Archive for "legally in love"
I have avoided writing this post, knowing that once my editor approves it for send-off, my days of BLSGs are no more. Of course there will be happy hours, birthdays, reunions and courthouse run-ins, but my hunting ground will never again be 250 Joralemon.
I’m relieved law school is over, for it was an excruciating experience requiring a major caffeine addiction and the sacrifice of an actual social life. Once the bar is over for us 3Ls, we will truly be set free, a thought both exciting and terrifying.
Looking back, I applaud anyone who managed to have a steady relationship with a student during all these years; balancing school and family seemed like an impossible feat that I was never able to accomplish. I started school single, and despite my best efforts, I am leaving it that way. As cold as it may sound, career always came first for me. So instead of seeking and fighting for a non-jurisprudence romance, I opted for those with whom I always had the common ground of school to keep our “agreement” afloat. I loved the convenience of being with someone who was on my time schedule: we knew when to study, when to actually study, and when we just needed a friend’s shoulder to lean on.
Life as a student is over now, putting to rest all of my experiences with school-centered pseudo relationships. Along with ~ 450 other graduates, I am set to receive my Juris Doctorate degree. My parents are over-the-moon happy. I have learned how to think like a lawyer and write like a lawyer, and have even gained some substantive legal knowledge here and there. However, my diploma will not be a true reflection of all that I have learned since my first day of class 1L year, which includes what I want versus what I need in a partner. Just like my iPhone, convenience makes life a whole a lot easier, but it never gave me the mutual deep connection with another human being I have always longed for. I never realized that getting a legal education would teach me important lessons about love!
As for my personal BLSGs, it is to them I owe my favorite moments in law school. Even though we can stalk each other on Facebook, we will inevitably lose touch. Yet I will never forget our laughs over Thai food, the drunken make-out sessions at student-sponsored bar nights and our cringe- worthy awkward encounters when we didn’t know what to say to each other. The good times helped me escape the dread of exams and job-hunting, and the bad times forced me to deal with the growing pains of the heart.
So thank you, to my BLSGs for making me realize I don’t want to end up with a lawyer, to the “real” Lizzie B’s for unintentionally covering my identity, and to the class of 2012 for making the last three years of my life truly unforgettable…we did it!
Springtime is here! The smell of love and pollen pervades the air. I’ve seen some fancy engagement rings shining on perfectly manicured hands along with a couple of new relationship status updates on Facebook. Pining after a new boo can make the dreary days spent inside poorly lit classrooms go that much faster.
My mushy heart swoons with delight while my player instincts are somewhat disgusted by these ironclad commitments, for not all of us seek such a strong brand of loyalty (precedence goes first to future employer, then future boyfriend). There is nothing wrong with wanting a partner though (or at least a BLSG); we naturally crave intimacy since we are only human after all. If you want to find yourself a new after-hours friend, NOW would be the time with exams soon upon us !!!
In other words, you have about a two-week window of opportunity before you are subjected to scrimmaging for outlines and freaking out over your finals. Take advantage of this weather and this city by asking that single friend of the opposite (or same) sex if he/she would like to hang out and do something fun outside of 250 Joralemon. However, don’t aim for convenience by doing drinks at Floyds or dinner at Ki Sushi: I may be a dating pro, but these customary encounters personally bore me. Instead of trying to impress this person, it basically proves that you put no thought into these plans, and these typical dates usually turn out to be plain awkward.
Therefore, frame this outing as a “non-date” – make sure to keep this non-law school fun relaxed and informal. You could take a subway ride down to the Brooklyn Museum to check out the #1 rated exhibit on Egyptian art, take a ghost tour of Manhattan for the paranormal aficionados, or go rock climbing for the athletic types. And for those of us still broke from Barrister’s Ball, there’s always an afternoon stroll through Prospect Park.
There are an infinite number of things you can do with your non-date in good ol’ New York. No need to dress up and discuss favorite musicians or recent Supreme Court cases (especially the last one – DON’T talk about law). If you make it a date, then it comes with all the uncomfortable strings attached to dating – the situation could easily become uncomfortable for both of you. Going on a non-date will put both of you at ease since the focus is shifted to the activity at hand rather than any potential chemistry the two of you have been feeling. Plus, if it doesn’t end up progressing to the next level, you can still walk away smiling about the great time you had together. Ultimately, you’ve already spent enough time with this person in a school setting, so it’s time to get to know him/her while doing something a bit more unusual and exciting.
