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Dropping the H-Bomb

Alex Mazzaferro (MBA ’25) shares a dating playbook for the insufferable and those who lack self-awareness.


Chicago, IL

December 8, 2022.

Time of day: 10:00 AM.

Spirits: high.


The answer is YES.


You missed nights out. Locked yourself in. Spent countless hours preparing for the GMAT. Hell, you even got your $99 Joseph A. Banks suit tailored for the in-person interview.


(Yes, people who took the GMAT, you are better than those who took the GRE. Quit asking.)


You wipe tears of pride from your eyes. You did it. In a few short months, you’re going to pack your bags and move to Cambridge so you can put Harvard Business School on your Hinge profile.


***

Flash back.


Washington, D.C.

June 3, 2022.

Time of day: 6:00 AM.

Spirits: low.


How much lower is rock bottom? you ask yourself as you use Face ID to pay for three roses on Hinge. You hear the cheery Apple Pay pa-ting! Payment successful. As the app loads, you’re forced to stare at your reflection in the black loading screen. Is this what I’ve become?


You might as well be covered in black and white spots and start eating hay because they’ve milked you like a cow.


You thought you were stronger. You’re not. You’re weak. How are you going to tell your grandkids you spent nine dollars and ninety nine cents to fumble three conversations?


What grandkids?? Not at this pace you LOSER.


***

Fast forward.


Cambridge, MA

August 20, 2023.

Time of day: 2:30 AM.

Spirits: low.



Transcript from Hinge

————————————————————————————————————————

You liked X’s photo.

Aug 15

You: Hey do you have any pets?

3:14 am

Aug 17

You: How about dogs haha?

11:32 pm



You: Who do you think would win in a fight:

George Washington or Abe Lincoln?

12:02 am

You: I’m thinking Abe Lincoln, but if you gave

George stilts he might be able to tussle lol

12:02 am

Aug 20

You: Is this thing on lol?

6:03 am

You: Let’s grab drinks at Felipe’s

at 7pm Thursday..

6:03 am

You: Please? I go to Harvard Business School.

6:03 am

Her: Make a reservation for dinner

at Menton for 7pm. I’m only staying until

8:30 because my friends have a table that

night.

6:34 pm

————————————————————————————————————————


Shit, you’re good. A couple of bumps and bruises, but she’s practically eating out of the palm of your hand. She even chose the most expensive restaurant in Boston. She must really like you.


Your mom always said the nerds win in the end. You didn’t believe her until now.


***

Fast forward.


Boston, MA

August 24, 2023.

Time of day: 9:30 PM.

Spirits: wavering.


Okay so that one fell through. She never showed up, but that happens all the time, right? The first pancake is always a little undercooked.


***

Fast forward.


Cambridge, MA

September 9, 2023.

Time of day: 8:00 PM.

Spirits: high.


Second time’s the charm. (Or twelfth time, but who’s counting?) You’ve got another date in the books.


You’re sitting in a quaint, dimly-lit speakeasy in Harvard Square: Felipe’s. You admire the decor and think to yourself, Wow, this place is classier than I thought. You adjust your HBS hat, flip the collar on your HBS polo, and tie your On Cloud shoes extra tight. She’ll have to ask about the red ‘H’ hat, right? Right. Subtle as a shark attack, killer.


After 30 minutes of sweating and one—maybe two—missed phone calls, she arrives. It’s go-time, soldier.


You hop right into conversation. Girls love when you don’t let them talk on a date. They’re here to listen to you mansplain the stock market or why we can’t print more money. Say the words “M7” and “Ivy League” as if you were getting paid $20 for each time you pepper them into conversation.


Ask her what she does for work, and before she can finish, cut her off with this line: “That sounds fun. I wish I could go back to doing something like that after school, but I’ve got to pay my loans off.”

“Right…. Where do you go to school?” she asks.


Hook, line, and sinker. This is your opportunity to feign humility. “I go to a small liberal arts school in Cambridge.” you respond.


She, unenthused, volleys back: “Where at?”


The mission control section of your brain fires on all six cylinders. Tiny soldiers in the recesses of your brain are running around with their heads on fire as a general barks orders. Two officers look at each other nervously as they each put their keys into their respective slots. The general gives a grim nod. The two men gulp and turn the keys ninety degrees. The academics are crying and begging to stop the process. It’s too late. The launch sequence has begun. He’s dropping the H bomb.


“Harvard Business School” slinks out of your mouth as you puff out your chest.


“What’s that? Is that a good school?” She says.


***

Fast forward.


New York, NY.

December 25, 2050.

Time of day: 7:00 AM.

Spirits: low.


A grand fireplace roars in front of you. You wipe the sweat from your brow with a stained handkerchief. You adjust your monocle and remove your white gloves. You cap your Mont Blanc pen and give your Rolex a quick polish with the underside of your shirt.


“Charles!” you call out into your 32-bedroom, rent-controlled apartment. A small, old man hobbles into the stately room paneled with rich mahogany.


“Yes sir?” Charles whispers. At this point, Charles sounds like wind running through a hollow tree.


Nervously, you bring yourself to ask, “Open Hinge for me, Charles. Any updates?”


A long pause fills the room like a gas leak. “No matches, sir.”

Alex Mazzaferro (MBA ’25) is from Chicago. He graduated from the University of Alabama in 2019. Prior to HBS, he worked in strategy and ventures.



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