On Jan. 15, the University of Michigan board leaked former President Mark Schlissel’s illicit emails with subordinate “Individual 1” to the public. University students flocked to the 118-page PDF for new Tinder bios, pick-up lines and Yik Yak jokes. Some argued Schlissel had “no game” or was “down bad” for the unidentified University employee, Individual 1, but students can learn something from his umich.edu love letters, signed with a signature “m.”
Show them the world.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Give your Individual 1 lovesick FOMO while giving them a story. A Conde Nast article on the attraction to well-traveled people notes that it’s all about a “good story.” With Schlissel’s poetic delivery, a trip to Pizza House becomes an adventure. Education conferences in the midwest become spontaneous escapades. Of course, traveling with your lover is even more titillating than lovesick solo trips. Take a note from Schlissel’s grandiose visions of “going rogue” (cut short by the sudden email leak) by traveling the world with your lover. Find once-in-a-lifetime experiences in some of Schlissel’s favorite destinations: the Taj Mahal, Paris and the President’s suite of the Big Ten Championship, signed “m.”
Schlissel revealed his secret cultural side to Individual 1 and thousands of leaked email readers. He began his illicit affair with a critical New York Times look into the sexual fantasies of average New Yorkers. He kept it cultural and complex throughout the relationship, luring the individual in with the promise of a knish (a delicious eastern European Jewish carb), hunting for the perfect film at a drive-in (with his perfect love) and wishing them a “flourishing Lunar New Year.” He proved himself a multifaceted and deep man of both high and popular culture.
Keep it professional
Having a professional sign-off is super hot. Schlissel provides the perfect template with his classic “Mark Schlissel MD, PhD President University of Michigan.” People are attracted to prestige. A Ghent University case study of over 3,600 Tinder users found that women indicated an interest in fictitious profiles with Master’s degrees over 90% more than profiles with Bachelor’s degrees, and men indicated an interest in profiles with Master’s degrees over profiles with Bachelor’s degrees by 8% (disproving, at least to some extent, the theory that education is not attractive to men). Remind your prospective beau just how educated you are and how lucky they are to be talking to you with a signature.
Express your feelings
Treat them like royalty
Follow Schlissel and continue to prove that chivalry is not dead. Gift-giving is not materialistic, but a form of expressing love, and one of five “love languages.” Providing a thoughtful gift is an act of love. Treat your lover to only the finest foods: the Pizza House Schlissel special (cherry salad and a specialty calzone) and the finest clothes: handmade Michigan masks from Etsy. But please learn from Schlissel’s wrongdoings and tip more than 10%.
There’s a reason we’re drawn to romantic media, poetry and nostalgia-ridden fanfiction: a desire to romanticize our otherwise mundane lives. In this romanticized view, our struggles become romantic and passionate journeys and our successes become triumphs. Schlissel is the king of waxing poetic. Through his series of emails, readers (including Individual 1) are taken along a passionate and complex journey of love only comparable to Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” He depicts an epic forbidden love: the perfect “me and you against the world” story so many romance readers dream of. Making your love story into something more makes it passionate and memorable. Whether you and your lover are split by a lecture hall, kept away by a house curfew or your friends forbid you from calling or DMing them, romanticizing the daily struggles of college romance keeps things interesting.
The Schlissel scandal kicked off a wild second semester. Keep the momentum going.
Daily Arts Writer Kaya Ginsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.