The blog of The Harvard Crimson

Valentine's Day Date Ideas

Yes, you should be trying to make your S.O.'s day every day, but February 14th is the one day you definitely can’t afford to mess up. As Valentine’s Day creeps up and #couplegoals rises up the Trending list, the pressure to plan the best date is on. No idea how to spend the day with your significant other? Sick of settling for El Jefe’s outings? We've got your back with these potential date ideas for you and your boo.

Ice Skating

Take advantage of the snowy, picturesque weather and head to Frog Pond for ice skating. A much needed break from campus, ice skating is one of the few reasons below freezing temperatures can actually be a good thing. If neither of you know how to ice skate, then this idea is a must. Nothing says "happy couple" like falling on your butts together.

Bougie Meals

Use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to escape unseasoned dining hall food and treat yourselves. Consider venturing out into new options, or splurge on the lavish restaurants that you always walked past with a pang in your heart and your wallet. Some particularly romantic enclaves in the Square include Beat Brassiere, Temple Bar, and Grafton Street.

Explore Boston

Be honest with yourself: When’s the last time you left the vicinity of campus and actually gone into the city? Extracurricular obligations don’t count. This is the perfect opportunity for you and your partner to explore new sights together, whether it’s strolling down Newbury Street, chasing squirrels in Boston Common, or wandering through the bustling streets of Chinatown.

Domestic Dates

For 364 days of the year, Harvard may seem like a bleak prison chaining our souls until the death of our livelihoods, but make February 14th an exception by planning a cozier date on campus. Not all dates have to be extravagant. Go the dorky route and film a cooking show episode together or marathon all of Teen Titans Go. The world is your oyster.

In truth, Valentine’s Day can be spent any way you want, as long as you and your S.O. are spending it together. After all, whether it’s the love of your life, your best friends, or your mirror, this day is less about what you do than it is about who you’re with.

Questions Datamatch Should Add to Its Survey


It’s Datamatch szn, folks. People are trying to find true love (but really free food) by taking an online survey. The questions are quirky each year, but here are a few we think are missing.

Who are you voting for UC?

Let’s face it—UC elections are characterized by consistently low turnout. If the UC is going to change that, they’ve gotta do something big. They didn't need to create a new voting system; they could just ask us to vote at the end of the Datamatch survey, which more than 75% of Harvard undergrads sign up for. Turnout stats would skyrocket (though Quincy would probably manage to still have no one vote), and matching people with opposite stances on final clubs would definitely make for interesting evenings.

Do you like the Patriots?

First off, suck it. Secondly, let’s let all the Patriots fan stick together and not infect the rest of us. They’ll have Patriot-cest and make kids with that “gAWd-AWful” Boston accent while the rest of us live normal, non-Superbowl-losing lives.

Do you want a sugar daddy?

Datamatch is so popular that its purpose should be expanded. Some of us (myself included) NEED this in our lives. How else are we going to afford Blue Bottle Coffee?

Have you ever had sex in the stacks?

Datamatch could be your chance! Match people who haven’t done the deed yet and give them directions to the bowels of Widener and a blanket—that tile floor is cold.

Are you taking more than four classes?

If so, then you’re a masochist and should probably be paired with other masochists.

Are you taking more than five classes?

If you answer anything but “I’d rather go to Yale,” then I’m gonna need you to please stay away from me.

Freshmen, Lower Your Datamatch Expectations

Datamatch
A great way to find your soulmate or a great way to procrastinate doing your 400 pages of readings for fifteen minutes?

If you’re a freshman, the concept of Datamatch may not have been thoroughly explained to you. Actually, the concept of speaking to other people may also not have been thoroughly explained to you either. Luckily, we have multiple years of crippling loneliness and Valentine’s Day solitude under our belts and are passing our knowledge unto you.

What Datamatch Is

Datamatch is a college-wide distributed survey created by the Harvard Computer Society. Yes—the mechanism through which students find dates at this school is dependent on the Computer Society. Interpret that as you will. After answering a bunch of multiple choice questions regarding your life on Harvard, interests, blood type, Social Security number, etc., you send in your answers and wait eagerly by candlelight as an algorithm determines which human you’ll put on a decent outfit to go on a date with.

On Valentine’s Day, you’ll receive one or two matches, with the option to get a meal paid for by HCS with said match. The catch is that both your match and you must indicate that you’re down to get a meal together. Unrequited acceptances don’t work. It’s kind of like the ‘Hang the DJ’ episode of Black Mirror, except that Datamatch won’t mentally scar you. If both of you decide to engage in human interaction for the first time in your life, you’ll go on a (potentially) cute date and elope within the next few days.