Ah, Prom Night – all we are missing are pretty corsages, a crowned King & Queen, and white SUV limousines. At least we compensate with our 21+ ability to booze as much as we want (or at least until midnight). I openly admit here that I love getting decked out, getting sloshed, and showing off my dance moves to the best of my non-legal abilities. The tension between old BLSGs culminates as we eye each other across the dance floor, while new BLSGs are simultaneously discovered at the open bar or buffet table.
The set-up seems to always stay the same (cocktails, dinner, DJ) but each Barrister’s I’ve experienced always has a different feel to it. Perhaps this is due to what point I was in my life when I went (unlike my first year, I ran to get a table this year once the main room opened). Or, maybe it’s because I was dealing with different BLSGs each time. As a 1L, for instance, I went just to make a post-BLSG jealous…obviously, he didn’t even bother to show up.
SBA (halfheartedly) attempted to instill a “masquerade” theme, but due to the sheer volume of jobless 3Ls, they should instead have opted for: “I can actually afford to have fun!” Indeed, there were several reports of students using their potential employment status as a bona fide flirting mechanism (only at BLS would this happen). And as our student government neglected to lower the price of admission, many noticed the low attendance this year – perhaps they should keep this in mind for future balls…
Besides the monetary concerns, there are always the general “dissenters” who refuse to attend a school-sponsored function that requires “school bus” transportation and has “alcohol police” to make sure you don’t rock out while holding onto your drinks (oh the liabilities!). And why socialize with students you already spend all your time with? For this, I have no clear-cut answer: maybe some of us are making up for a poor prom experience (cough cough), want to practice some people skills rather than remaining holed up in the library, or just want to spend time with some pretty awesome people they formed strong bonds with during their years here. Long after my journey at BLS ends, Barrister’s Ball – the law school version of prom night – will forever be one of my favorite memories.
While BLSGs have their benefits, there is a price to pay for entering this dating arena: post-break up encounters. Waiting for a crowded elevator in the lobby is bad enough, but it gets even worse if you are on a journal together, study in the same library room or sit in the same row for class that semester. Some students can easily shake off these awkward encounters and continue going about their day. For others, these constant run-ins are quite unbearable.
It is possible to work things out with your post-BLSGs: you force yourself to be friendly, civil and professional (though the occasional flirty Gchat won’t cause too much damage). One can even practice those legal drafting skills by writing up a contract stating what locations and groups of friends each party is allotted to at any given point in the semester.
My favorite method of defining these terms requires a healthy dose of courage: meet them outside of the confines of 250 Joralemon for a heart-to-heart. Even with the “goggles” factor, we’re talking about a person with whom you were once intimate. Personally, rather than receive confusing and impersonal text messages, I prefer a candid conversation full of uncomfortable eye contact and body language. I may sweat profusely and stumble on my words, but my subsequent run-ins with my post-BLSGs are effortless and amicable.
Whether this method will work for you depends on the BLSG at hand, for there will always be one or two experiences that leave you so scarred, no conversation can ever heal the wounds. For instance, every time I try this out with one particular post-BLSG, we end up in a mutually silent standoff. I only wish we were capable of expressing our genuine emotions in a sober state of mind, and could work toward maintaining a friendship in the little time we have left.
Thankfully, this one outlier has not stopped me from looking for new potential BLSGs. Having someone to flirt with and discuss my law student woes always brightens my day. Of course it won’t last forever – all good things must come to an end. Thus, it is essential to have a post-BLSG plan ready to go for when the inevitable fallout ensues.
Hibernation is sometimes necessary. Indeed, it was a nice change to spend some quality time with myself, rather than listen to people mourn over Whitney Houston and obsess about Linsanity. Instead I spent this period practicing my elementary cooking skills, running home on Wednesday nights to watch the latest episode of Revenge, and listening to Asher Roth’s Be By Myself on repeat. However, we know that “necessary” does not equal “sufficient” – my nights became lonely and my phone was soon textless. Hibernation hit a low when I ended up spending Valentine’s Day with my parents (albeit this meant a free meal full of genuine love and affection).
