Oakland roof jumper demonstrates dating downfalls

Pittsburgh police had to cut a hole into the Oakland Qdoba in attempt to free Birdsong from being trapped.
Pittsburgh police had to cut a hole into the Oakland Qdoba in attempt to free Birdsong from being trapped.
Pittsburgh police had to cut a hole into the Oakland Qdoba in attempt to free Birdsong from being trapped.

By: McCall Behringer | Student Columnist 

This is an editorial piece, and the views of the writer in no way reflect the views of The Duquesne Duke, its staff, or Duquesne University. 

Dating in college sometimes requires a leap of faith.

Just ask 22-year-old Grant Birdsong, whom the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has identified as the man who tried to jump between buildings in Oakland last week in an attempt to impress a girl.

Unfortunately for Birdsong, he didn’t quite make it.

Birdsong was trying to woo a girl when he took her to the roof of Bruegger’s Bagels and decided he would try to jump across the building to the Qdoba next door when he got stuck, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It took rescue crews six hours to free him and required the wall inside Qdoba to be completely deconstructed. Fortunately, reports say Birdsong only suffered an ankle injury from which he is recovering.

I have a few questions for Birdsong. What were you doing at 2 a.m on a Monday that made any of this seem like a good idea? Did the girl ever speak to you again? Why didn’t you just buy her a burrito to impress her?

Considering his grand gesture failed in the end, he may also be recovering from a broken heart and a bruised ego.

But if this proves anything, it’s that dating as a college student is just weird.

Maybe I’m old school, but whatever happened to flowers, dinner and a movie for a first date? Today, if you spend enough time swiping right on Tinder, you can make some generic Friday night plans with a random guy across town. If you’re lucky, you might make a Snapchat friend on Carson Street and spend the rest of the semester deciphering their selfies, asking any friend who will listen, “He sent me the puppy filter. What does that mean?”

It doesn’t help that college makes spending money on dates nearly impossible. Ordering pizza is a stretch for some college budgets, so flowers for a date are reasonably non-existent. But are we even trying to make first dates work?

If I think about the first date stories I’ve heard Monday morning, there’s an expectation that it was going to be a bad date before the Uber even arrived. Girls are guilty of making plans to be out of dinner before 10 p.m., and that’s before they even know the guy’s last name.

According to a research study done at Arizona State University that looked at the reasons college students go on first dates, the top first date goal is to reduce uncertainty and find out if the person is a match.

However, they also found that most partners disagree over whether an outing was an actual date.

The study makes plenty of sense. If we only know someone based on their selfies and Tinder profile, of course the first date is the chance to find out if we are compatible. It’s a terrifying and usually awkward experience, but maybe you find out they have an equally nerdy Harry Potter obsession. It’s the chance to not hide behind a screen and learn if you could handle more activities together.

First dates seem difficult enough with getting to really know one another as the main goal in mind. I think we are only further complicating the process if we can’t even agree on whether or not we are truly on a first date. Maybe that’s a conversation to have, and if it takes the pressure off, mention the goal of the date is to find out if there is anything you have in common.

If it helps make things less daunting, the study found that other expectations or goals for dates were insignificant. For example, having fun on the date was mentioned by only a third of the female respondents and only 12 percent of male respondents. That being said, your date probably doesn’t care so much about whether you’re getting ice cream or ice skating, as long as they get to talk and learn about you.

The study might help us understand Birdsong. Maybe the girl he was trying to impress didn’t think this was a date, and he was simply trying to show her that he was taking things seriously. Then again, maybe they agreed it was a date, and Birdsong was showing her how good he was at roof jumping. Regardless of his motivations, I think we can all learn a valuable lesson here. Put yourself out there and take that leap of faith.

Just, please, don’t get stuck.