If your desire to go out with your match is not reciprocated by them, I would recommend listening to ‘Drew Barrymore’ by SZA on loop to assist you in the weeklong crying session you’re going to embark on. I would also recommend using the Kleenex with Lotion tissues, as your nose will get less irritated as you cry more. I’m not saying this from personal experience. Okay, yes, I am. Why did you ignore me, Amanda….

What Datamatch Is Not

Datamatch is not a valid reason to tell your blocking group that you’re entering the dating market at Harvard. It does not justify spending $400 on a new wardrobe to get glammed out to go to Zinneken’s. It definitely is not the way to secure a lifelong commitment with that guy from your government section that you’re too anxious to say hi to. It’s not a serious, “business formal” approach to making connections at Harvard, which is a great thing. Mostly, it is not a way to tell your friends from home that you’re dating a gal from Harvard. If someone gave me the option to eat at Flour for free, I’d gladly take the opportunity to go, even if it was with a literal rabid hyena.

Datamatch is a great tradition at Harvard, and you should definitely give it a shot. Who knows—maybe you’ll actually enjoy your time with your match, and you two can remain friends...or fiancés. You may have to take a step out of your comfort zone, but that’s what college is all about. Heck, this is your chance to go to Clover and not feel bad for spending a rack on rosemary fries. So, get out there and have fun. Or don’t. Crying on Valentine’s Day is always an option too.

The Best of Datamatch 2018

For a bunch of CS nerds, we have to applaud the HCS for their humorous content on this year's Datamatch survey. We don't think the laughs should be restricted only to Datamatch users, so we give you: Best of Datamatch 2k18.

We're saddened by how many Harvard students we expect to take full advantage of this feature.

We always knew the sole reason for frequenting LamCaf was to flirt (looking at you, freshmen).

And if you haven't been in the Crimson, that's a sign you should comp Flyby.

The only thing better than a strong LinkedIn presence is having a River Daddy.

What if we told you that people care about your love life almost as little as they care about Bitcoin?

So get out there, get Datamatching, and prove us all wrong: Love does exist at Harvard.

A Compilation of Harvard Athletics' Bribes

Crimzone App
You know some marketing director thought to himself: 'Crimzone! It's like Crimson, but in the ZONE!'

It’s no surprise that most Harvard students aren’t big on school spirit and attending sports games—there’s a reason Harvard-Yale is the only day we’re #HarvardState. Here’s a lineup of some of the stuff Harvard Athletics has tried to bribe us with to show up and support Varsity sports.

Three t-shirts

Yes, you read that right. Three T-shirts. Who would give out only one when you can instead give out three? We suppose they had to raise the stakes at some point, but to be fair, it was also to go watch squash.

Fanny packs

We're not shocked that they're back in style (so convenient and fun!), but we are shocked that Harvard Athletics is onto the trend. If you dragged yourself all the way over to Lavietes Pavilion to see women’s basketball, you could be sporting a new Harvard fanny pack.

Food

See, now they’ve caught on. They’ve realized that the only thing college kids really value besides sleep is food. Free pizza and burritos are definitely dubs when you’ve exhausted your ability to eat HUDS.

Reward points and prizes

Harvard Athletics has an app, CrimZone Rewards, which allows students to check into games, rack up points for attending, and ultimately win prizes. There’s a blow-up couch and a polaroid camera on there, so you had better believe we’re also checking into the hockey game and tennis match when we go to watch basketball—you can never have too much furniture.

All we have to say is: Do less, Harvard Athletics.

Caught Between Harvard Hookups and Heartbreaks? Ask Veritawkward.


Ghosted by section kid? Not sure how to make moves on your dhall crush? Still trying to figure out how to get wild in Widener? Enter Veritawkward, a relationship advice column just for Harvard students. Anonymously send in any and all (and we mean all) problems relating to hookups and heartbreak, and our resident relationship expert will impart some candidly honest answers and guidance. Think of it as office hours, but for your love life.

Email all submissions to veritawkward@gmail.com with your pseudonym in the subject line (i.e. “Lonely in Lamont”). We can’t wait to hear from you!

