Rumor has it that if two University of Chicago students date for more than three months they are destined for marriage. Several student couples have suggested, upon graduation, that there may some truth behind this rumor.
Fourth-years Koren Phillips and Alex Miller have been dating since the end of their first year and are not letting graduation, different jobs, or 2,000 miles tear them apart. Phillips will be working as an account manager for Aetna in Chicago, while Miller will be two time zones away as a Ph.D. student in chemistry at the California Institute of Technology. While they have never had to deal with being separated over an extended period of time, they are staying together post-graduation and seeing how the distance treats them. As with any lifelong commitment, the couple is unsure: "We'll have to see how the distance works out," Phillips said. "We've never had a long-distance relationship before, so it definitely makes sense to see how that works out before we make any more serious future plans/commitments."
Despite their long-distance relationship, both Miller and Phillips have roots in the same area of the country: Miller is a Boston native and Phillips' extended family is Boston-based, which means that most of the couples' vacations and holidays will be spent in Beantown. "That will certainly make it easier to satisfy both my family and my relationship since I won't have to choose with whom to spend my more limited vacation time," Phillips said.
While Phillips and Miller do not have marriage immediately on their minds, other long-term couples have already taken their relationship to the next level. Fourth-years Colin McFaul and Nora Friedman became engaged during Scav Hunt this spring. Friedman, a captain of the Burton-Judson team, proposed to McFaul, a Scav Hunt judge, as her interpretation of item 283. Item 282 consisted of the lyrics to the Meat Loaf song "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)." Item 283 read, "Do that."
McFaul, who was actually the judge that came up with the idea for item 283, explained the meaning behind them: "The items were largely meant to be interpreted creatively. In the context of the song, that' means lie to the girl he's promising himself to.'" He continued by explaining that Friedman had a different interpretation of the item, which inspired her proposal.
Friedman explained her reasoning by saying that "the official interpretation (according to Meat Loaf himself) is that the phrase that' refers to the line said previously by the female accompanying singer, so that' depends on which verse you are looking at." She went on to say that despite the way in which other teams interpreted the item, she thought that her reading of it was appropriate and that "everyone thought that this was a valid response."
McFaul evidently thought that Friedman's response was valid, and immediately accepted her proposal. The couple has been dating for exactly one year this weekend, having met through the Vegan Society's Date Auction last spring, though neither is in fact a vegan. The two do not plan to marry within the next two years, as they will be working toward Ph.D.s. As McFaul commented, "the engagement itself is more about a statement of intent, than about a statement that we are going to get married soon."
Past U of C couples have not wavered after popping the question. College sweethearts Benjamin O'Glasser, A.B. '04, and Avital Strauss-Benjamin, A.B. '03, will be married this month, with only a year having passed since O'Glasser proposed. O'Glasser proposed to his then-girlfriend of two years last spring while having a picnic at the Point. O'Glasser, who recently completed his first year of law school at the University of Pennsylvania, cites the College's academic calendar as a reason that many long-term U of C relationships result in marriage: "The academic calendar itself is so rapidly paced that students in general learn to prioritize their time to only stay involved with things that they really care about," he said. "I think that extends to a relationship as wellU of C students are probably not going to stay in a relationship unless they really think the other person is worth it."
Will Selinger, a first-year in the College and the child of two University graduates, understands O'Glasser's sentiment. Selinger owes much to his parents' college relationship, though he does not like to acknowledge it: "I don't like to think about how my parents' experiences at the U of C have screwed me up and subsequently caused me to come here."