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Q. Who should pay on a first date? Guy or Gal?
Answered on December 12th, 2010 A. Now I could see this question coming from a mile away - so was I prepared for it? …No. Absolutely not. Frankly, there’s no easy answer. I can tell you, personally, I’m of the traditional sense—I know, I know, you’re rolling your eyes already. For me, the dude proposes, holds the door, carries her books (forget traditional, we’re talking medieval), and yes, pays for dinner and a movie. BUT, and this is a very large ‘but’, I also enjoy when the lady approaches me, and asks me out, or when she picks the restaurant or movie (yes, this is my excuse for catching chick flicks, sue me), the list goes on.

When it comes to actually paying for the date (we’re talking movie, dinner, mini-golf, bowling, shooting range, whatever), I, Raj, do enjoy being the one to pay, even when I’m strapped for cash. Why? Well, I suppose it really just secures my good ole manhood. I mean really, ladies. It may sound sad, it may sound terrible, but…and I’m not a psychiatrist here…it may just be the truth. I just feel good paying, and I like knowing I’ve got my girl covered—it’s as simple as that.

BUT—yes, here it is again—there is the idea that whoever does the asking out is the one who should pay. To this I say: No. Because that just sounds to me like that person is going out on a gamble, willing to risk it all, just for that one awesome date. It really shouldn’t be an issue. And if there is hesitation—which there often is—split the bill! Whatever happened to halvsies?! There is absolutely no harm done in splitting, and also no resultant tension.

My final rule: don’t sweat it! Who is going to pay really should be the last thing you’re worried about on the first date. Guys—be chivalrous! Ladies—be kind! We’ve all got tuitions and minimum wage jobs, so maybe no fancy restaurants on the first go, eh (that also doesn’t mean McDonald’s is a go!)? You certainly don’t want the debate over whose tipping to be the reason there’s no second date.

Q. How did you make friends at UTSC? Everyone seems so closed off in my classes, even in tutorials.
Answered on December 12th, 2010 A. How did I make friends? Well, for the whole story, we would actually need a 6-pack and one long night — neither of which we have (or you know, email me). As a lowly first year, I started off with a lot of bravado—I wasn’t cocky, I was eager, which is a bigger mistake. It sure doesn’t get you laid, and it definitely doesn’t earn you any friends. I noticed that the best way was to calmly approach other students in my lectures or tutorials, by either asking a question about the lecture or making a comment about the prof. People are quiet — just like you, and for the same reason—they’re tired, they don’t care, and while they wouldn’t mind a friend, they’re also a bit resistant to the idea of new people.

Be the one to start talking. This way you’ll avoid the awkwardness of being the approachee AND you can lead the conversation. Be nice, make eye contact, and remember their name (trust me)!

You’ll see the same people in your classes for the next four years, so why not make some friends? Not to mention, one new friend comes with their whole circle of friends, and if you play your cards right, you’ll soon find yourself with a gaggle of study buddies for the price of one!

Other useful friend-finding locales: the line at Tim Horton’s (if you’re stuck by yourself next to another loner and not a couple making out, strike up a conversation, for example, “OMG, I love your shoes!” or “Oh man, I’m missing the game tonight!”), bathrooms (seriously, it works, I speak from personal experience—Hi Tom!—between stalls, beside urinals or sinks), and roommates (making friends with these guys is always better than making enemies).

Bad places to meet friends: the parking lot (these folks tend to be a bit cranky, already foreseeing road rage), the library (it’s always best not to disturb those who are studying—trust me, getting rebuffed here will always burn, the idea of studying in that same spot again will bring you to tears), and those nooks and crannies under the stairs (these kids ain’t no Harry Potters, they are in the dark, alone for a reason! Step away!).

Q. I can't stop procrastinating! HELP.
Answered on December 12th, 2010 A. I found a lot of you asking this same question in varying degrees about varying things (don’t ask), and since it’s also finals time, I am going to give you guys…

    Raj’s Top 5 Quick & Dirty Ways To Stop Procrastinating And Start Doing (But Not In The Dirty Way):

  1. Remove all distractions! This includes girlfriends, iPhones/BlackBerrys, TVs, laptops, WI-FI, essentially any and all unnecessary electronics. I know, I know, just cut the cord already!

  2. Schedules are a must. Dig up those monthly cheese or milk calendars you found in the mail, and start divvying up the days—this much time on bio, this much time on English. But stick to it! Nothing will compare to having successfully completed a to-do list.

  3. Find some fresh Duracells and ram them into all the alarm clocks you can find, wind ‘em up, check the time, and there you have it. A nice little bit of self-torture, nothing like that distinct alarm in the morning to make you study! Keep them around - use them to time your study sessions and your naps.

