One topic that came up briefly this weekend was the large number of married people in our department. Of course, in one sense it doesn't matter if they are married or not, since intra-department dating among PhD students is mostly verboten. That is to say, my advisor would kill me if I tried it, but I wouldn't anyway. After it goes sour, that's bad karma in a small space. Imagine farting in an elevator, except you're stuck on the elevator for four years. ... In another sense, though, the high married rate means fewer single person sort of events where one is likely to meet potential dates. And since my world is somewhat confined to Vanderbilt, my dating life is somewhat cramped. (I can't, of course, date any professors I meet, since they are likely to be grading me; seriously dating any PhD student is likely to lead to a complicated two-body problem. If you don't know what that is, rest assured that it makes string theory look simple.) By "somewhat cramped," let's just say that I haven't been on a date in a very long time, and on a remotely successful one in even longer. It's gotten so that ocularly noticing two attractive men in a week, as I did this past weekend, is noteworthy.
I can only think of one person at Peabody who has had an active dating life since starting the PhD, and she has a network of non-academic friends eager to help out. The rest of us, male and female, seem to be stuck in whatever situation we were in when we arrived. A few have converted significant others to joint filers, but no one has met and sustained any kind of new relationship.
But who needs a date when you have Max Weber to keep you warm at night? That's not an entirely cynical remark. There is something so all-consuming, so monastic, about the PhD, that any time spent dating would probably induce guilt. I should be thinking of a dissertation topic right now instead of making out! Not, mind you, that I've tested that proposition.