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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

A beginner’s guide to dumpster dating

Bianca Oppedisano
An excited couple stands in a dumpster surrounded by various treasures and trash. Illustration by Bianca Oppedisano / Mass Media Staff.

I’m sorry to tell you this, but your time is running out. The pipe bomb of love is ticking away, getting closer and closer to detonation. While there’s no actual deadline for finding a partner, the older you get, the slimmer your chances become. In a sense, college is the last true chance you have before being thrown off into the far reaches of the rest of your miserable life where friends fade fast and new relationships grow scarce. 

That being said, it’s time for you to get off your lonely butt and pursue happiness. But as I’m sure many of you know, the first step to forging a new romance is to simply see if you can stand being in the presence of one another for a predetermined amount of time while consuming some variety of nutritional sustenance or partaking in a mutually agreed upon bout of sensory stimulation such as cinema or tiny disco golf with booze. This is known more formally in our culture as a date. 

The Society of American Dating, SAD for short, recently published a study showing that, statistically speaking, the ideal first date isn’t what many of us have been led to believe by the collective programming of major media outlets and the twisted narrative being pushed by poorly written Hallmark Channel movies. The ideal first date has nothing to do with fancy clothes, fancy cars, fancy restaurants, fancy jawlines, fancy people or post-dinner sex disguised as coffee. These are clichés that can be thrown right down the drainpipe. It’s simple mathematics; the ideal first date is dumpster diving.    

Dumpster dating is a trend that has slowly been picking up steam, especially in the demographic of college-aged kids. The primary reason for this is that dumpster dating is cheap as f—. Sure, the malnourished, semi-naked man sitting outside slathering his hairy feet with a half-melted stick of goat butter might ask you to pay a toll, but you can probably just hand him a few bottle caps and he won’t know the difference. Unlike clubs, unlike bars and unlike theaters, dumpsters provide an affordable dating experience like no other. But what is there to do in a dumpster?

What isn’t there to do in a dumpster? 

Nothing brings people together like a bit of shared intrigue, and dumpsters are like little boxes of curiosity that, when broken into, expose an entire world of wonder. Is that the rusted frame of a 1956 Schwinn Traveler bicycle? Is that a watermelon-red Nintendo 64 with a copy of “Hey You, Pikachu!” and a functioning microphone? No way, it couldn’t be! Is that a partially torn-open garbage bag full of Hostess mini-muffins thrown out by a supermarket due to a factory defect? Endless discoveries await as every dumpster is as unique as the couple who occupies it.

With such a diverse array of dumpsters across the land, finding a good one can be as difficult as finding a good date. If you plan for an outing that is more food-oriented, the backlot of a grocery store like Whole Foods should provide all your culinary needs. While most of their rejected produce and raw meats are ground up into a disgusting, frothy paste, workers oftentimes just revert to tossing things straight in the dumpster. So, if you seek to impress your date by chowing down on a completely intact, only slightly contaminated cantaloupe, this is an ideal location. And besides, salmonella is rarely fatal. 

However, if it’s a more physically engaging date you seek, try looking for a dumpster behind an entertainment facility. I once went on a date behind a closed-down Chuck E. Cheese that had thrown all the plastic balls from the ball pit right into the dumpster out back. Up until we stumbled upon the corroded corpse of Chuck’s rat suit, we had an absolute blast. Ultimately, trash is subjective to personal taste; although, there is one thing that can be found in a dumpster so powerful that it’s guaranteed to turn an awkward night into the beginning of the rest of your life: animals!

Due to the gross urbanization of humankind that has encroached its way into natural ecosystems, animals such as rats, cats and bats have adapted to wallow in our waste. While this is a depressing reality that makes me want to die, they’re still pretty damn darn cute, and none more so than the raccoon. The genuine trash masters of our society, raccoons are just as adorable as they are wise, and it’s a great privilege to be able to share a dumpster with one. Just be sure to bring along a modest supply of sweet corn and apricots to offer as tribute to your generous dumpster host. 

I’m sure by now, many of you have become convinced of dumpster dating’s viability. I mean, SAD hasn’t declared it the fastest-growing dating trend for nothing. However, certain dumpsters should be avoided including those behind Taco Bell, those within cemeteries, those within a five-mile radius of Steve Harvey’s house, and of course, any dumpster in Texas unless you wish to be turned into a walking piece of human Swiss cheese. I once spent an evening in a dumpster behind a paint factory and hallucinated several Zoboomafoos standing in a circle chanting demonic-sounding hymns in Latin. The moral of the story is to choose wisely. 

Dating, at the end of the day, is an unexpected journey shared between two lonesome hearts. It’s Bilbo Baggins leaving the Shire to travel to the Lonely Mountain with thirteen dwarves and an old man to fight a greedy, fire-breathing Benedict Cumberbatch. Nothing speaks to this spirit of adventure more so than two strangers bonding over the discarded remnants of another stranger’s life. So, work up the courage and ask that special someone out to a dumpster near you. I mean, it’s not like I’d give you intentionally bad advice to sabotage your chance at happiness or anything. Just remember, trash is the window into a person’s soul, and you wouldn’t believe the things some people throw away. 

About the Contributors
Joe DiPersio, Humor Editor
Bianca Oppedisano, Illustrator