Modern Love Essay Contest

A Complete Set
of Modern Loves


It’s Us Against a Particle of Dust

Parents of children with potentially fatal allergies exist in a state of constant high alert, one that can unify them as a couple.

Am I Gay or Straight? Maybe This Fun Quiz Will Tell Me

A young woman seeks answers to her sexual orientation online, where the endless quizzes she takes deliver whatever label she wants.

A Future Without Him, Aided by Duct Tape

A month into widowhood, a young mother finds herself to be the sole protector of her children — and a trapped bird.

How ‘Lolita’ Freed Me From My Own Humbert

A teenager in distress turned to a famous novel with the hope of normalizing her situation. Instead, it provided a road map for escape.

Just for Tonight, Pretend You Don’t Know Me, O.K.?

For a Valentine’s date, they wanted to go to a bar and act as if they were strangers. Then she sat next to someone else.

When Your Body Tells You What Your Brain Won’t

A woman who had collected stories of others’ marriages and infidelities for years learns a powerful lesson that research alone could never teach.

Are Bitcoins More Real Than Boyfriends?

She believed that loving a person would be a safer bet than investing in a cryptocurrency she could neither touch nor understand.

The Bike That Saved My Life

Saddled with a run-down house, a faltering marriage and a vanishing bank account, a woman takes to her two-wheeler.

For Best Hookup Results, Use Your Words, O.K.?

How physical desire, fake flattery and a vanishing act can make casual sex anything but casual.

How 30 Blocks Became 30 Years

A teenager in a wheelchair forges an unlikely but enduring relationship with the young woman hired to care for his infant half brother.


Love Calls, and So Does the Priesthood

On a subway platform, she shared a New Year’s Eve kiss with a man planning to be a priest. Could it go any further?

10 Ways to Love Better

This year’s most-read Modern Love columns delivered unexpected kernels of wisdom.

Shooing Carolers Away for a Love That Stays

As Christmas nears, a young woman hospitalized with pediatric leukemia basks in a new romance even as her health fails.

Getting Married Is Better Than Dying, Right?

She was gravely ill. He had a job with health insurance. Nothing like tying the knot on the way to the hospital to make someone believe in love.

He Showed Me His Tiles, So I Showed Him Mine

Nine years of therapy and one board game help a woman understand that love can’t be mastered through hard work and perfectionism.

When Even a Toddler Can Tell You Don’t Belong

An American stepmother feels like an outsider in the British family she joined. Driving the car pool in her bathrobe doesn’t help.

Love to Love You, Baby

Sometimes we fall for a person, sometimes a place. For Jacqueline Woodson, it was disco-drenched New York, where anything, and everything, could happen.

Winning the College Contest Means Everything Is Rosy, Right?

Some of the youngest Modern Love contributors weigh in on the impact of writing and publishing their essays.

An Optimist’s Guide to Divorce

She fell in love with a married man. He told his wife he wanted to split up. How did they all end up as close friends?

17 Million Frozen Sperm Await the Perfect Moment

A woman trying to get pregnant on her own finds connection and hope during a total solar eclipse.

Senior Couples Try the 36 Questions That Lead to Love

The questions have led to countless unions. What can they do for pairs who know everything about each other?

‘Happiness Is Incomplete’: A Refugee Couple’s Scattered Lives

A family flees Iraq and eventually resettles in Indiana — all except for one, who remained halfway around the world.

The Secret of Modern Love

Daniel Jones, the editor of Modern Love, takes a look at his teenager.

When Your Uber Driver Brings a Time Machine

A woman is plunged into her tumultuous past when she gets a ride to the airport from a man intimately connected to her divorce.

Your 13-Word Love Stories

We asked readers to share succinct summaries of their personal lives. Here are some of our favorites.

Don’t Know What the Angular Gyrus Is? Your Heart Does

A University of Chicago neuroscientist is studying how we may reap key rewards from being in love. And her most persuasive evidence may be herself.

