25 Ways You Know You Are Dating a Student Affairs Professional*

*This includes graduate students as well. Don’t get it twisted – your assistantship is 20 hours a week and you’re doing student affairs work with real, live students; hence you are a professional in my opinion.

Have you ever been on a date and realized you’ve done one of the following? Or perhaps you’ve been on a date with someone in Student Affairs and always thought something seemed off about them. Well here’s a list of the top ways you know you’re on a date with someone in SA (with special notations about #ResLife only issues)

1)    Your first date involves: Name games, free pizza, and an evaluation of what could be improved for the next time.

pizza dreams true

2)    They give you career counseling.
One minute you’re discussing your job and musing about your expectations/interests in your career, and the next they are asking you probing questions about what makes you happy, where do you see yourself in ten years, and then they proceed to advise you navigating your career.

3)    They ask what organizations you were involved with in college.
Not everyone was involved in a college student organization (or even went to college). In fact, most people were not – but try telling them this! And if you were in a student organization (student government, College Republicans, Greek, etc) as soon as you mention it a look enters their eye, they go “hmm, interesting” and you immediately know they just judged your entire personality.

loki judge

4)    They ask questions using counseling techniques like ‘probing’ and ‘reflection’.
You realized you’re doing most of the talking during the date. They skillfully navigate the conversation with relationship building skills and use counseling techniques to learn more about you, until finally you cry about some buried memory or receive an epiphany about your true purpose in life.


5)    When you answer questions about life experiences, share something insightful, and they nod sagely saying “Oh that makes total sense, and explain their understanding using various theories and catch phrases like ‘external formulas’.

6)    When you say something sexist/racist/ableist/homophobic, etc, they call you out
True story: Once I went on a date with a man who referenced his ex-girlfriend and called her a “bitch”. And I proceeded to challenge him with a “You realize you’re out with a feminist, yeah?” and ignored his mansplaining as I explained why that reference was sexist (and not okay).

new girl - fem rant

7)    They ask what your MBTI is, and if you say you don’t know they’re like “Oh, I bet you’re totally like a ___!” and proceed to conduct a personality test.

8)    When you make dinner plans they immediately write off all pizza and Subway.
When the only food your date gets is free pizza and sandwiches, then it is a terrible idea to not introduce more interesting items into their diet.
>>>#ResLife Option: On the plus side, they pay for all dinner plans. On the negative side, dinner is always at a dining hall.

treat yo2

9)    If you make the date during a break (summer, spring, winter) they are super excited to go to the bars that have emptied of college students.

10)    They have a disturbingly large supply of condoms and are more knowledgeable than most on the science of safe sex.


11)    They measure time in semesters, not years.
“So when did you visit Las Vegas?” “Oh, spring 2013 at the ACPA Convention”.

12)    They provide adequate trigger warnings and uses words like “heteronormative” and “cisgender”

13)    Good luck trying to spend time with them around the beginning or end of the school year, or any other major event.

busy potc

14)    They’re always check their phone to make sure residents didn’t burn down the building or student organizations/athletes aren’t hazing.

15)    At the end of each date they ask you to do “highs and lows” or “roses and thorns” to evaluate the experience.

16)   You can’t understand half the things they say because they speak in acronyms.


17)    When you spend the night, they have 52 free shirts that you can choose from as pajamas.

18)    Movie dates result with analyzing the film from a social justice perspective.

19)    They’re always asking odd hypothetical questions like “So, if you’re trapped in a basement after an earthquake, and have these 12 items, what would you use first?”

20)    The first time you say “I love you,” they ask you to operationalize what you mean by the word “love”.

what do you mean

21)    Your significant other’s RAs/colleagues consider you to be an honorary member of the staff.

22)    You know you should be flattered when they call you “self-authored’ but you’re unsure why.

23) They always say that you both should assess the relationship, yet never make any time to do so.

rupaul no time

24) They ask you “What does diversity mean to you?”

25) Sleepovers come with a caveat for being woken up at 3a.m. on duty nights. #ResLife


Many thanks to my lovely contributors on Facebook! They either helped inspired the list item or created it completely on their own.

1, 19-20: Eric Crumrine
8, 15, 22: Kaitlyn Yoder
10: Jason Mellen
11: Brian Dixon
12: Kelly Grab
13: Rachel Golden, James Thomas
14: Anna Dickherber
18 & 25: Lindsay Luzania
21: Jenn Paul
24: Naomi Valdez


What other suggestions would you provide? Comment or tweet me @NikiMessmore!