I decided shortly thereafter I needed to wake up and snap out of it – I may not want commitment at this moment, but why should that stop me from flirting and having fun? And though I refuse to limit myself to the usual BLS stomping ground (finals-flings are light years away!) I want to take advantage of this grace period in which I can spend some time with non-BLSGs. So far, I’ve danced with a med student in a Bulgarian bar, discussed Eastern philosophy over coffee with a web developer, and am set to grab some French food with a finance fellow later this week.
I honestly don’t expect anything serious or long term with these gentlemen. As an overly committed law student desperately seeking full-time employment, I’m lucky I had time to fit this into my already jam-packed schedule. Yet through this process, I’ve come out of my shell and am letting go of my need to control. Plus, I’ve begun to discover the types of characteristics I prefer in a partner, while weeding out those that clash with my personality.
Keep in mind that I scored high on the Briggs Meyer “extrovert” scale. My dating style is not for everyone, but everyone still deserves a chance at love – one never knows when cupid’s arrow will strike. So for the more shy types, I recommend checking out alternative (and free) online dating services such as HowAboutWe, Trek Passions and DateMySchool (honorable mention to Purrsonals for cat lovers). And if you prefer to stay within the confines of Brooklyn Law School Land, just make sure to comb your hair, wear your “I-know-I-look-good-in-this” outfit, and actually show up to school functions like the upcoming Spelling Bee and BLSPI auction.
My point is that we have to put ourselves out there. Each time I meet someone new and go out on a bona fide date, I know I am one step closer to finding Mr. Right. Even better, I come home feeling good about myself. My push to get out of my apartment and slap on some makeup led my new repeat song to change to Rihanna’s Rockstar 101.
During the first several weeks back to school, my anti-social behavior has reached an all-time high: I no longer booze on student org. nights, exchange cute text messages with cute boys, or even bat my eyelashes. In all honesty, I would rather stay home, eat cheese and, dare I say it, actually do reading for my classes.
Am I alone here? Or do most law students also feel a sense of combined boredom and anxiety? To be honest, I have felt this way for a while, ever since September, but it seemed I easily distracted myself with B.L.S.G. drama. In 2012 though, the plot line has yet to pick up the pace; I’m no longer entertained by the same old story.
In some respects, it would be easier to pick up B.L.S.G. to hang with: together, we could have played State of the Union drinking games, debated over newly issued SCOTUS opinions, and complained about our dreadful wireless connection. Instead, I have quarantined myself from 99% of romantic interactions – it’s that little voice inside my head, nagging me each time I’m about to chat up the Hot 1L who’s always in the library, “girl, what’s the point?”
When it comes to love, there never is an actual point: the heart wants and the head will have no choice but to follow. It’s impossible to quantify our emotions, yet we still can’t help ourselves. Lawyer-trained brains must assess the risks of every situation; this includes outlining the pros and cons of intimacy with another human being – especially one who thinks just like you do.
For the most part, I have played my cards well during my time at Brooklyn Law. Only once did I let my poker face slip and lose a round at the betting table. By no means was getting back into the game easy, but I got over my bruised ego and have now developed the strength to easily quash subsequent opponents.
Perhaps my current anti-social behavior is because I am over this game. A good gambler knows when it’s time to collect the chips and walk away from the table. And as I have proudly acquired the much sought after Queen of Hearts, I can’t determine a solid reason for giving her up…
…except for lil’ ol Valentine’s day coming round the corner.
(So, stay tuned.)
Happy New Year BLSers and welcome back:
I hope you managed to catch up on some zzzs in between handing in the last minute draft of your journal note, discussing the finer points of negotiations during your winter session class, or just simply boozing the last two weeks away. I’ve spent some of post-hangover mornings tallying up my score-card from the past year – a fair amount of surreptitious glances across the courtyard, several “no one can know about this” conversations, and a whole lotta sexting. Needless to say, these activities only served to boost my G.P.A.
2012 is sure to be a year full of craziness, challenges and changes: we have a new dean in store, a sad parting of an adored professorship couple, and…of course, the “updated” BLS Connect Website. The spring semester alone is already jam-packed: amidst moot court competitions, job searches and “reading” for class, how does one make time for fine tuning those flirting skills?
Perhaps the key is just to keep it simple, go with the flow, and look relatively decent for school each morning. In order to safely proceed through the BLS dating jungle during the Spring 2012 semester, I’ve put together a list of guidelines:
- Savor those “un-planned” run-ins in the courtyard, cafeteria and library. You won’t be a student – or single – for that much longer.
