Digital Get Down: Welcome to Web dating

Laken Howard, Columnist

Greetings, Current readers! My name is Laken Howard, and I’ll be your enthusiastic guide through the turbulent waters of online dating in college for the quarter. I’ll do my best to make you laugh and teach you how to avoid awkwardness and heartbreak, to which I am no stranger. Before I dive into a specific topic, though, I figure I should let you know a little about who I am and why anyone in their right mind thought me enough of an expert dater to give weekly rants on online dating.

First and foremost: I am single. Though I undoubtedly will happily discuss more relationship-oriented topics in this column, most of my personal dating experience has been very short-term and casual. Specifically, I’ve been very into online dating lately and have gone on more than 30 OkCupid dates. Needless to say, one thing I’m passionate about is eliminating the stigma attached to online dating while in college. I know plenty of people who’ve had great experiences with Internet dating but may feel embarrassed to outwardly admit they use a dating site. One of my goals this quarter is to lead by example and encourage people to embrace the beauty of online dating and the many benefits it holds.

If you’ve seen “He’s Just Not That Into You,” you’ll understand what I mean when I say I’m definitely a Gigi. She may seem a little crazy, but at the end of the day, she just really wants to find love and has no regrets about what she does to reach that goal. I put myself out there all the time, but I am never discouraged by a failed relationship or bad date. I truly believe with every “heartbreak” I endure — which happens at least twice a month for me — I learn something new. I may embarrass myself on occasion, but I’m too impatient to give up.

I’m also really excited to occasionally share some of my own dating anecdotes with you guys. I can honestly say I have had some crazy experiences with dating (27-year-old law student, anyone?), and I would love to share this ridiculousness with you all so you can laugh with (or at) me. Dating etiquette is a tricky subject, but I’ve had enough practice recently that I think I’ll be able to share some professional pointers with you in the coming quarter so you won’t have as many cringe-worthy moments as I have.

I want this column to be as interactive as possible so I know I’m speaking on important dating-related issues and not just lecturing you. I invite you all to send me questions or comments I can address in future columns. Tell me what you want to read about! I welcome criticism, questions, compliments or just greetings to my inbox: [email protected].

I look forward to being your dating columnist for the lovely spring quarter. In the meantime, get out there and find a girl or guy and go on a date! It may be scary at times, but I promise it’s worth it.