An Open Adoption Now Crosses Many Time Zones

Amelia, 5, lives with her Mama and Mimi in Switzerland, Skypes with her birth mother in Seattle and was a flower girl at her birth father’s wedding.

On the Path to Empathy, Some Forks in the Road

What happens when your wife wants to be “unmarried” but still together? Essential oils and trying to butter up a dog, for starters.

Dear David’s Wife, Can You Diagnose My Husband, Too?

Figuring out her husband had Asperger’s meant everything would be fine between them, right? Not so fast, says Kristen Finch.

Doc, Help!

A cartoon strip on the signs one man is leaving for his wife. (One placard contains instructions concerning a wet towel.)

What Love Looks Like

We set out to find couples in New York who would be willing to have their photo taken and to answer some personal questions. Here are 10 couples who agreed.

Mom: ‘Is He Jewish?’ Me: ‘No.’ Mom: ‘Is He Smart?’

A playwright’s mother, modern and progressive in much of her life, still has a few old-school tics.

The 13 Questions That Lead to Divorce

If you were given the chance to bring peace to the Middle East, would you also make that about you?

We Were in Our 20s and We Didn’t Have a Clue

They met at a wedding. She had a husband. It was brief, fiery, and the memory lingers even if the specifics are a little hazy.

The Other Woman Speaks

A memorable essay recounted a man’s chance encounter (and coffee date) with the wife of his wife’s lover. But what did she make of the meeting?

Looking for the ‘Bad Mother?’ She’s Still Here

In one of the most provocative Modern Love columns, Ayelet Waldman dared tease out the nuances of romantic versus maternal love. Then Oprah got involved.

Recognizing What They Had, 20 Years Too Late

A closeted gay woman didn’t know how to have platonic love with a man. Decades later, she wishes she had been brave enough to try.

Is There Something Odd About Being Single?

In a society that rewards marriage, a woman asks why the single life should have to be condemned, even by the Supreme Court, as one of loneliness.

Single, Unemployed and Suddenly Myself

After hooking up with a much younger man, a woman realizes she has been looking for love all wrong.

Prenup Is a Four-Letter Word

A man’s request for a prenuptial agreement roils an engagement, forcing his fiancée to confront her financial choices.

The Secret to Marriage Is Never Getting Married

Rather than making a single, ceremonial commitment, unwedded couples must choose each other every day.

Taking My Ex Back In (for His Own Good)

They loved each other and had a child together, but couldn’t make it work. Twenty years later, could their bond save his life?

Discovering Manhood in Soapy Bubbles

He thought he had left his father’s machismo behind. But when it came time to propose, he didn’t think he was man enough to be anyone’s husband.

My Platonic Romance on the Psych Ward

A patient with mania was told that nobody forms lasting friendships in a psychiatric hospital, but she adored her roommate too much to listen.

Finding God in a Hot Slice of Pizza

After her divorce, a mother and son who had been living by the rules of Orthodox Judaism decide to test (and taste) a new world of possibilities.

Who’s Allowed to Hold Hands?

A Jamaican woman chafes at the reality that expressing affection for her wife can lead to confrontations with her fellow immigrants in New York.

Are You There, Dad? It’s Me, Alice

After a 10-year-old girl tries to contact her recently deceased father by email, an unusual correspondence begins.

Married to a Mystery Man

A woman comes to the conclusion that it’s not a lack of love that ends long-term relationships; it’s a lack of curiosity.

Four Castaways Make a Family

In adopting three foster children, a woman with a fraught past of her own makes “a decision to love.”

Escaping From a Dire Diagnosis on

To entertain her hospital-bound friend, a divorced woman opens an online dating account so they can scroll through profiles of available men.

During a Night of Casual Sex, Urgent Messages Go Unanswered

On one of the most consequential evenings of his life, a young man still finding himself wishes he had picked up the phone.

The 12-Hour Goodbye That Started Everything

A spurned woman confronts the question: When you lose love, should you even try to get over it?

How to Stop Breaking Up

A writer and artist valued their creative independence too much to stay together. But they couldn’t stay away.

A FaceTime Relationship Turns Face to Face

A woman discovers that in-person love is much more taxing than just holding up a phone.

