Should I propose at the Winter Ball?

Gagan Vaseer
Gagan Vaseer is a second-year MPP candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the column are personal and belong solely to the author.

Advice for the modern HKS student

Thank you for sending us your questions! Gagan Vaseer, The Citizen’s advice columnist, answers your questions with some lighthearted advice.

Question 1:

Gagan, I like this guy in my program. We always have great conversation when we see each other, and he always says we should get coffee but then there’s no follow-up. What should I do?

Dear MPP – As someone who always suggests coffee to people (I don’t even drink coffee -_-) but always forgets about it, your question touches me at my squishy, ab-less core. You have to understand that MPPs are very busy in the Fall semester (first-years spend the semester looking for the Rubenstein building, and second-years spend the semester looking for a PAE client with low (ideally no) expectations). As a result, coffee dates (and it seems, for some, basic hygiene) fall by the wayside, whether intended or not. If you really like this guy, you should take the initiative to follow-up and get something on calendar before the semester ends (and cuffing season is in full swing). I’m sure he will appreciate the gesture and reminder.

Question 2:

I’ve been seeing a guy from the law school and we’re in a fuzzy space where we haven’t “defined the relationship,” but we’re definitely more than casual. Should I ask him to HKS winter formal or would that be weird?

Dear Single MPP – Part of me is disappointed that you’ve ventured out of the HKS bubble to meet “other” people (I, personally, just close my eyes when any non-HKS person comes across my path). The other part of me recommends locking this relationship down ASAP as law school students are financially viable investments in the long term. Regardless, the Winter Ball is only a few days away, and you’re not getting any younger. So, we have to decide now how to proceed. Asking this guy to the Ball will definitely be a leap beyond anything casual, and perhaps inching towards relationship territory. People at the Ball will definitely ask you who he is, and whether you’re a couple. Are you comfortable introducing him to all your friends, and addressing all the nosey relationship questions that will surely transpire? I fathom no. Thus, I recommend having a frank discussion with him about labels before the Ball so no one is put in an awkward position. If he doesn’t want a label and you decide not to take him, you can use the $50 you would’ve spent on his ticket to buy drinks at the Ball (including one for me obviously).

Question 3:

Why is Indian food so spicy????

Dear Questioner – It’s not that Indian food is spicy but, rather, you are weak 😉 If you cannot handle the simple spices of Indian food, good luck handling the struggles of life 😛 Indian food is actually full of various flavors and thus can be, at times, spicy. However, there are so many different types of food to try and many are not spicy at all. Take a trek over to Tanjore to get a taste of non-spicy (but still yummy) foods. Even better – grab a few of your classmates and your favorite professor for a free lunch via the Take a Faculty Member to Lunch Program.

Question 4:

Hi gagan, should i propose at the winter ball? (ps. we’re both at hks)

Hello Lovebird – This one is a toughie. As much as I would love to witness this during the Winter Ball, as the photos would do wonders from my Instagram (follow me @gaganisms), I don’t know if the Winter Ball is the best venue for such an ask. The Ball, in reality, is not a fancy (or classy) affair, and isn’t probably the event you want to mark such an important occasion at. I recommend popping the question either before or after the event, perhaps at a classy pre-dinner at a fine establishment like Tasty Burger (they have a wonderful rosé you can toast your first marriage to). If this doesn’t work for you, try proposing at Quorum Call, right next to the bagged wine.

Question 5:

Hi Gagan, I’d like to stay fit over the winter but don’t think I will be able to stand exercising in the cold. Is it true that there’s a pool in the basement? I can sometimes smell chlorine but I’ve never been able to find it. Thank you for answering!

Dear Swimmer – As someone who doesn’t know how to swim, this question triggered me in unimaginable ways. Nonetheless, I persevere so I can provide the public good that is my sage advice. Let me begin my crushing your dreams: there is no pool in the basement. Eons ago, there was a pool in the basement, and the HKS world was at peace. But during the era of the great construction (when the Wexner building was built). the pool (and volleyball court) were removed to make way for the very practical social staircase. The chlorine you smell are the fading memories of the pool. However, on the bright side, you don’t need a pool to stay fit (or so I hear). Indoor activities such as push-ups, crunches, lunges, and planks are a great (and free) way to stay fit and avoid the outdoors. Sending thoughts and prayers your way during this cold winter 😉

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