- Rumors spread like fire – you can look, but always be conscious of who and how you touch.
- Remember, it’s not a legal “commitment” until there’s a ring on your finger.
- Always double check whose name is in the “to” box before you send out the message about the impromptu “late night study session.”
- Why so serious?
- Tuxedos and ball gowns for law school prom. Enough said.
- Instead of dating lawyers and law students, try a starving hipster musician. [extra credit if musician is prom date].
- Keep in-class flirting to a minimum – it’s already bad enough to continuously show up late to your 9 a.m. seminar, but it’s even worse when you creepily smile at your computer screen until 10:50.
- Follow the rule of law set down by Queen of Pop, Britney Spears: keep on “dancing ‘til the world ends.”
Good speed, good luck and watch out for those goggles – you’ve been warned.
Sitting in the library the other day, I was catching up with a flirt-friend of mine. After discussing how our semesters and employment prospects were going, he abruptly changed the conversation and whispered, “So, do you want to be my girlfriend?”
“Um, excuse me?” I responded.
“Yeah – it will be great,” he said with all seriousness, “but then we have to break up once finals are over.”
Ahh, flirt-friend was on the hunt for his “finals-fling.” This always coincides with the post midpoint semester phase of students forming exclusive study groups, sending out desperate emails for outlines and purchasing last minute Glannon and Crunch Time books. So in addition to the pre-exam madness, you will spot some unattached BLSers on the lookout for a finals-fling.
To clarify, the finals-fling is a subset of B.L.S.G., but in this case, the boilerplate clause states that the hookup commences once you actually start to outline, involves minimal effort during exam period, and wraps up as soon as you sell your textbooks back at Boreum for an unfair price. Of course, there is room for variation when you are negotiating the agreement: will this be strictly sexual or does this include meals together? Is there a set schedule or can you randomly text one another when you’re done for the night. Are you required to shave your finals-beard / legs? And for those of you who are overly ambitious, will Flash Cards ever come into play?
Keep in mind that you want a partner who has a similar schedule to yours during finals. So if you are a 1L, it’s easiest to make your finals-fling another 1L. And for the upper classers, well if you have 4 finals and a take home to prepare for, it is best to stay away from your cute friend whose only concern is not failing his NYCP exam. When it comes to your finals-fling, you want to make this an asset to your study schedule. For instance, during my finals-fling at the end of my first year, I explained the finer points of the Dormant Commerce Clause to my partner, while he taught me the Rule Against Perpetuities.
However, the opposite reaction students experience once they start outlining is hermitude. [note: there is no relation to the Australian music group]. While cases can range from mild to extreme, hermitude involves going through long periods of self-induced isolation, only to interact with other human beings when sitting down to take an exam. Many students discover that they do their best studying whilst in a hermitude states – some even breaking up with a B.L.S.G. right before reading period so that they can fully commit to several weeks filled without any form of love, joy or laughter. If this happens to be you, try and break up with your B.L.S.G. before Thanksgiving, so that he/she can make a sound hook-up decision for finals.
For me, there have been several finals-fling prospects, but no real contenders. I explained to my flirt-friend that I am too burnt out from my previous B.L.S.G. experiences to even bother arranging a finals-fling into my already busy schedule. I will issue my final opinion for a post-tryptophan induced happiness.
Once you go down the B.L.S.G. path, it becomes difficult to find a way off. Thanks to this conundrum, I can somewhat proudly say I am an expert in the B.L.S.G. department. Based on my stint at Brook Law thus far I am disclosing some of tricks of the trade. While each B.L.S.G. experience will have its own unique flavor, it is important to always include the most central ingredient for keeping those B.L.S.G. wheels spinning: discretion.
Now would be a good time to explain to your current BLSG – if you have not done so already – that to maintain a successful law school hookup, discretion is key. I get that you are moderately attracted to this person; you’ve actually found someone you want to spend time with outside the confines of 250 Joralemon. Perhaps you are a member of the highly coveted BLS-couples-club, delighted to be in a Facebook relationship, planning your perfect Esq. future together. As for the rest of us who fall short: don’t post adorable comments on each other’s walls, blab about how cute your “study buddy” looks as she tries to avidly pay attention to Pinto in Corporations, or hold hands anywhere near Cadman Plaza.