Dropping Your Significant Other Before V-Day


So, it’s a week 'til February 14th, you’ve spent all your Christmas money on textbooks for the new semester, and you can’t really afford a fancy Valentine’s Day gift. Since the add-drop period is still in full swing, why not get rid of your fifth class and your significant other? If you’re among the rare contingent of people at this school who has willingly entered into a romantic commitment, here’s how you can end it before February 14th:

Use midterm season as an excuse

Professors use the word “midterm” with absolute liberty, so why shouldn’t you? Midterm season is coming up at some point in the next few months, and you’ll need a lot of time to study.

Say you need your own space

Literally. Snuggling in a twin bed is cute…until you have to get up the next morning after the worst sleep of your life.

Run off into the Barker Center

The doors are so heavy that they won’t try to follow you in.

Comp Flyby and let it take over your life

Who needs a SO when you have Flyby?

The Curious Case of the Grill Burger

Grateful and Fries
Curiouser and curiouser.

Sometimes, collard greens and a turkey sandwich that for some reason has peaches on it just don’t cut it for lunch. So, you pull out your Mange app and debate over getting an omelette or a burger. You order the burger, add cheese, and wait a dreaded seventeen minutes because no one in Lev wanted to eat the turkey sandwich either.

At this point, your burger embarks on one of three journeys:

It’s Black

It’s more likely than not you’ll be presented with a coal-like puck of meat thinly veiled with a slice of cheese—arranged almost as if to conceal the shame of the charred burger you have been presented with. Some people are not as fortunate, or mentally prepared, to look at their burger. They unknowingly bite into the edible chimney, then put it down. Tears leak from their eyes. Are these patties cooked on the sun and shipped back to Earth? Perhaps that would explain the seventeen minute wait. These are by far the saddest of dhall burgers to encounter. Pray that you do not receive one.

It’s Still Breathing

Conversely, your burger may have been cooked with a flashlight, and is still alive. These borderline raw concoctions are so undercooked that the warmth of the patty does not even start to melt the cheese, which makes for a textural nightmare. If the bun is stale, just rent a Zipcar and drive into the ocean. This is the lowest point of your life. I do not know what “umami” means, but it is not this.

It’s PERFECT

Sometimes, the person manning the grill is on their A-game. Few dining halls have that one chef that always nails their grill orders. For example, Mather House’s Lynette should be on Chopped. Few people have enhanced my Harvard experience more than Lynette. Lynette is the best. Shoutout to Lynette. I love you. These chefs grill the bun while the patty cooks, throw the cheese on the patty while it reaches that perfect medium rare/medium range, and say a prayer that it may nourish your body before putting it out on the countertop. The cross section which brands these beautiful creations will change your life. It’s a beautiful sight. It’s a beautiful burger. It’s perfect.

In sum, approach the HUDS Grill burger with caution. It could make or break your day. Better yet, just order an omelette.

Super Bowl LII Drinking Game

Super Bowl Celebrations
May we all have as good a time as Quincy Faculty Dean Deborah J. Gehrke did last year by the end of this ordeal.

Regardless of if you’re a Patriots fan weathering the storm of hatred coming from every non-New Englander in your house or if you’re a hopeful Eagles fan praying that Nick Foles has another seven-touchdown game, this afternoon’s Super Bowl is likely to give your liver CTE. It’s the perfect occasion to showcase how much or how little you know about football, much to the annoyance of the people watching the game with you, regardless of which category you fall into.

If you’re trying to numb the pain of the work you’re foregoing to watch a game you may not even care about, we’ve got a drinking game ready to fuel your eventual victory parade or angry march once the final whistle blows.

An Introduction

Take a shot if you’re a Patriots fan. Take two if you’re an Eagles fan, or rooting for them just to spite your brazen New England peers. Thinking this seems like a striking example of inequality? We would argue that Patriots fans have already been annoying enough regarding Brady’s eighth visit to the Super Bowl, so the liquid kickstart ought to go to the milder side of the fans. Eagles fans need all the help they can get, especially considering that they have to watch the game within the Mecca of athletic arrogance.

A Literal Approach

If you're trying to actually watch the game and drink accordingly, take a shot every time a field goal is kicked, the defense forces a turnover, or a forty-plus yard pass or run is completed. Take two shots for every touchdown or defensive touchdown return. This may seem like a lot, and it is. Non-Patriots fans need this. As a Dolphins fan living with three Patriots fans, I need this. Do it for the culture. Do it for your sanity.

A Better Approach

If you don’t really care about the game and just want to keep your mind occupied while watching, it may be in your best interest to keep an eye out for some non-football related Super Bowl happenings to get you through the three hours.