  4. Reward yourself! Every time you’ve finished a block of studying, bring out the candy, the beer, the sex, whatever. Flip on some Community and relax for a bit; life’s not so bad, is it?

  5. Let’s face it, if there’s anything that’s true about college life, it’s the dreaded Freshman 15, except it’s not just for the freshmen - these mysterious weight gains always crop up around finals. Why? Because food and caffeine are the sole batteries keeping us powered for all-nighters. As far as I’m concerned, indulge! This is your chance. You’ll be studying (hopefully), so the guilt won’t be quite as warranted. Invest in a coffeemaker and find out where the closest fast food stops are. Reminder: no binging, and no crash diets at this time—no one wants to see you vomit next to them at an exam—no one.

Q. Yo Raj, man. Boxers or briefs?
Answered on December 1st, 2010 A. You guys are just coming at me with the hard-hitting questions this week, aren’t you? Ok well, let me dust off my lenses, and pull out my trusty pro/con pad. Quite frankly, I could write an essay on this—and who’s to say I haven’t…?

Alright, so when it comes to boxers, let’s just say, I don’t like loose change. I also don’t enjoy cold drafts. Capeesh?

That being said, I’m also not much of a briefs sort of man. Granted, I do like the family jewels as close to my person as possible, not for fear of random acts of castration, but I’m a paranoid guy, and I don’t know, really. …This is getting very therapeutic, isn’t it? I do end up feeling like I’m either borrowing my girlfriend’s panties (Insecurity? Check!), or about to go audition for Superman (this honestly, genuinely, would be a dream come true). Let’s just say, to me, briefs are uncomfortable—emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically.

‘So what then, Raj?!’ you ask, frustrated. Well, there is a happy medium, ladies and gents. I know some of you are eager, you’ve known what I’m about to say this whole damn time, you’re probably wearing them right now! *Drum roll!* Personally, I enjoy rocking my endless pairs of Calvin Klein boxer briefs (they’ve got a super affordable 3-pack). They are the ultimate compromise and simply the Iron Man of men’s underwear (and my girlfriend likes them). Not only does my junk feel snug, but—and I hate to use this word—they offer some serious support. I said it, sue me. They’re supportive and they conform to my stick thin thighs. They just feel good. They feel right. What can I say? I like the soft, cottony goodness.

P.S. Guys, don’t be thinking, ‘Oh, it works for Raj, it’ll work for me!’ No, no, no. A man’s got to find what works for him. Test ‘em out. You could be a boxers guy, a briefs guy or a commando guy. Your package will let you know, trust me.

Q. Hi Raj. I have a friend who I used to be pretty close with, but recently there’s been a bit of animosity between us. We haven’t hung out in a while, and whenever we do, we argue. We no longer are interested in the same things, and being around each other is just not fun anymore. How do I end the relationship without hurting her feelings?
Answered on December 1st, 2010 A. Ah, now this is a tough question. First of all, it’s never easy to end any sort of relationship, especially one that used to be close. You both know things about each other no one else does, and like it or not, there’s a level of intimacy there, which may be more uncomfortable now than anything else—much like bad breath. And how do we get rid of bad breath? We have a breath mint. And what do I mean? Well, you’ve got to fight back with some good old antibodies. Take away the tension! Get rid of the animosity! There clearly seems to be a bit of bad blood between you two, and for whatever reason—most likely a misunderstanding—it’s always best to first clear the air. Meet for coffee (with witnesses!), and have a chat. Air out that dirty laundry, but don’t get sassy. Ok, so that was awkward, eh? But soon, you’ll find yourself feeling a little less guilty and a whole lot better.

You just have to let the relationship run its course. Friendships are much like flowers. You plant them and they grow; you stop watering them, and they wither away. You two haven't been friends for awhile, now it’s just time to let go of the pretences. Keep in mind—there is nothing wrong with letting go and drifting apart, it’s only natural. We’re talking adaptation, my friends (a little bit of Darwin never hurt anyone). Don’t cling to this relationship any longer than you need to, don’t waste time, make new friends if you want to (or you know, loneliness never goes out of style). Pretty soon, you’ll stop scheduling movie and dinner dates together, picking classes together, or seeing each other at parties. Sad now, isn’t it? But necessary, and also the right thing. DON’T WASTE TIME. This is my motto - you’ll see it here often. You two had your time, and it was amazing, you’ll never forget that one time in high school, or that day in the park—but now? Make new memories. You both deserve it! Don’t cling to something that’s already dead.