Seeking the Comfort of an Old Flame: Solitude

After leaving a man she had feared, a woman finds solace in anonymity and separation.

To Stay in Love, Sign on the Dotted Line

They launched their relationship by answering 36 questions. To keep it going, they drew up a contract.

My Body Doesn’t Belong to You

A young woman who finds herself being catcalled, followed and grabbed at wonders why some men seem to think a female body is public property.

A Husband for Home; a Wife for Away

When a couple routinely seek different pleasures, sometimes you need one spouse for travel and another for the everyday.

Making a Marriage Magically Tidy

At her husband’s suggestion (and with the wisdom of Marie Kondo), a recovering slob discovers the sexiness of cleanliness.

2,000 Entries, 5 Winning Essays: Catch Up on the Modern Love College Contest

This year’s standout stories focused on faith, gender, technology and, of course, love.

Wanting Monogamy as 1,946 Men Await My Swipe

They met on Bumble and fell into a fun, one-night-a-week, nonexclusive routine — until she realized she liked him.

Not Friends? Then No Benefits

A woman who feels no sexual attraction without first establishing a deep emotional connection wonders if there is something wrong with her.

White Shirt, Black Name Tag, Big Secret

After spending years abroad trying to convert strangers, two Mormon missionaries realize how little they really knew each other.

My So-Called (Instagram) Life

When the person you’re trying to be on social media takes over the person you are in real life, it can be hard to break character.

The Physics of Forbidden Love

The winning essay from our Modern Love College Essay Contest explores an unlikely romance between a transgender man and an immigrant Indian woman.

To Stay Married, Embrace Change

It’s unrealistic to expect your spouse to forever remain the same person you fell in love with.

A Dose of Empathy From My Syrian Doctor

A woman with a debilitating motor neuron disease finds hope in a man from a war-ravaged country.

From Best Man to Puzzled Woman

A woman discovers surprising complications in navigating her male friendships after transitioning in midlife.

Modern Love Podcast: Laura Dern Reads ‘I Will Be Your Mother Figure’

This week, the “Big Little Lies” actress reads Rhonda Mawhood Lee’s story of her church’s reaction to a gay parishioner’s last love.

The Accident No One Talked About

When a family tries to sweep tragedy under the rug, the damage is deep and lasting.

Keeping the Boardroom Out of the Bedroom

A hard-charging executive has trouble balancing the power of work with the intimacy of marriage.

Pushed Into the Future When Illness Strikes (in an Unlikely Place)

After contracting a rare case of the mumps as an adult, a man receives bad news about his fertility....

When Mothers Bully Back

A good mother does bad things on behalf of her bullied son. Should she feel triumphant or ashamed?...

‘Live for the Moment’: Readers Share Stories of Love and Loss

Readers respond to an essay by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, who, after learning she doesn’t have long to live, composed a dating profile for her husband....

You May Want to Marry My Husband

After learning she doesn’t have long to live, a woman composes a dating profile for the man she will leave behind....

Podcast »

When Your Greatest Romance Is a Friendship

A writer seeking solitude in a small town finds himself developing a deep and unlikely bond with his elderly neighbor....

Opening the Heart’s Floodgates, With a Paw

An animal shelter volunteer has a dim view of her fellow man, until she starts playing matchmaker for dogs and people....

After 264 Haircuts, a Marriage Ends

He acknowledged he was gay and left his wife, but he kept returning home for their monthly ritual....

The Secret to Sibling Success

Two brothers and a sister credit a surprising source for their lifelong closeness: their parents’ ugly divorce....

Confronting Race, Religion and Her Heart

After a painful breakup, a young woman finds healing in honesty — with both her former boyfriend and herself....

Boy, What a Fabulous Baker

After a woman swipes right on a man with his own bakery, she falls for both him and his bread....

A Tattoo for the Living

After a young woman’s troubled boyfriend disappears, she scrambles to preserve scraps of his existence....

Can Cuddle Parties Cure Modern Loneliness?

