Summer's dead, like a festering corpse in a freshly-dug ditch.
This, of course, is of particular note to ye collegiate types who view August not as the twilight of summer, but as the dawn of a new school year, a veritable malformed fetus ready to stunt its growth and plague your life for the next nine damn months and more. It's so close now; so close you can practically taste its bittersweet confluence.
Speaking of collegiate types—there are all kinds, all flavors and all manner of weirdos, too. Besides the always obscure in-betweens, the campus social spectrum includes your frat boys and sorority girls, your A-student, study nerds, your hipster-indie-kids who love their hipster-indie-music, your beefcake-roid-freaks (formerly known as 'jocks') and, last but not least, your ever-elusive college geek who loves his video games more than his family, friends or pet poodle Poopsy. Where do these avatars, these caricatures of men and women, go to find what the (original) Greeks called eros, what the Italians call amore, what the French call le passion and what the Americans call sexual intercourse?
Read on and I'll show you.
Where else might a frat boy go to seek his sorority girl counterpart but Trixie-Land, aka Lincoln Park? Not to be confused with the classic Jack Lemmon/Shirley MacLaine film of the same name, the Apartment is ground zero for all faux-Greek activity in the Lincoln Park area. (It also very vaguely resembles an apartment, particularly the roped-off bed onstage. For...napping, perhaps?) Sure, the prices are too high and the drinks too watered down, but where else can you go to see such, er, "celebrities" as Mr. Belding from "Saved by the Bell" and Pedro from "Napoleon Dynamite"?
Study nerds of all types migrate in very similar patterns, typically gathering in hordes to research their senior theses and cram for their mind-bendingly brutal midterms and finals. And like the African gazelle that gathers by the watering hole for sustenance, study nerds gather at libraries and coffeehouses for continual caffeine concoctions. One of the very best coffee shops in all of Chicago, located in the Ukrainian Village and renowned for its old-school style, is Cafe Ballou. The food is good, the coffee is great and the wi-fi—wait for it—is so free you'll wonder if you've wandered into Communist Russia (only with really good coffee). Come on in and practice your math equations, and perhaps the most important equation of all: U + Me = Us.
One-third of the holy trinity of Chicago's indie-music scene, the Riviera in Uptown is home (away from home) to practically every kind of hipster in the Chicagoland area—from the "lanky-guy-with-tight-girl-jeans" hipster to the "tiny-jockey-sized-girl-with-cowboy-boots-for-some-reason" hipster. Which effectively means that every night this music venue hosts a show, hipster love is in the air. The Riv, in addition to joining thousands of hipster hearts (and other organs) as one, also offers some of the best, cheapest concerts you're likely to see in your whole damned hipster life. For example, come October the 22nd and 27th, TV on the Radio ($24) and Of Montreal ($22) are playing their little hearts out, respectively.
David Barton Gym
There's only one place beefcakes ever go—the gym. It's where they live, love, laugh, eat, drink, watch television, gaze longingly at themselves (in the thousands of mirrors all over the place) and, most obviously, exercise. Thankfully, David Barton Gym in River North, in addition to having gym facilities so extensive, so posh and so amazing your huge veins will POP like Rice Krispies and bleed out everywhere (from the excitement!), also has everything else a human being could possibly want or need to stay alive and healthy. The locker rooms, for example, are large, clean and full to the metaphorical brim with toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, razors and more; they sell various energy drinks and food bars to keep you jittery, energized and full in your well-toned belly; and hi-def TVs adorn each and every wall to occupy your thoughts. That is, if they're not already occupied with visions of the girl that's half your size on the treadmill across the way.
Whereas beefcakes can only be found at the gym, college geeks can only ever be found playing Halo 1, 2 and 3, World of Warcraft or Mario Kart Wii. What makes this even more depressing is that a whopping .01 percent (figure not factual) of college girls play videogames, and even fewer play them enthusiastically. Which begs the question—how then does a guy increase his chances of finding a girl who not only plays video games, but enjoys doing so as well? Easy: Waddle your way out to Norridge and Videogames, Etc. (4353 N. Harlem), hands down the coolest video-game shop anywhere within a 100-mile radius (figure not factual). Besides all the newest stuff, Etc. has all the best old games and systems in stock—NES, Super NES, Genesis, Dreamcast—even all the incredibly hard to find ones like Atari and Neo Geo. There's even a LAN room in the back for multiplayer parties, the perfect chance to show the one girl who frequents the store how good you are at Conker's Bad Fur Day. Go get 'em, nerd hole.