In other words, I am strongly advising you to avoid all forms of public communication. You might assume that this defeats the purpose of having a BLSG in the first place, but the opposite is true. In fact, this is where the “goggles” in “Brooklyn Law School Goggles” comes into play – if and when the hookup sours, you will be extremely thankful that you will not have to humiliatingly explain to your friends why your study buddy stopped studying with you.
Unfortunately, every time you pass him in the library lobby, you will still silently ask yourself, “Girl – what were you thinking?!?” But in the murky aftermath, you will be the ONLY person thinking that. The awkward aftermath is full of murky waters and tears spilled all over your Evidence textbook, but seriously… you don’t want your peers to have any actual or constructive knowledge of that fact.
Therefore, during the glorious period when things with your BLSG bring you as much of a thrill as practicing the R.A.P., be sure to clearly explain that when you see each other in public, you will act like you don’t give a sh*t. When running into each other around school, be formal and civil, give a nice smile, keep on walking, and send a nerdy-and/or-dirty text message if you absolutely must. And for those of you into P.D.A, do it behind closed doors or somewhere that requires a metro-card swipe. Remember the golden rule: discretion is key.
However, this rule may be a huge problem if one or both of you lives in student housing – especially Feil Hall. If this is the case, and you insist on conducting “study sessions” at 205 State Street, I recommend doing some major cite checking to discover any friends/classmates who live on your BLSG’s floor. Trust me, you will want a good excuse as to why you were spotted riding the elevator down early Sunday morning, clearly hung over with raccoon eyes.
You might think that I am cynical, paranoid and a bit of a playa – all three are true enough that I have now mastered the delicate art of BLSG discretion. One case in point – sitting down with several students during a beer and pizza party, a mutual friend looked at my then-BLSG, turned to me, and asked, “Oh, do you two know each other?”
Welcome to Brooklyn Law School – a tier-two legal institution where acquiring a full-time dean is impossible and models frolic in lingerie about the library. Whether you just started a month ago or are finishing up soon, there is a high probability you have had – or will have – B.L.S.G.:
“B.L.S.G” – Brooklyn Law School Goggles: a phenomenon in which one’s minimal contact with lay persons combined with an ever increasing exposure to 250 Joralemon makes unattractive persons appear beautiful.
For those of you who are married or in a committed relationship with a “lay person,” this column is not for you. And while the textualist definition of B.L.S.G. refers specifically to Brooklyn Law Students, this can be extrapolated to those unfortunate occurrences where, out in the NYC jungle, your lips were glued to a stranger you were subconsciously aware was way beneath you.
Broad or narrow – it doesn’t really matter. Spending the majority of your time surrounded by florescent lights between floors 4-6 starts to take its toll on your version of what a “reasonably prudent partner” should be. Your laptop and overly priced textbooks can’t offer you the warmth of someone’s arms and excitement over discussing Scalia-isms. If this continues beyond just a few quick hookups, it’s custom to then find simple excuses for the major hiccups in a very unstable “relationship.” I can point and laugh when I hear about another BLSG case, but I will never judge having been there more times than I would like to admit.
For instance, though fully aware that several of my past B.L.S.G.s would be in attendance, I could not resist checking out the BLSPI-ILS Halloween Party last Thursday. My first thought when walking into Geraldo’s: “WTF….I am now having a warped Saved By The Bell-John Hughes high school experience.” Indeed, there were some solid costumes – a difficult first prize tossup between Kuklin and Edward Scissor Hands. The drunkenness then continued to Last Exit for the “date auction,” organized by IALSA and co-sponsored by OutLaws, ILS and APALSA. This was a first for me, and quite mind boggling: I can’t say I have ever seen a vampire auction off twenty-something year olds like pieces of fresh meat. I was silently horrified, though I couldn’t help laughing at the bug-eyed bumblebee shaking his lights, Harry Potter’s magic tricks, and Captain America letting it all hang out.
In the end, I am glad I witnessed this spectacle. Of course I had some amazingly awkward interactions with my B.L.S.G.s – this is just the price I now pay for past “goggled” decisions. I have no regrets, though I hope you will learn from my mistakes when dealing with your own B.L.S.G.
Check back next week for more of Lizzie B’s adventures in the BLS dating scene.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified the sponsors of the Halloween date auction as BLSPI-ILS. BLSPI sponsored the party, but not the auction.