Readers were split on a Modern Love writer’s resolution to seek the touch of strangers....

Refreshing a Mother’s Memory With Love and Stories

An aging woman’s dementia causes her to learn about her family all over again....


In the New Year, More Cuddling

A single woman in need of physical connection pledged to attend a cuddle party....

The Night Girl Finds a Day Boy

For a sleep-disordered woman who works all night and sleeps all day, dating presents challenges....

A Year In, and Still Trying to Say the ‘L’ Word

They had been together for 12 months. She realized that she loved him. Should she say so?...

9 Ways to Improve Your Love Life

A guide for having better relationships, culled from 2016’s most popular Modern Love columns....

From Syria, With Love

An Atlanta mother who volunteers to help a refugee family discovers that the need, and the benefit, goes both ways....

After a Breakup, an App to Help Breathe, Then Run

Jilted by her longtime boyfriend, a woman considers trusting intuition over rationale. If only she could figure out what intuition is....

Catfishing Strangers to Find Myself

A young boy in Finland pretends he’s a woman on an online gaming website to get the attention of other players. Then the game changes....

When Eve and Eve Bit the Apple

A Christian woman’s identity is challenged by her love for church and another woman....

Grappling With the Language of Love

For an American woman falling in love with an Iraqi doctor in Syria, Arabic provides both a bridge and a source of frustration....

My U-Turn From Isolation to Intimacy

When her only child outgrows cuddling, a single mother realizes that her daily life is almost entirely without physical affection, or even touch, from anyone....

My Biological Clock Can’t Tick Fast Enough

A woman with no maternal desire wrestles with the expectation that married couples should try to have children....

My Biological Clock Can’t Tick Fast Enough

A woman with no maternal desire wrestles with the expectation that married couples should try to have children....

Cropped Out of My Own Fantasy

A young woman relies on carefully prepared images to present her relationship in the best light, until the picture no longer includes her....

What’s Love? Don’t Ask the Answer Couple

A onetime advice columnist realizes that the more she learns about love, the less she seems to know....

When Trump vs. Clinton Becomes a Family Affair

In midlife, a man quickly forges a tight bond with a sister he never knew he had, until the presidential campaign threatens to pull them apart....

Dear Dad: We’ve Been Gay for a Really Long Time

A brother and sister decide to come out to their 95-year-old Mennonite father in a pair of carefully written letters....

When a Couch Is More Than a Couch

For a young mother with terminal cancer, questions about her own mortality merge with decisions about upholstery and cushion width....

From He to She in First Grade

When a 6-year-old boy wants to wear skirts and dresses to elementary school, his parents grapple with the reality that it’s about more than clothes....

When Love Isn’t as Simple as Standing by Your Man

The stresses of a man’s double lung transplant push his marriage to the brink....

The Internet Thinks I’m Still Pregnant

When a box of formula arrives on the doorstep months after a miscarriage, it becomes clear that the virtual world didn’t get the pregnancy update....

Security in a Bright Yellow Suitcase

An overnight bag becomes a token of hope, signifying someone waiting on the other end....

A Single Mom Escapes the Friend Zone, One Non-Date at a Time

With parenthood dampening her romantic options, a woman changes her strategy....

How a Bird Feeder Revived My Marriage

A wife in India finds that feeding birds nourishes her relationship....

The Shirt Stays On

Four open-heart surgeries by age 15 had left a young man’s chest riddled with disfiguring scars. It’s kind of hard to explain that during a hookup....

Words With (I Wish We Were More Than) Friends

While searching online for a local woman to date, a man finds himself falling instead for a Scrabble-playing stranger on the other side of the world....

A Crash Course in Honeymoon Survival

Lost in the Amazon jungle, a newly married couple finds hope in fantasizing about the future (while clad in underwear and headlamps)....

At Sea, and Seeking a Safe Harbor

A woman who escaped the Cambodian genocide as a child hopes her mother can accept her for who she is now....

After a Suicide, a Security Guard for the Heart

A shocking discovery following the loss of a sister becomes an unlikely source of solace....

