The 8 Most Annoying Things About Having to Eat at the Dining Hall
1. Revisiting of 5th Grade Soccer Team Antics
Remember that time when you were sitting at some dumb awards dinner, your coach going off on how he’s real proud of the team and the camaraderie? Meanwhile you and the rest of your warmup-pants wearing jokers (complete with vintage 1999 frosted tips) are going OFF on his iced tea?
First, it’s the harmless stuff (a shitload of salt, some choice pepper), then it’s the sugar, then it's burger chunks, then it’s hot sauce, and finally, the snot-frosting. Everyone egging on the ring-leader, despite being incredibly uncomfortable at the same time. Pre-pubescent shrieks of laughter have never been so evil.
Sometime during your freshman year, this game will resurface. Nobody wants it to happen. But it does. And it’s just awful.
2. “Stuck” Meals
This thankfully becomes less of a thing as you get more adjusted. But ever eat with a friend, who brings with him another friend, who brings with him another friend? And all of a sudden you’ve got this caboose of people you’re stuck eating with? Talking about some stupid foreign policy class as if that's actually a conversation topic to assert your superiority over the people who have nothing to contribute?
Shit’s the worst. But sometimes, it's the only alternative to Glansberging.
3. Compromisation of Your Awesomely Thought-Out First Impressions
Say there’s a hot girl that you’ve eyed through auxiliary means (these usually consist of Facebook, a class, or Facebook), and you’ve been hoping to catch her attention in a meaningful way. Maybe you’ve seen her at your frat parties, and were planning on catching her attention by making sure she doesn’t have to wait on the keg line–you know, the sort of thing that she’ll excitedly claim (and repeat ad naseum) “totally saved her life.”
But say you’re on line for the wrap station, you’re in a shitty mood because who the fuck gets C minuses, and this girl pops up behind you. Girlies in tow. You have no in here, other than to stand there like a fool while they’re wooo girlin’ it up. Just a miserable experience and then some–because if you get stuck in that situation long enough, she’ll forever register you as the awkward kid on the wrap line.
That is, of course, until you “totally save her life” by having a lighter in your pocket.
4. The Law of Diminishing Pizza Returns
I like pizza. Everyone likes pizza. And at many a dining hall, pizza is the only “safe” option that doesn’t require waiting on a line for 15 minutes—which is terrible not because you’ve gotta wait on a line for fifteen minutes, but because of the elaborate alcohol-acquiring plan you’ll be forced to overhear from the two dweebs standing behind you.
With the obscene amount of pizza consumed on a nightly basis, the Lord's heavenly creation will slowly become less appetizing. Eventually, you won’t even be able to look look at your former beloved. It’s the tragedy of too much of a good thing, but the college dining hall experience makes it dangerously easy to overdose in a freakishly short amount of time.
Dining Hall pic via ShutterShock
5. 50 Years Late
Meaning, for at least the last 50 years, dining halls of American Universities haven’t realized that they aren’t open in conjunction with times that kids actually want to eat dinner. I understand that basic social injustices usually take a lot longer than needed to correct themselves (It’ll take another decade or so for gay marriage and weed to be completely good, despite the fact that American society has basically realized restrictions on both is unnecessary), but not staying open past 7 30pm is one of the more pointless travesties in all of America. Just NO need whatsoever.
6. Gary and the Shrimp
Say your dining hall has a highly popular stir fry station, and say they offer chicken, beef, and shrimp. But say they haven’t been offering shrimp for the past two months for some undisclosed reason clearly having nothing to do with despicable sanitary practices.
Say you’ve been intimidated by the length of the stir fry line for months now, but say that tonight is the night that you’ve gotta get over that fear. Say you want shrimp–you could’ve sworn they had shrimp–but don’t see it as you near the station. And say that now you have to order. And you really, really want shrimp. And that you’re too scared to ask for shrimp, because you don’t see it. But fuck being scared, because that was the whole point of getting on this line in the first place.
You (confidently): I’ll have shrimp, please.
Stir-Fry Dude: Shrimp?
SFD: Ay, Gary.
Enter Gary, another Stir Fry dude
SFD: Get a load of this guy! He wants shrimp!
SFD: Shrimp! He wants shrimp!
Gary: Whatz he, an idiot or somethin’? Shrimp?
And that is my story of Gary and the Shrimp.
7. Night-Plan Adjustments
I recall a time early in college when I wanted to hook up with this girl, who conveniently happened to be friends with this group of people I was getting tighter with and wanted to hang out with more (Turns out they’re “eh,” but so am I, so no harm, no foul).
Since I was somewhat of an outsider at that point, I had to approach the sitch strategically–my plan was to send an innocuous text to the dude I was closest with early enough in the night to nab a seemingly spontaneous invite to the pregame I assumed they were having. The trick I felt, was to be as off the radar as possible until text sending time, as this would indicate that I definitely wasn’t spending the entire day figuring out how I should best approach my chances of hooking up with this girl.
But of course, I go to the dining hall that night and see this kid, sitting a few tables across from me. Strategy gone, because I couldn’t possibly spend all of dinner not acknowledging him, only to text him an hour later what he was doing–I mean I could've done that, but this was 2008, when phones were only beginning to turn into the basis of all human communication. So I knew that (a. I couldn’t leave without planting that oh-so crucial Bro seed, but (b. couldn’t come off as too enthusiastic, because insinuating that I was anything other than overwhelmingly better than everyone and everything in the world is not how you make friends at Georgetown University.
Long story short, I strategically time “bumping into him,” casually get at what he’s doing tonight (while trying to act as half-asleep as possible) he tells me, I vaguely appear interested, and everything from there took care of itself. Don’t thank the dining hall.
8. How Much Do You Complain?
Really, how much can actually complain about a place where you literally have hundreds of food options, can eat as much as you want, for basically as long as you want, multiple times a day. Particularly when that kid deep into the school’s social justice stuff is blitzing you with depressing stats about how many little kids go starving every night?