The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Sex and the CU | To chase or not to chase, that is the question

Natalie Schneider
Sex and the CU


On the page, the word reads as an expression of indifference, disinterest, numbness — a void of worry or concern. The nonchalant swagger of apathy lingers within words, body language and text messages, much like cigarette odor between the fibers of a couch cushion.

Apathy is, in its most direct sense, an emotion. However, intentionally performing a playful lack of concern has become a game with rules, regulations and stipulations rivaling only “Dungeons and Dragons” in complexity.

Artificially manufacturing “the chase” is often regarded as a crucial step in modern sexual and romantic encounters.

According to a 2018 article by Elle magazine Beauty Director Chloe Hall, the “three-day rule” is a vestigial relic from dating in the age of landlines. In the rule’s absence, young adults search intently for guidelines to ensure productive romantic interaction.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

As I was traipsing around Campustown with my painfully honest best friend one afternoon, I asked him how long I should wait to respond to a text from a conquest. 

His response? A formula complete with parentheses, exponents and variables spanning from days since the last in-person encounter to the photo composition of previous Snapchats. 

“I think an appropriate amount of time to wait is 20 minutes,” he stated with an authority characteristic of a terminal-degree holder. “Make sure you aren’t responding more quickly than he is.”

Although I personally don’t subscribe to the notion that each aspect of flirtatious messages must be precisely masterminded according to a holy rizz doctrine, I do occasionally think to myself, “Maybe I should practice greater self-restraint. I wouldn’t want to — god forbid — show interest.”

Two roads diverge in a yellow wood. 

Will the hopeless romantic approach love with the cynicism of a bitter, curmudgeonly spinster? Or shall they instead demolish a bottle of cheap Merlot in their underwear whilst belting along to the Jamie O’Neal rendition of “All by Myself” á la “Bridget Jones Diary”? 

In a social scene positively vibrating at the seams with eligible and ineligible candidates alike, an apathetic dater holds all of the chips — the big red block button just one “ick” away.

If a religious regimen of hypnosis, herbal potions, mirror affirmations and aggressive exercise doesn’t successfully rid you of investment or human emotion in your situationship, faking an apathetic attitude can feel like a valid course of action. I can’t give you a foolproof solution that will guarantee you success in never scaring anyone off — truthfully, I have no idea.

In my experience, though, the best way to ensure that you put your best foot forward is to completely disregard the dating market most of the time. Prioritize platonic friends. Engage in your passions. Polish up the LinkedIn. 

Frankly, having things going for you is attractive. Nonchalance comes with the territory of allocating priority away from your phone. 

In the interest of being transparent, I would venture to say I have mastered the act of making some cornball error that immediately puts off the uninitiated. 

I hope that this column and future iterations of it are able to articulate some of the worries and doubts that we might be too ashamed to admit as we navigate a new period in our lives. Being a young adult is admittedly harder than people make it out to be, and it is not shameful to experience an awkward stage of self-discovery. Take it from me, an ever-stumbling work in progress.

Thank you for reading — until next time.


[email protected]

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Lisa Chasanov, Managing Editor for Reporting
Howdy! My name is Lisa, my game is delivering quality news to your phone screen, coffee table and recycling bin. Since fall 2022, I have had the honor of writing, editing and often-unsuccessfully pitching content for The Daily Illini. During my time at the 152-year-old news source, I have served as a reporter at our news desk, summer editor and assistant news editor. Most recently, after a rewarding year of bringing you hard-hitting stories such as “Uncut: Dissecting Circumcision” and “‘Surf’s Up’ could be the film of the summer,” I have taken over as managing editor for reporting. In my free time, you can find me performing open heart surgery in dark alleys, communicating telepathically with small woodland creatures and engaging in otherwise dubious activities. If you would like to summon me for any reason, you can find me at [email protected]. Good Yard. Stay tuned for more.
ILLordle: Play now