What Is a Man For?

After a twice-married woman realizes she doesn’t need a man to provide, protect or procreate, she finds herself seriously questioning their purpose....

How the ‘Dining Dead’ Got Talking Again

Passionate conversation brought them together, but after seven years of marriage, they had nothing to say. What to do?...

A Path to Fatherhood, With (Shared) Morning Sickness

Their dreams of foreign adventure shelved by a dire diagnosis, a man and his wife decide, instead, to become parents....

Podcast »

Learning Humanity From Dogs

After his marriage unravels, a man is left with a sleeping bag, two 150-pound pets and a lot to figure out about life and love....

Can Tylenol Help Heal a Broken Heart?

When a neuroscience student gets dumped, she finds comfort (and an over-the-counter remedy) in her knowledge of the physiology of romantic rejection....

Putting Love to the Stress Test

When two self-described tech geeks slide into a relationship that seems too easy, they design a monthlong trial to expose its flaws....

No Sound, No Fury, No Marriage

After her peaceful marriage quietly dissolves, a woman comes to appreciate the vitality of conflict and confrontation....

Single Woman Seeking Manwich

Dating, like insanity, is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different outcome....

Just Don’t Call Me Mom

A gay father who chooses to be a stay-at-home parent has some issues with being celebrated on Mother’s Day....

The Entire Netflix History of Us

When a shared account is all that’s left of a relationship, the connection can both comfort and annoy....

All Twisted Up by Gender Bending

A surprising realization about her ex’s new girlfriend makes a writer question what it means to be a woman....

It’s Been a Long Time Coming

When a gay son brings his boyfriend home to meet his parents, it leads to a misunderstanding that lasts for decades....

When Moving Forward Means Stepping Back

After a casual encounter goes terribly wrong, a young woman retreats from love....

On a Serpentine Road, With the Top Down

A widow contemplates letting go and holding on from behind the wheel of her husband’s vintage convertible....

A Field Guide to Male Intimacy

The son of a gay father struggles with stereotypically masculine conversations and rituals....

A Slow-Motion Demise, a Fast-Forward Repair

As her own marriage crumbles, a sister plays matchmaker for her divorced younger brother....

In the Waiting Room of Estranged Spouses

An ex-soldier, rocked by infidelity, finds hope in a chance meeting with a mother and her young son....

Podcast »

Love and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

For a young woman on the road, motorcycles meant autonomy and then togetherness....

Shedding Skins at the Zoo

A young woman learns about love and bravery from snakes, gorillas and cockroaches....

What Luck Means Now

During a health crisis, a woman gains a new appreciation for the terms “husband” and “wife.”...

In a Foreign Land With Something to Declare

On a trip to Singapore with his girlfriend, a man waffles over romantic commitment....

A Heart Filled With Love, Not Stuff

A daughter struggles to dispense with meaningful possessions after her mother’s death....

To Text or Not to Text: A Dating Conundrum

The promise of a romance was disrupted by a guy who seemed content to let his fingers do the talking....

Platonic, Until Death Do Us Part

How I reached another level of love and respect by allowing myself to be comfortable in a relationship....

The End of Small Talk

Why can’t we replace trivial conversations with meaningful ones, and ask each other profound questions right from the start?...

Sharing a Cab, and My Toes

During a taxi ride home a co-worker makes a surprising request....

Single, and Surrounded by a Wall of Men

At 37, a lawyer half-heartedly attends yet another singles mixer and awaits the dreaded mingling. It was all so deliciously awful, she thought....


One Reason Not to Believe in Santa Claus

A visit from St. Nick nearly turns tragic....

A Culture Gap the Size of an Ocean, Bridged by Facebook

An Italian-American man, 75, leaps across generational and technological chasms to find common ground with a Saudi Muslim woman nearly a half-century younger....

The Heart Said Yes; the Horoscope Said No

Was my fate truly predetermined? The astrologers in India seemed to know pretty well....

Is There a Doctor in the Marriage?

I wanted to support my husband as he pursued his dream career, but I couldn’t help feeling that his work and I were in competition....

