Things I learned in Advertising Class That Are Not About Advertising.


In the spirit of what I am supposed to be doing, I will approach this post as I would an annotated bibliography.

  • The girl two to the right of me had an emotional valentine’s day. Her and her boyfriend made a contest out of dates… and then had a fight about it.

This is actually a compound lesson, since I first heard about this madcap scheme the week before. The scene played out like something from Mean Girls as the protagonist’s excited voice twanged into the pre-class quiet of the room.  She had giggled and boasted about how even though her boyfriend couldn’t be in town for actual valentine’s day, they were going to have a valentine’s weekend the week after with each of them planning a day and the best day “winning.” And it was going to be “super awesome! especially because my idea *tension building pause, deep thrilling-inducing intake of breath* my idea… kicks. ass.” Anyone else immediately see the glaring and painful error in this idea? Competitive romance has got to be the worst idea since the Kardashian matriarch was given her own talk show, or people started putting kale in their fruit juice. Imagine my weary smugness then, upon hearing that the planned smorgasbord of valentine’s love had dissolved into competitive mean-spiritedness and name-calling. When will undergrads learn. *Wisdom-filled sigh*

In an aside: extra smug bonus points were awarded because, for the first time ever, my own valentine’s day had been something to write home about. Shiny New Boyfriend – who I won’t be talking about that much here because if we stay together for any length of time (finger’s crossed) I might have to start calling him Rusty Old Boyfriend, and he might see that.. and then I would be Yesterday’s Girlfriend, and that would be sad – Back on point, SNB done good. Dinner and Jazz has always been a way to my heart but steak, pecan pie and Jazz at The Village Vanguard has made it into the record books as the way to my heart. 😉

  • The TA finally asked out this girl he’s previously just been casually lunching with.

Now, apparently in America it is customary to be congratulated on having the cojones to ask a girl to dinner… when she’s already been going to lunch with you. Because apparently in America it takes cojones to ask a girl to dinner… when she’s already been going to lunch with you. In my opinion the only situation in which asking someone out requires cojones is when they’re in the habit of crying blood at the very sight of you and running screaming from the room whenever you walk in. But hey, if a girl wants to announce to a TA’s entire class that he finally asked out a girl who was already spending quite a bit of time with him as if its the biggest achievement since inventing the airplane then hey, you go girl. What I really could have done without hearing was “yeah, thanks, it’s been a really great ride so far.” See, this is a great example of when the term “roller coaster” is an essential ingredient in not making you sound like a skeeze. Describing an experience with a woman as “a really great ride”… dating no-no #1. Also, the TA in question happens to be one of those really pompous specimens of the human animal who says everything that comes into their mind like it’s the formula for the cure to cancer. And his eyes are really close together.

  • If you change seats in the 5th week, you cause uproar.

This one’s my fault. I sat in a different seat, and for a brief moment… it seemed like I’d tilted the world on its axis. Several people gave me the stink-eye. If only they knew my excuse – the guy who usually sits in what would be the seat next to me if I were a mindless habit-forming droid who must always park my rear in the same place… has yet to discover deodorant.*

* This is connected to a lesson learned, not specifically in Advertising class, but rather very early in my time at Columbia… American undergrads smell REALLY bad in large numbers. Walking into a classroom here is a little bit like olfactory Russian roulette, except 5 out of the 6 chambers in your revolver are loaded… with bullets coated in skunk pheromones. I caveat that it’s American undergrads because I don’t remember encountering this hormone-body-odor-dirty-sock smog at Oxford.

  • The girl to the left of me has poor coffee wrangling skills, and has two separate anecdotes about times she has gone to pay for her drink and spilled boiling caffeinated beverages down herself.

Neither one of which is interesting in the most technical sense of the term… and yet both of which elicited enraptured giggles from fellow coffee-spillers. I personally have never tipped a coffee on myself because I forgot I was holding it. But then again, perhaps I’m from an alien species that actually develops motor skills as they grow into adulthood?

  • One of the guys in the class is giving up all modern technology for 3 months. And everyone looked at him like he was holding a dead baby.

Now this, this was interesting. The professor got very gleeful and asked the student in question to explain to the class what he was doing. The student then claimed to be giving up all modern technology. There was silence for a moment. Then people’s hands went up and a torrent of variations on the theme of “but… what? But… how? But… won’t you, like, die?” began. Mixed in with comments on how he just wouldn’t be able to do it were observations that he’d fail all his classes, since Columbia is right up there in the 21st century’s grill and we both receive and submit almost everything through an online portal. He claims to have been responsible for the death of a small forest and printed out all his readings ahead of time. He has recruited a slave to scan and submit all his handwritten papers for him. He has bought a typewriter. Then began the “what about your phone?… what about your iPad?… what about your tamagochi?” part of the program. And here is where the great big storming fallacy of his project came to light…. TV is allowed. Apparently, and perhaps a little conveniently, modern technology is herein defined as anything that allows him to control the flow of information in his direction. Meaning that as long as he doesn’t use TEVO (Sky+ to us Brits) he can watch as many hours of telly as his little hypocritical heart desires. Colour me underwhelmed.


  • My professor is 47 and likes Italian food.

Can’t really say much about this last one. It is what it is what it is.

Bye for now.


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