I went through four years at the University of Pennsylvania without a date.
I’m not saying that I didn’t date at all between 1979 and 1983. When I went home for the weekends, I would sometimes go out with my sister’s friends. I even got an invitation to the junior prom, and I have the photos to prove it! And on one weekend back home, I had a date with a girl I went to high school with.
But nothing on campus. No dates with anyone I met in college. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Zip. Diddly squat.
It wasn’t completely my fault. Back in those days, the male-to-female ratio at Penn was 2 to 1. That’s for the whole school, which included all the English majors and Psych majors. In Computer Science, I think the ratio was more like 30 to 1.
I did come close to having a date once. In my first week of college as a freshman, there was a girl in the computer lab, We were both working on our programming assignments. Back then, you didn’t have your own laptop in your room. You had to reserve a terminal at the computer lab, and once you got it, you wouldn’t want to give it up until you were done. I was done at a reasonable time, maybe 9 or 10 pm. But she was having trouble and asked me for help. So I helped her, and we talked (I think), and before I knew it, it was 2 am.
It was time to go back to our dorms, and I asked for her phone number. She wrote it down on a little white piece of paper, along with her name (which I did not know up to that point). Becky Chang. I was so young, only seventeen. I didn’t even know yet that I liked Asian women.
I was happy when I got back to my room in High Rise South, about six blocks from the Moore School Building that housed the computer lab. Or was it the Towne Building? Yeah, I think it was the Towne Building. The classes were in the Moore School Building, but the computer terminals were in the Towne Building, along with ENIAC. Doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I never called Becky.
I know what you’re thinking, Go ahead and say it. Loser!
I wonder what happened to Becky Chang. Who knows, maybe she’s single. It would be next to impossible to find her though. I probably wouldn’t even recognize her if I did.
I don’t think I kept that slip of paper that she wrote her name and phone number on all those years ago. On the other hand, I don’t remember throwing it away. If I didn’t throw away my class notes from college, maybe I still have that paper in one of the boxes. This gives me a bit of incentive to continue on with my home tidying project. If I find that slip of paper, it will be sure to spark joy.