When Cupid Is a Prying Journalist

An interviewer encourages a subject not to make the mistake she did and to run to his lost love before it’s too late....

The Five Stages of Ghosting Grief

A woman dives into the confusing vacuum created by an unanswered text....

One Bouquet of Fleeting Beauty, Please

A former florist shares lessons learned from work and a loss of her own....

For a Single Mother, an Alternate Reality

A divorced mother fantasizes about a world in which her daughter has the love of two parents....

A Romance That’s Extra Zesty

What a TED talk about Prego (and consumer choice) taught me about love....

When the Doorman Is Your Main Man

For a single woman in New York and the guy who stands watch in her building, their special bond proves lasting....

Podcast »

On Tinder, Off Sex

Living a life where secondary abstinence isn’t exactly a first choice....

The Original Conscious Uncouplers

A writer senses a change in her divorced parents’ relationship. Her husband points to their wedding day....

Taking a Break for Friendship

A widowed novelist learns that when dating, it pays not to hold a grudge....

Podcast »

From Divorce, a Fractured Beauty

A recently divorced couple manages to have a happy family vacation....

Podcast »


    The “Sponsor” is The New York Times Company, 620 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10018.

    The New York Times Modern Love College Essay Contest (“the Contest”) is a skillbased competition in which participants will compete to be selected as author of the top essay, as selected by Sponsor. The author of the winning entry will be awarded $1,000.00 and his/her top essay will be published in The New York Times Sunday Styles section and on

    Participants will be invited to submit essays, which will be voted on and rated by Sponsor. The Contest begins at 10 AM Eastern on Friday, February 10, 2017 and ends at 11:59 PM Eastern on Sunday, March 19, 2017. The Contest will be conducted in two phases. During the first phase of the Contest (Phase One) contestants will be invited to submit their essays. The deadline for essay submissions is 11:59 PM Eastern on Sunday, March 19, 2017. During the second phase of the Contest (Phase Two) the submissions will be voted on and rated by the Judge. The voting will begin at 10 AM Eastern on Monday, March 20, 2017 and end at 11:59 PM Eastern on Monday, April 18, 2017. Daniel Jones, Editor, Modern Love, will serve as judge (“Judge”). Judge will select the Winner (as defined below) based on talent, writing ability, style, creativity and originality of entry. Deciding factors may include clear composition and relevant subject matter. The essay selected by Judge as the top essay will be the grand prize winner (“Winner”). Whether any essay is eligible at any stage shall be at Sponsor’s sole and absolute discretion at all times, including, without limitation, whether any such essay meets Sponsor’s standards of overall quality, as such quality standards are determined by Sponsor, in its sole and absolute discretion. The name of the winner will be published on or around April 28th, 2017, in The New York Times Sunday Styles section and on Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received.

    As a condition of Contest entry, each Contest Entrant (as defined below) acknowledges and agrees that: (a) Sponsor has access to and/or may create or have created literary, visual and/or other materials, ideas and concepts which may be similar or identical to the Contest Entry Materials in theme and/or other respects; (b) the Contest Entrant will not be entitled to any compensation or other consideration because of the use by Sponsor of any such similar or identical material, ideas and/or concepts; and (c) Sponsor’s use of material containing elements similar to or identical with those contained in the Contest Entry Materials or any essay shall not obligate Sponsor to negotiate with nor entitle Contest Entrant to any compensation or other claim.

    Potential winner will be tallied by or about Monday, April 18, 2017. Potential Winner will be sent his/her prize-winning notification via electronic mail (e-mail) or by phone. A potential Winner has seven (7) days from receipt of notification to claim his/her prize by responding via electronic mail (e-mail) or an alternate Winner will be selected. Noncompliance with these official rules or, if a selected potential Winner cannot be contacted, provides incorrect e-mail or mailing address, is ineligible, fails to claim a prize or if the prize notification or prize is returned as undeliverable, an alternate Winner will be selected. Acceptance of a prize constitutes permission for Sponsor to use Winner's essay, name and likeness for advertising and promotional purposes without compensation, unless otherwise prohibited by law.


