A group of duelers at Blade and Bones. | Facebook

I, Aidan Cyrus, have dis­covered the cure for “Hills­dating,” the problem that has plagued this school for too long. 

The problem of the Hillsdale dating scene is the belief that you need to be madly in love with someone to ask them out. I spent the past week or so con­tem­plating the pos­sible remedies and have found the cure while also finding the ideal first date — a date spot that clearly artic­u­lates the interest between the parties while main­taining the casu­alness of the activity.

Blade & Bones, a rel­a­tively new store located on Howell Street, mostly sells knives and knife-related mate­rials. On Sat­urdays between 6 and 10 p.m, however, it hosts free-for-all dueling events. 

When I walked past the store this summer and wit­nessed this spec­tacle, I thought perhaps the Simpson boys had returned to school early to practice for a raid on Gal­loway because the duelers wielded homemade swords created from PVC pipe covered in rubber and sty­rofoam. It was not until a friend and I returned this past weekend in hopes of par­tic­i­pating in some inves­tigative jour­nalism that I realized it couldn’t be Simpson boys. There were rules. As we walked into the store, parents and the owner of the store stood outside vaping and smoking while their children, a few members of the Mu Alpha fra­ternity, and an assortment of adults beat the living day­lights out of each other in either team or free-for-all duels. 

Now imagine bringing a first date to this local fight club. Taking a first date to Blade & Bones on a Sat­urday evening presents a wide array of pos­si­bil­ities. Want to reenact that one scene from “Napoleon Dynamite”? Easy. Whack each other with medieval-style rubber flails? You got it. Or perhaps you merely want to observe? Well, bring your respective vapes and watch alongside the parents. 

This date pro­vides the perfect balance between casual and courtship. As you and a 10-year-old kid vio­lently swing fake swords at each other, you show your date that you don’t take yourself too seri­ously. And yet, as you and your date help each other put on your face guards, you lock eyes and realize that, in a very real sense, you’re not messing around. Seeing your date perform a combo move on some child pro­vides you with per­spective on their important virtues: mag­na­nimity, courage, and ulti­mately their will­ingness to die a fitting and sweet death for the fatherland. As you drive or walk back to campus, you can discuss the high­lights of the night, like two sol­diers recounting their time at war. Assuredly, there will be no lull in the con­ver­sation.

Last year, Pro­fessor of Phi­losophy and Religion Nathan Schlueter pre­sented us with five prin­ciples to follow to defeat “Hills­dating”: ask your date out in person, plan a date within the won­derful metropolis of Hillsdale, pay for your date, return home by a rea­sonable time, and refrain from getting physical on your first date. Arguably, a date to Blade & Bones follows all of these prin­ciples. This activity is free, low main­te­nance, ends at 10 p.m., and allows you to enjoy the hub of civ­i­lization that is the city of Hillsdale. 

Take it from me, a single man: this date finds the mean between overly casual and a “ring by spring” attitude. Blade & Bones is the answer to the question of “Hills­dating.” Perhaps you can also take your date to the Knorr Family Dining Room to enjoy some nice hor d’oeuvres before com­peting in some medieval-style combat. 


Aidan Cyrus is a junior studying phi­losophy.