Every University has its stereotypes, and McGill is no exception. Although I didn't attend McGill, my boyfriend does, and since we've been together for the duration of University, I've definitely seen some of the typical stereotypes seep into his everyday life.
Of course, this is to be expected, and everyone knows that poking fun at different school's cultures is an undeniable part of the University experience. I'm sure he could go on and on about the numerous stereotypes at Queen's, the University I attended, and he'd probably be right about most of them. What's a good relationship if you can't tease each other a little, right?
McGill has a strong campus culture, and from an outsider's perspective, students find a strong affinity in this shared identity. As my boyfriend finishes up his undergrad, I think I've gotten pretty good at identifying the intricacies of McGill campus life. So, if you've ever had the same experience, you'll recognize these tell-tale signs that you're dating a Redman.
1. The word 'cheers' sets him off into a chant about McGill
If you're a McGill student, you know what I'm talking about. The official school cheer goes something like "Three cheers for McGill..." followed by a string of profanities that I won't write out for the sake of being professional, and also because I'm not a McGill student and therefore won't dare touch their sacred chant.
This was something I heard very often, especially in the first week or so after my boyfriend started at McGill. It's gotten better since, but back in first year, I could barely utter the first syllable of 'cheers' without him erupting into boisterous song. The McGill pride is real, friends.
2. Friday date nights are impossible because he's always at Blues Pub
This is especially true in my case, because my boyfriend is in engineering, which is the faculty that runs this $1-2 beer special in their common room every Friday. You don't have to be in engineering to attend, however, so tons of students cram down there every Friday afternoon to enjoy the glory of cheap beer.
Every time I've visited McGill, Friday date nights are a no-go; we're heading down to Blues Pub, no questions asked. And while I don't complain, (because honestly who would say no to $1 beer?) I've had to quietly accept that date night will just have to be any other day of the week. Basically, it's Blues Pub or die when you're dating a McGill man.
3. Visiting him on campus means walking uphill the whole f**king time
Maybe I was naive to assume that most University campuses rest mainly on flat ground (at least mine did), but when I visited McGill for the first time, I was proven sorely wrong. The worst part was, my boyfriend was used to it at that point, so I just had to suck it up and pant my way through all the goddamn uphill treks that the campus necessitates.
The one benefit is that the more you visit your McGill guy, the stronger your thigh muscles will (hopefully) get, and eventually you'll be able to keep up with him. But honestly, after four years, it's still appalling that somehow, no matter what route you take to what building, you're always on an incline at McGill. I guess it's the price you pay for a gorgeous, regal-looking campus.
4. He's gone out of his way to point out the "erotic" gates
Again, this could totally just be my boyfriend's own immaturity/cheeky sense of humour (and I say that with love), but he thinks it's hilarious to remind me of the inappropriate nickname for McGill's front entrance gates. The proper name is actually the Roddick gates, but because the sentence "The Roddick gates" often ends up sounding like 'the erotic gates', students have inevitably coined this term and never looked back.
I mean, I feel bad for whomever the gates were named after, but really, I'd expect nothing less of University students than to turn something innocent into a crude joke. Although I stopped laughing at this long ago, every single time I come to McGill and we walk through the front entrance, I've come to expect the same line: "You know these are called the erotic gates, right?" Yes, yes I did.
5. He reaffirms the superiority of McGill by mentioning the samosas
This is actually a PSA to all McGill students: please stop telling everyone about the samosa thing. We get it, it's awesome. We get it, McGill is better because of these mystical samosas. It's one of those campus life quirks that I find funny. It's like, "McGill is Canada's Harvard," and then, "You can get amazing samosas!!!"
Honestly, these things are a mystery to me. I don't know how people get them, who hands them out, or why, I just know people feel very passionately about them. The best part is, my boyfriend doesn't even like samosas, he just tells me that they're always on campus and that people are obsessed. One of the many random things I don't really get, but more power to you, samosa-loving McGill students.
6. He's taken you to Redpath Museum at least once
It's pretty cool that there's a museum right in the heart of campus, and Redpath is an awesome place to check out. If you're dating a McGill guy, chances are he's either brought you here, or has mentioned it a bunch of times.
This also seems to be another source of pride on campus, at least according to my boyfriend. McGill dudes no doubt love to show off their campus, and Redpath is one of the main pinnacles of a campus tour. If you're newly dating a McGill man, he might take you here to impress you, and honestly, it will work - so enjoy.
7. The bars you go to together are all within 1km of the McGill campus
This is a commonly held stereotype about McGill students; that they rarely venture out of the McGill area, even though they live in the heart of a major city like Montreal. And honestly, I get it - students often like to stay in their campus bubble, because that's where they live, work, study and, most importantly, party.
Since there are tons of great bars not too far from McGill, it only makes sense that you and your man will likely grab drinks there. So, if you're dating a McGill guy, be prepared to cycle through many of the bars on the following streets: Peel, Crescent, St. Denis and St. Laurent. Otherwise, it'll be considered a serious adventure. You'll (hopefully) get to love places like Peel Pub and Blue Dog.
8. He mentions acronyms and slang terms he just expects you to know
Now that I've learned most of the McGill slang, I'm used to this, but my God did it annoy me in the beginning. Maybe it's just another aspect of strong campus pride, but my boyfriend would seemingly forget that I didn't know what he was talking about when he referred to places on campus. Instead of saying, "I'm at the library", it would be "Oh, I'm just at McLennan." Um, hi, I don't know what that is.
Some of the ones I've heard over the years: OAP, BDP, Pres Res, EngFrosh, MD 50 (some kind of lab), and FDA building. At this point I need an answer key, honestly. But really, I understand - I was the same when it came to Queen's. Still, expect to have to decode some new language if you're newly dating a McGill student.
9. He won't shut up about OAP during spring exam season
If I had a dollar for every time I've heard my boyfriend mention OAP, I could've paid my tuition in full. All jokes aside, I got to experience OAP for the first time this spring, and I now see why everyone is obsessed. Being able to release the stress of exams right in the heart of your campus, while enjoying cheap beer and live music, is any student's definition of heaven.
Inevitably, every year when OAP season rolled around, whether it was during frosh or spring exams, I heard all about it. And chances are, your McGill guy will recount the glory of it to you as well. So do yourself a favour, and try to experience it with him ASAP, so you can understand the hype (and then you can stop hearing about it all the time).
10. He proudly rocks his McGill swag when visiting your school
If there's anything I've learned from dating a McGill guy and visiting the campus for the last four years, it's that McGill students are fiercely proud and loyal to their University. Although not all of them are constantly rocking McGill swag while actually on campus, they'll definitely pull out the red and white once they venture out of Montreal.
My boyfriend has never had a hesitation wearing his red McGill sweater when visiting Queen's, whose colours are gold, red, and blue, so trust me, he stands out. He definitely loves to embarrass me, so I'm sure that's part of why he does this, but I know it's mainly because of his enduring McGill pride.
So ladies, if you find yourself a good Redman, just know he's proud through and through. While it might be a pain sometimes, just know that despite all the quirks and humorous annoyances, McGill guys really are the best. They know how to have fun, work hard, and enjoy life - with him, there will rarely be a dull moment (unless he drags you to McLennan).