Take a shot if three or more Brady jerseys are present in the room, if a Gronk Tide Pod awareness ad runs, if someone shushes the viewing party to hear a commercial, or if Chris Collinsworth makes a stupidly unnecessary observation (for example, “I’m sure Ertz hoped he would have caught that pass.”) Take two shots if the Brady-Belichick-Kraft conflict is brought up, if Mountain Dew runs a trippy halftime ad, or if you see someone hide a beer because a proctor walked by.

Down everything you have if the Patriots win. Yeah, I’m salty. No shame.

Though I've never experienced this, watching the Super Bowl can be fun (and totally not a reminder of how winning the AFC is a lost cause as long as Brady is playing). We hope that this guideline can guide you to a wonderful evening. If the Patriots lose tonight, fear not. They’ll probably be back next year. If the Eagles lose tonight, fear everything. Shutter your windows and bar your doors. The wave of New England football fan arrogance is lethal.

How To Change Sections (Without a Real Conflict)

Section screenshot
Please explain to us why this is even a section time.

It’s the second week of school. Your math TF has failed you. Again. You’re out of scheduling conflicts to give the course head and just about ready to self-study the class. Don’t give up just yet, these excuses will have you in a new section faster than you can run out of class.


Volunteering Conflict

Sure, they might be able to see what classes you’re enrolled in, but how could your TF possibly know about all the good work you do? Tell them that you have to volunteer somewhere in Boston at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays, so there’s just no possible way you could make their session. If they push back, just let them know how terrible of a person they are for trying to stop your service, and soon enough you’ll find yourself with the hot TF from the other section.

Get a Part-Time Job

If you aren’t working part-time yet, now’s the time to start. If you do get to choose what hours you work, your TF doesn't need to know. Besides, it's not a lie that at 9 p.m. on Fridays, you're the most productive drink-maker. (Even if the drinks aren't Lamcaf cappuccinos.)

Walk onto the Squash Team

Both squash teams seem to be killing the game, so now might be the time to pursue your childhood dream of being a part of the number one college squash team in the nation. Of course, this is about dedication, and the fact that practice happens to conflict with your section is just an unfortunate coincidence.

Flash Daddy’s Credit Card

Honestly, if this applies to you we’re not sure why you can’t just skip section altogether. It's not like your Daddy will care about your GPA when he hires you in a couple years. But hey, if you’re really looking for that transformative experience, batting your eyelash extensions and sweetening the deal with a few J.P. Licks gift cards could win the course head.

Curse your TF

If you're really in a jam...take a weekend day-trip to Salem and purchase some witchcraft tools. Voodoo dolls, ancient scrolls, hexes; something’s gotta work eventually. Then, if your TF happens to become incapacitated for the rest of the semester, you’ll have no choice but to be placed a new section.

“Female Focused”: Avoiding the Sanctions as a Single Gender Social Organization

Scrutinizing Sanctions
There's no debate about it—avoiding the sanctions is a delicate dance.

Ever since Harvard imposed sanctions on “unrecognized single gender social organizations,” many groups have been scrambling to avoid the consequences and keep their membership stable with a healthy crop of sanction-scared freshmen.

Some groups have completely morphed from single gender to co-ed, such as Alpha Epsilon Pi’s shift to Aleph or Kappa Sigma’s change to KS. Others, however, have managed to slip out of reach of the sanctions while still maintaining a mostly single gender front. Kappa Kappa Gamma, now Fleur-de-Lis, bills itself as “female focused.” While it’s technically gender neutral, it’s not hard to guess about how many guys threw their hats in the ring this semester.

Flyby suggests a few other descriptions that could be used by groups who aren’t quite ready to give up their single gender status...because as long as you don’t technically limit membership based on gender, you’re good, right?

Brotherhood Bound

Sisterhood of the traveling pants? How about brotherhood of the barrel-chested sanction-battlers?

Bro-Based

This still sounds fratty enough that it might not get past admin, but it’s worth a try, right?

Matriarchally Managed

For the group that is straight up raising queens. Hey, if some guys want to come along and be knights, or, better yet, court jesters, we’ll take ‘em.

Masculine Minded

If “female focused” made it through, “masculine minded” might as well. The slogan could be “guiding guys since the sanctions’ rise.”

Sh*t Freshmen Say At Brain Break

Ah, freshmen. They run around campus, perpetually late to class even with Harvard time, lanyards swinging wildly around their necks. (Keys have hit faces. They’re learning.) They say parties they went to were “lit af” when really, 20 people got shoved in a tiny space with citrus-flavored vodka, only to be kicked out by a proctor shortly thereafter and forced to pour any remaining dregs of libations down the drain. The freshman experience can be decidedly unglamorous.

