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[I] Am Urged By Your Propinquity

I've heard a common litany here at law school that I just can't believe: "There's no way I'll date anyone from my class at law school." The very idea's been described as 'madness,' 'insane,' or 'that would be stupid.' And I can't help but think, "Yeah, sure."

Human beings being what we are, we find our romantic attachments basically by propinquity. Considering the compressed and stressing nature of law school, the fact that few of us have external ties to New York City, and the little time many of us spend outside the cloisters of Columbia, I can't see that the rule of propinquity is going to be overturned any time soon. Given time, I rather expect such resolutions to be consigned to the dustbin, next to, "I'm going to brief every case."

Besides, the risks and reasons normally given against are overstated. If we were a class of one hundred, certainly, I'd find it as bad an idea as dating within one's workplace. But with over a thousand students of various classes, this place is big enough to get lost in without dramatics. I've not met all the 1Ls yet: not meeting any particular one would be simple. This reminds me more of the larger offices I've worked in, where office romance was not uncommon, if sometimes slightly strange.

I'm reminded Osaka, the day I transferred into a division at A Major Japanese Corporation. On the first day of my two week internship in that department, a young man came up to our boss Kacho-san and handed him a small letter, explaining that he was to be married. The boss congratulated him, opened the letter (a wedding invitation) and blanched. "But... you two don't even like each other," he blurted, losing his cool for a second before returning to congratulations. The young man was marrying the girl who sat across from him.

As I pieced together later, when people were willing to explain in slower and simpler Japanese, the two of them had been dating for a year or so. They kept their relationship secret during the early days so as to avoid any discomfort among their colleagues if it ended. As things grew more serious, they kept it secret because company policy would have been to transfer her to another division, if not pressure her to resign if she intended marriage. Since she was actually on a management track and not a secretary, this wasn't a work disruption she wanted to consider.

Over the year, they'd developed the habit of low-level sniping at each other across the desk in order to throw people off the scent. In particular, the lady involved could be pretty brutal, and both had a degree of skill that had kept things from seeming overacted or obvious. As a result, when they did announce their wedding, most of the division seemed obviously surprised.

Not that I expect to see this kind of thing at law school, but such things do happen. I rather expect that over time, some of my classmates will come to eat their words on the subject.

(Title from Edna St. Vincent Millay)


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Well, I was a bit weird, but my dating within my class at Northwestern was a complete non-issue for me; the only women that I'd have even considered seeing outside of class were already married, and the single women, each and every one, turned me completely off. Not even the slightest bit of interest; I'd have rather stuck it in a pencil sharpener first. Looking back at it, I did hear later of some of my classmates marrying each other after graduation, and each of the couples involved came as a complete surprise to me. I don't know if that was because the pairing was deliberately kept secret by the couple in question or if I didn't hear of it simply because I wasn't in my law school class gossip loop. I don't recall if any of my classmates married students in classes above or behind them; most probably they did, but I didn't recognize their spouses' names as being law students in a different class. Right now, y'all are probably too overworked and overstressed to worry much about romantic entanglements of any kind. Wait til next year, and I'm sure things will be quite different....
10 - 1 it's already happening mate. As you put it, human nature. I have of course no evidence and have never met any of your class except you but still, I'd bet a fair few beers on this. M
I don't think I've ever been dumb enough to give you a sucker bet like that, have I?

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