Why is Masculinity so Fragile?

And how I Learned this through Online Dating…

Masculinity in America is synonymous with biceps, (heterosexual) sex, violence, and confidence. Superheroes in comic books have so many muscles their muscles have muscles, James Bond is sexing new women on the daily, and macho men like Stabler on SVU punch their way through episodes. Our pop culture is saturated with these images and it’s sensible to consider that a lifetime of these lessons from a young age affects the way we perceive how men should be – and it impacts men on who they choose to be. Quite frankly, whether they realize it or not.

macho men

Yet this idea of masculinity is false. Men are human and this idealized trope is not natural for many men to live up to. It’s unfair they must feel the pressure to even attempt it – because so often if men are not living up their prescribed gender roles they can face ridicule from men and women alike who have bought into these patriarchal falsehoods about how a ‘real man’ lives.

Ultimately, this version of masculinity is dangerous – especially to women. When you push back at this patriarchal concept of manhood it cracks like a raw egg, with anger and violence spilling out.

This has become evident to me through stories of women dealing with street harassment (when men issue ‘compliments’ to women in public) and online dating. Odin forbid a woman actually reject a man’s advances!

I dabble in the online dating world – it’s not easy being a woman interested in men working in student affairs and I’m not the sort to go bar hopping and pass out my number. Well, there was this attractive doctor fellow who began messaging me and wanted to meet up. Usually I prefer not to give out my number right away but sometimes texting with someone you’re interested in is easier than logging online to send messages.

Aye, was that a mistake.
It started off normal. I discovered he was a doctor at a local hospital ER and liked hiking. Then 24 hours later the convo changed. He asked me to meet up, I said okay, and then I gave him the general idea of what side of town I lived in so we could pick a good location. His response:

shane okc1

Like, are you serious?! Did this dude really think that after 1 day of texting I was just going to invite him into my home?!  Yeah, okay Mr. Craigslist Killer. And then he took my statement in stride by suggesting further activities.

buffy are you okay

Being the educator that I am, I felt the need to explain to him why you just don’t suggest to a woman that you visit her home on the first date and that a coffee shop is more appropriate. Obviously this dude was off my dating list but I couldn’t help but think he needed to understand so at least he’s not a creep with the next woman he tries to date. He clearly had never watched the C.K. Louis skit where the comedian explained how, in the world of (hetero) dating, men only have to worry about getting their feelings hurt but women have to worry about getting killed (statistically speaking, this is true).


He didn’t get that aspect, so I further elaborated that if he wanted to come over and ‘snuggle’ then that to me says he wants sex – which is cool for him (no slut shaming, no matter the gender) but not what I’m interested in.

He got offended.


Oooooooh right, you are a good looking doctor! Aye! Your bedroom must be awash in panties! How silly of me!  I am fortunate for your interest because all women would have sex with you! You are such a catch!

spn - dr sexy

So then I started work and was in 3 hours of meetings. At lunchtime I see this:

shane okc2

Like, calm down yo. I’m not spending my day on my fainting couch waiting for you to message me. And…his seemingly ‘compromise’ was interesting. To do coffee or a walk first? As in…you are still expecting ‘snuggling’ afterwards?

nicki aw hell no

Time to end this convo with the self-presumed McDreamy. I decided to be polite – because quite honestly there’s a further danger for women when they rudely turn down a man. This person has access to your phone number and your photos/info from the online dating profile. We, as women, have to be extra careful.

shane okc3

If you can’t tell, the gif I sent back to McJerkface to end the convo was this one:

50 cent

But I mean….

really snl

And wow…

anchorman - escalated

Not to mention…what kind of ‘doctor’ misspells “dumbass” into “dubmass”?!

hermione idiot

So there you have it, my people. Masculinity is so fragile for so many men, that this is what women have to deal with. Whether you tell a guy cat calling you on the street that he can’t have your number so he violently shouts bitch, or whether you politely say no to a man via online dating so he flips out, the unhealthy masculinity that society has created is so fragile it turns dangerous when denied.

Related links in case this topic interests you or you think I am just some crazy random man-hating feminist:

Have you or someone you know ever experienced something similar? Comment here or tweet me at @NikiMessmore.


**Straight male= for the purposes of this blog post, men who are dating women. It is possible the man mentioned in this post and men who make similar allegations are somewhere along the sexuality spectrum, further than just a 0/1 on the Kinsey Scale.