The blog of The Harvard Crimson

Listen Up!

Harry had Dumbledore. Luke had Yoda. Bieber had Usher. The Karate Kid had Mr. Miyagi. And now, you have Steven S. Lee '16 and Dev A. Patel '16.

The Love Edition

Welcome to the Love Edition of Listen Up! Your trusted Flyby advisers—two uniquely unqualified, naïve, decidedly uninteresting juniors—are back with the latest advice and invaluable counsel: on your love lives.

We’ve always felt strongly that November 4th is the Valentine’s day of autumn. So cuddle up close to that special someone (or if you’re like any of the people who submitted questions, cuddle up with a body pillow), and enjoy the most romantic blog post of your life.

Oh, and don’t forget to submit your questions here or scroll down to the form below. We know you have problems. We have answers.

Why am I strangely attracted to the John Harvard statue?

This may be the first question that leaves us truly at a loss to answer. We can’t begin to imagine why you are attracted to the John Harvard statue. Is it his pee-soaked extremities? The fact that you love being photographed by crowds of tourists while you get down and dirty? Or that you’re just strangely attracted to pathological liars? None of those seem like good enough reasons for us.

How do I break the ice with the hottie in my house who I stare at from across the dhall? I'm just a girl that's probably way out of her league.

You just described the exact problem that plagues our daily existence. Literally 90 percent of our lives are spent in Adams Dining Hall, debating whether or not go to into the servery because we are terrified that we might awkwardly encounter the loves of our lives.

Believe it or not, dining halls have fostered almost as many relationships as Taylor Swift has ended. Here are two tips on turning up the heat at your next meal.

First, choose sexual foods. The path to romantic success begins in the servery, so stay away from your soups, cakes, and pastas. When was the last time that someone slurping clam chowder was sexy? Probably the same time that T-Swift was in a healthy relationship.

Second, pick your seat carefully. As with everything we have ever learned about social interactions, Mean Girls taught us that nothing is as important in the dining hall as location, location, location. Personally, our favorite technique is to scope out where your crush puts her things down and wait for her to go and grab food. While she’s gone, put your own stuff down next to her, and then just pretend “you didn’t see her things.” It’s the easiest way to make the jump from the creepy person who stares from across the room to the creepy person sitting next to her.

How do I deal with seeing my Tinder matches in lecture? What about when they're the professor giving the lecture??

It can be awkward to see your Tinder matches in person. Your interactions thus far have been limited to swiping right, and making the transition to the three-dimensional world can be challenging to say the least—how are these images moving independent of my thumbs?!

When using Tinder, never lose sight of its ultimate goal: to eventually meet these individuals in person. Don’t swipe left or right just for no reason but to exercise your thumbs. Trust us, there are far betters ways out there to up your piano game from Schubert to Rachmaninoff. Tinder is a social contract. By swiping right, you make a promise to see that person in the future (that’s how it works, right?). So if you “can’t even deal” with seeing your Tinder matches in lecture, in Greenhouse Cafe, at the Registrar’s office, where have you, you shouldn’t swipe at all. Good rule of thumb: if you rather be bit by a mite, you better not swipe right.

*Also, your professor situation seems like it might be a serious violation of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ sexual assault policy. Like, for real. You should really check up on that and talk to experts. History Professor Alison F. Johnson knows just about everything anyone could possibly know about the policy. We’re sure she would be happy to shine some light on the matter.

How do I get a date for winter formal. SERIOUS ANSWER PLEASE.

First of all, every answer we give is serious. How dare you imply otherwise. The nerve of some people… If you keep this skepticism up, you’ll never get a date for winter formal.

Winter formal is tricky situation this year. With most of the houses hosting their formals on the same night, a self-segregating phenomenon is at hand. Your best shot is probably a date from your own house. Here are some tips:

  • Participate in IMs. Nothing brings people together like teamwork (or showing off your sports skillz.)
  • Make your roommates get toilet paper. Don’t be that person caught walking past your crush with your arms laden with rolls of TP. Sure, everyone does it. But no one wants a reminder.
  • Dhalls can spark more electricity than Pfister at a mushroom farm. Don’t be afraid to take two hour meals.

Plus, if you really get desperate, Steven and I are available. But we’re not sure if you want to stoop that low.

