyways, after responding to an anonymous request for a cuddle session with who I assumed would be a woman, I found myself at the apartment of another straight man. The whole thing ended up being very professional — we spooned wordlessly for 30 minutes, followed each other on LinkedIn, and then I was on my way. How do I define my relationship with this guy? Should I introduce him to my parents? 

Sincerely,

Byte Curious

A. Dear Curious,

I wouldn’t worry too much about labels, just stay open to new experiences and be sure to honestly communicate your feelings. I’d be more concerned about the fact that you assumed the cuddle request came from a woman. Seems like the problematic mindset from that old “the doctor was a woman” riddle to me.

Q. Dear Nathan,

I’m also graduating this spring and am worried about making friends in the adult world. How can I connect with people my age when there aren’t any classes or clubs that force us to spend time together?

Sincerely,

Stressed in the City

A. Dear Stressed,

Here are a few topics that are sure to be fodder for fun conversation when meeting other young adults. 1. Our national championship win, people from other schools never get tired of hearing about that. 2. How many drinks you can take before you black out or throw up. Trust me, drunk stories are like dreams — everyone wants to hear about yours in extreme detail. 3. Conspiracy theories about the Food and Drug Administration. I once went on a date with a girl who believed that lactose intolerance isn’t real and that the government is unfairly keeping Americans from buying raw cow milk and let me tell you, that worked like a charm.

Q. Dear Nathan,

I’m insecure about how lanky I am, so I’ve started hitting the gym. The problem is that I often feel even more self-conscious there, since I’ll often find myself struggling to do bicep curls with 10-pound dumbbells while some guy who looks like the human version of Shrek in “Shrek 2” is next to me benching three times my bodyweight. How can I feel more confident when working out?

Sincerely,

Gym Bro

Q. Dear Gym Bro,

I could feed you some overused advice about trusting the process and how nobody is judging you at the gym for trying to be healthier, but I’m sure you’ve heard all that before. Here’s my take — go to the gym naked. Want to clear out the gym so you can have a solo squat sesh? Nothing will empty the place faster than rolling up with your Wahoos and Jim Ryan hanging out. Just be careful on the treadmill.

Buena suerte,    

Nathan Ray  

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