Carb-loading at 10 p.m. before starting a p-set that’s due the next day, though? Absolutely clutch. Here are a few snippets of conversations taken completely out of context from Brain Break at Annenberg.

Freshman Boys vs. Grilled Cheese Crusts
“You’re not eating the crust?!”
“No.”
“But how can you even tell it’s the crust?”
“Because it’s so much harder!”
“No it isn’t!”
Cue comparison of crunching sounds while biting into the “crust” of respective grilled cheese sandwiches.

The Math Pun of Doom
“Well, I have to get back to the grind…the integrind…integral…”

Following Facebook Drama
“Oh, is that the guy that everyone hates?”

What School Do You Go to Again?
“[The movie]’s about this girl who’s thinking about running away to marry a boy nun.”
“A boy nun?”
“…Yeah?”
“Do you mean a monk?”
“Oh sh*t, true, yeah.”
“You sure you go to Harvard?”

Contextualized Out of Context
“Keep in mind this is an African Jew at a black party…”

Political Wrecking Ball?
“Do you want to build balls over bridges? Walls over bridges? Whatever, you know what I mean. F*ck Trump.”

This. Is. Disillusionment.
“I mean, if you think about it, CS50 p-sets are really beautiful.”
Cue snorts of disbelief.

Relationship Status? It’s Complicated.
“But you’re not together right?”
“No, we’re like, friends, but we’ve like, hooked up a few times. We haven’t had sex though; I don’t think I want to.”
“So you’re like FWLB. Friends With Limited Benefits.”
“Yes! Exactly!”

Keep an eye out for more freshman ~witticisms~ as the year goes on. Stay weird, Class of 2021.

Why You, A Straight Man, Should Take a WGS Class


Are you already apprehensive about your fourth pset class? Are you looking for a fun—and potentially flirty—replacement? Are you a straight male? If you answered yes to these questions, listen up. Women and Gender Studies is the department for you. It’s such a good deal that it takes heterosexual male privilege to a whole new level.

That ratio, though

We know you were thinking it the second you read the article title, so let's get it out of the way. Sadly, not all straight men are woke enough to take a WGS class, so you will be one of few. Less competition in the room, more options for you. Enough said.

You always get into the class

WGS classes are very popular (among about half of the student population) and often involve a lottery or an application. Since you have an under-represented yet essential voice, it doesn’t matter what you say on your app. You’re getting into the class. No more shopping week woes for you.

Your privilege ensures that you haven't been exposed to the content (but you should be)

As you would learn in a WGS class, to have privilege means to enjoy unearned advantages without noticing. This class would a-woken you to the hardships you have never had to face. You would be making the world a better place, one ally at a time.

The bar is low for your comments

No women in the class expect you to have wise things to say about gender issues. If you say anything remotely wise, the many girls (see: ratio) will be very impressed. Be careful, though, because one misstep and you could be in trouble.

The WGS department needs you, but way more importantly, you need the WGS department.

This Week in Photos: Jan. 21 - Jan. 26

What Does the Harvard President Actually Do?


Committees, administrative officials, and even students are deep into the process of finding a suitable replacement for University President Drew G. Faust, bringing up many questions, including: What does the president of Harvard actually do? Here are a few theories.

Help Consume Leftover D-hall Food

Yes, sustainability is an important concept that Harvard has repeatedly stressed. And what better way to practice sustainability than to let the top dog chow down on all those leftovers? Seems like a better solution than those dorm room compost bins...

Terrorize Final Club Members

Whether skewing the male/female ratio at parties or stealing the Canada Goose jackets tossed into the corner, it is the President’s responsibility to bring down these organizations.

Hand out Halloween Candy

The public rarely gets to see the president, except for a few special occasions. This Halloween, many undergraduate students had to opportunity to receive copious amounts of candy from Faust herself at Mass. Hall. Such prolonged exposure to the masses must have been exhausting. It could be a while before we see the president again.

Reenact the Battle of Gettysburg

As a renowned historian of the Civil War, it’s understandable that President Faust misses her past profession. If you ever happen to hear booms coming from the closed doors of her office, it’s probably the gold-lined cannons that she purchased from eBay to complete her battlefield set.

In reality, however, President Faust does some serious decision-making for and supervision of Harvard’s structure and administration. With an increased focus on fundraising campaigns and educational and diversity initiatives, the President leads a very busy life that is influential on the Harvard community. We’ll all be sad to see her leaving next year.

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