Ready for another classic love life question? I like guy, pretty sure guy might like me back, but guy is shy. So I asked him out for a casual, "just as friends" lunch in one of the dhalls, and we ended up talking for like 2 hours. And now it's been a week, and I really want to push this friendship (and then eventually romance) more, but idk if asking him for another meal is too desperate. Halp. :(

Clearly we have different definitions of desperate. If we were in your shoes, we probably would have proposed by now. Definitely go for it and ask for another meal. Once he says yes, follow up with our favorite emoji: the kissy face.  Just send along one of those babies and you’re all set to take this relationship to the next level.

Love life solved? Great, send in your deepest thoughts, your weirdest phobias, and slightly gross habits in for Dev and Steve to tackle. Keep the questions coming!

Dating Advice for Short Guys and The Importance of Deodorant

Welcome back to Listen Up! Your trusted Flyby advisers—two uniquely unqualified, naïve, decidedly uninteresting juniors—are back with the latest advice and invaluable counsel.

Before we delve into the advice, we have one point to raise with some of you. You know who you are. We see you around campus, frantically gesturing in the dining halls, dozing off in lecture, nervously freaking out when your crush walks by—you clearly have problems. But don’t worry, there’s hope: just submit questions to Listen Up. Either click this link or scroll down to the google form below, and help us help you.

Speaking of which, we noticed that one of you accidentally submitted your question to Slate’s advice column Dear Prudence instead of to us. Quite frankly, we feel betrayed. We work tirelessly, night-in and night-out, forgoing our problem sets and research papers, to curate questions and perfect answers. The least that you could do is submit questions to us instead of consulting someone who actually does this kind of thing for a living.

So we’ve taken the liberty of correcting that error and giving you the response you deserve below.

The Dreaded H-Bomb: How do I tell people where I study honestly but with humility?

“How do I go about betraying my fellow classmates and go someplace else for advice?” You don’t.
“How do I submit an advice question to someone and not expect Dev and Steven to find out?” You don’t.
“How do I seek counsel anywhere other than from your campus newspaper, The “Liberal Arts College Near Boston” Crimson?” You don’t. You just don’t.


Now on to addressing people that did the right thing and asked us questions.

I'm a pretty short guy, and I've had multiple girls tell me they can't date me because I'm "cute but too short." How can I convince them to look past my shortcomings [ha ha] and give me a chance?

First of all, we must admit, you’ve given us a tall order to fill. But don’t worry if right now, you don’t stand up to the challenge. Inching your way to top will be hard at the beginning, but one day, you’ll rise to the task. Don’t fret if at first, you fall short of your goal. We promise: one day, you’ll measure up. Soon, you’ll be a head above the rest.

But you won’t have to go at it alone. Thankfully, we have an expert here in seduction for the stunted.

Enter Steven Lee:

I have lived your situation and am here to aid you. Hey, Squirt—can I call you that?—you and I have been hearing the same spiel for years. We both peaked right before puberty hit. And then our peers kept on growing while we kept, well, being the same height.

Maybe you’re pursuing the wrong girls? You have to appreciate them for their candor in their reasoning, but don’t you think it’s a little superficial of them to be so focused on something as inconsequential as height? I mean we are so darn cute, right? If a girl only wants to date you for your height, she’s probably not the kind of person you would want to be your girlfriend.

But if you insist (or if one of these girls is Emma Watson), here are some rapid fire suggestions. 1) Jump up and down when you talk to women. At least some of the time you can seem like you're tall. 2) No one said high-heels are just for women. Some of the most powerful people in the world pad their shoes with humanity's greatest invention since the bifocals. I personally like to use the sneakers that have extra "padding." Support isn't only needed for athletes. You can inconspicuously add an inch with those bad boys. 3) And worst case scenario, if all else fails, drink a lot of milk. May I suggest with Mini-Wheats?

A man left a note on my car while I was in the grocery store that said "Hey! You are very gorgeous. Would you like to grab coffee sometime?" with their name and number on it. Should I get in touch with them?

Let us answer your question with another question. Do you enjoy dating shallow, creepy things? If so, try going out with a small puddle in a sketchy alley, because surely that is a better option than this guy. If he likes you, he should like you because of your brains, your heart, and your spirit, and be willing to say it to your face. And if he wants to take you on a date, he should at least involve more than coffee. At least grab a scone, too.

How do I create a fool proof financial arbitrage?

Nice try. We know it’s recruiting season. We’re not going to regurgitate answers to interview questions.

But given that you’re asking this question to a Flyby advice column, we can verify that your plan definitely needs to be foolproof. We might suggest aiming for a less competitive job. Like President of the Lampoon, a semi-secret Sorento square social organization that used to occasionally publish a so-called humor magazine.

I'm in this seminar class, and I'm not sure if the Professor likes my ideas very much. Even though what I say isn't very different from the other kids' ideas, they tend to get more positive remarks from her. I'm doing well on the homework, and such, but I'm worried that even though I participate a good amount in section, I might still get a lower grade because the Professor doesn't jive with my vibe, so to speak. Is this a legitimate concern?

It may have something to do with the fact that you use the phrase “jive with my vibe.”

All jokes aside, help us out, because we’re a little confused. Are you that annoying kid in section that just steals what other people say? That might be why your professor isn’t warming to you.

And if your ideas are similar to other people’s ideas and your professor likes their ideas but not yours, doesn’t that just mean your professor doesn’t like you as a person? Try using deodorant.

Want more? Like Flyby on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @crimsonflyby, and now on Instagram!

Dispatching With a Nose-Picking Roommate and Navigating the Friend Zone

Welcome back to Listen Up! Your trusted Flyby advisers—two uniquely unqualified, naïve, decidedly uninteresting juniors—are back on campus with the latest advice and invaluable counsel.

Before we begin, we just wanted to clarify to everyone that some questions quite frankly do not belong in an advice column. Oh, we’re not talking about the raunchy (one anon asked about a fantasy they had with a Tasty Burger), or the inane (“I literally do no that bad?”). We’re talking about questions that have real answers. Questions about how to fill out your fall wardrobe? Yes, yes, yes. Questions about how long summer lasts? No, no, no. (Apparently, scientists haven’t actually figured out how long summer lasts. Current estimates about the length of summer ranges from five seconds to five hundred days.)

How do I ask a girl to dance with me for my friend?

Try words (though not the grammatically incorrect ones you used in asking this question.)
Or a scented note.

If you were stuck in a room with a walrus, a giraffe and a pineapple, what would you do?

Be glad that we’re not stuck in a room with whoever wrote this question.

We love youuuuuuu! When are you coming to dc?????

Dear Barack and Michelle,

It’s great to hear from you again. We both have this little thing called college at the moment, but maybe Thanksgiving at the White House? You bring the dance moves, we’ll bring the candied yams.

Oh, and tell Bo we say hi :)

What should I do if my roommate picks her nose?

So many options to choose from:

  1. Offer to give her a hand.
  2. Take the opportunity to pick your own nose, but with more purpose and vigor.
  3. Place a single tissue on her desk for every time she picks her nose. Hopefully, she gets the message.
  4. Call the building manager to report an inhospitable environment.
  5. Gather petitions to submit a referendum question in the next UC election banning nose picking.

So I like this guy... we're friends. We have deep meaningful conversations. We have fun. I hang out with him and his friends. Things are progressing nicely, until he goes on a date with some other person. Halp?

Well you could start by not spelling the word “help” with the letter a. That’s just poor personal form and will repel any possible romantic development.

We can already identify the biggest problem in this situation: “I hang out with him and his friends.” Don’t fool yourself and think of this as an asset. When all of you are hanging out, he sees as just one of many amorphous individuals. You want to stand out? Ditch his friends. Drop them like they’re hot (well presumably they’re not hot, or you would be pursuing them).

listen up tennis
A match between champions.

You seem to also be implying that you’re in some sort of “friend zone.” Prepare yourself because we’re about to drop some quality information into your box of knowledge. The “friend zone” is not a thing. It’s just an excuse to be lazy. Look at all the classic couples throughout history: Jim and Pam, Chandler and Monica, Ron and Hermione. What do they all have in common? Long-time friends before successful couples.

Just ask him to hang out just the two of you. We’re sure things will work out. And if they don’t? You can always hope for a botched wedding in England to provide that accidental spark to kick start a relationship.

Have a question? A concern? A haiku of love for Dev + Steve? Submit it below!

Want more? Like Flyby on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @crimsonflyby, and now on Instagram!

Back to School Solicitations

Welcome back to Listen Up! It’s been a long summer, and we’ve missed all you readers—almost as much as you’ve missed us. Your trusted Flyby advisers—two uniquely unqualified, naïve, decidedly uninteresting juniors—are back from summer to answer your questions. To kick-off the year, we are preparing a special Back to School edition of Listen Up!, and to do that, we need your help.

For all of you incoming freshmen unfamiliar with our work, we are Harvard’s premier advice gurus consulting students on everything from their ailing love lives to troubles with their TFs (that’s teaching fellows for the uninitiated). Last spring, students submitted over 150 questions. We meticulously analyzed each and every question on their merits, consulted with experts, and wrote cogent, well-thought out, awe-inspiring, even life-saving responses to 31 of those questions. Nobody on campus can do what we do, not even your PAFs (those are the “super cool” people wearing matching T-shirts when you move in). So whether you are concerned about your roommate with a T-rex as their profile picture, nervous about sipping your first beer, or anxious about becoming too close with Professor Greg Mankiw when you take Ec 10, send us your questions here.

For everyone else, just keep doing what you’ve been doing for the past year, reaching into the depths of your soul and asking the questions that truly matter.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Harry had Dumbledore. Luke had Yoda. Bieber had Usher. The Karate Kid had Mr. Miyagi. And now, you have us.

Wax on, wax off,
Dev and Steven

Want more? Like Flyby on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @crimsonflyby, and now on Instagram!

Listen Up!: Crushes on Section Kid and...Rocks?

Welcome to “Listen Up,” Flyby’s bi-weekly advice column written by two uniquely unqualified, naive, decidedly uninteresting sophomores from the back table in Adams Dining Hall. We’ve been flooded by submissions since we re-launched this column. Over the course of nine days, we’ve received more than 30 submissions (thanks, Mom!) The number of Harvard students that do not seem to know how to submit advice questions has also been somewhat disconcerting. “Steven’s scout op nerf,” is not a valid question, nor is a 424-word letter asking Dev for a casual meet-up (his answer is still yes.)

Listen Up!: Welcome Back!

Dear Troubled Students of Harvard,

Welcome back to "Listen Up," Flyby's bi-weekly advice column, written by two uniquely unqualified, naive, decidedly uninteresting sophomores from their couch in Adams House. We know you have questions about your ailing love lives, the latest spring fashions, and the political economy of developing countries. Well, worry no more because we’re here to help.

Harry had Dumbledore. Luke had Yoda. Bieber had Usher. The Karate Kid had Mr. Miyagi. And now, you have us.

Don’t hesitate. Submit your questions anonymously here. Every other Tuesday, we’ll be back with answers.

Patiently waiting,
Dev and Steven

SWUGLIFE: A Tutorial

In this special edition of "Listen Up!"—Flyby's weekly advice column, written by two jobless, washed-up seniors from their futon in Winthrop—we bring you one expert's perspective on SWUGs, straight from the trenches.

Recently, Raisa Bruner, a girl I really should be friends with, wrote an article in the Yale Daily News's Weekend Magazine about SWUGs, or Senior Washed Up Girls. The piece was picked up by New York Magazine (jealous). And then Gawker picked up the story by New York Magazine (super jealous). The Atlantic WireJezebel, and others have also gotten in on the SWUG action.

Love Advice for All!

Welcome to "Listen Up!," Flyby's weekly advice column, written by two jobless, washed-up seniors from their futon in Winthrop.

We recently received a question submission that went as follows: "Oppam Gangnam Style!"

Just to clarify, this is not actually a question. As in, if you submitted that as your weekly discussion question for section, you would fail (a.k.a. get a B-).

Is It Too Late to Date a Senior?

Welcome to "Listen Up!," Flyby's weekly advice column, written by two jobless, washed-up seniors from their futon in Winthrop.

We rounded up some of your most poignant questions from the last few weeks and responded with our unfailing wisdom.

Q: I'm interested in a senior. Too late to do anything about it?

A: Is that senior one of us? Are you over 5'10"? Then it's never too late.

We Want Your Pressing Life Questions!

Dear Harvard,

Welcome to "Listen Up," Flyby's weekly advice column, written by two jobless, washed up seniors from their futon in Winthrop. Senior spring is a time for writing a thesis, reflecting on your time at Harvard, and finding a job. We're avoiding these things by taking on your problems instead.