    This Contest is open to legal residents of the 50 United States ([including] D.C.) who are current undergraduate students at least 18 years of age and older, residing in the United States and enrolled in an American college or university. Employees and agents of Sponsor, its affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, any other prize sponsor, and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of the Contest and their immediate family members and/or close personal friends and/or those living in the same household of such persons, whether related or not, are not eligible to enter the Contest.

    Employees, officers and directors of Sponsor (including Sponsor’s parent company, The New York Times Company (“NYTCO”)), their respective affiliates, subsidiaries, distributors, advertising, promotion, fulfillment and marketing agencies, their immediate families, (defined as spouse, child, sibling, parent, or grandparent) and those living in their same households are NOT eligible to participate in the Promotion. Each Winner will be required to execute a declaration of eligibility and liability release attesting that the Winner has complied with all the rules and that the Winner releases Sponsor(s) and all prize-supplier companies from all liability for damages or personal injury in connection with the Winner's use of the prize, and a publicity release consenting that the Sponsor and anyone they may authorize may, without compensation, use Winner's name, essay, photograph or other likeness, biographical information and statements concerning the Contest or the Sponsor for purposes of advertising and promotion.


    Any individual wishing to compete in the Contest must submit an essay of no more than 1700 words illustrating the current state of love and relationships, to (participants submitting essays are referred to as “Contest Entrants”). Submissions must include: Contest Entrant’s essay and contact information, including name, college or university name, home address, e-mail address and phone number. Each Contest Entrant may submit one essay during the Contest (an “Essay”). Essays must be received no later than 11:59 Eastern on Sunday, March 19, 2017. Any elements appearing in submitted Essays must be entirely original, created by Contest Entrant, and must not have been altered in any way from the original. Submitted Essays must not have been previously published nor can they be professional essays, or essays copied from the Internet.

    Use of any elements or other materials that are not original, or in the public domain may result in disqualification of Essay in Sponsor’s sole discretion. By entering, Contest Entrants accept and agree to be bound by these Official Rules, including the decisions of the Sponsor, which are final and binding in all respects. Limit one (1) entry per Contest Entrant and per email address. Any individual who attempts to enter, or in the sole discretion of Sponsor is suspected of entering more than once, by any means, including but not limited to submitting multiple Essays, will be disqualified from the Contest. In addition Sponsor reserves the right to reject any submission without explanation.


    As conditions of entry into the Contest, each Contest Entrant:

    • Irrevocably grants to Sponsor and its affiliates, legal representatives, assigns, agents and licensees, the worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, sub licensable, unconditional, perpetual and transferable right and license to copyright (only as applicable), reproduce, encode, store, modify, copy, transmit, publish, post, broadcast, display, edit for length and content, publicly perform, adapt, exhibit and/or otherwise use or reuse (without limitation as to when or to the number of times used), the Contest Entrant’s name, address, image, likeness, statements, biographical material and Contest Entry Materials, including, but not limited to, the Essays contained in any of the above items, as well as any additional photographic images and other materials relating to the Contest Entrant and arising out of his/her participation in this Contest (with or without using the Contest Entrant’s name) (collectively, the “Additional Materials”) (in each case, as submitted or as edited/modified in any way, whether by the Sponsor, its Licensees, or assigns, in the Sponsor’s sole discretion) in any media throughout the world for any purpose, without limitation, and without additional review, compensation, or approval from the Contest Entrant or any other party.
    • Irrevocably grants to Sponsor and its affiliates, legal representatives, assigns, agents and licensees, the worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, sub licensable, unconditional, perpetual and transferable right and license to use the Contest Entry Materials for advertising, promotional or commercial purposes, including without limitation, the right to publicly display, reproduce and distribute the Contest Entry Materials in any media format or medium and through any media channels. Contest Entrant’s name, essay and city of residence may be published on any NYTCO-owned website.
    • Forever waives any rights of privacy, intellectual property rights, and any other legal or moral rights that may preclude Sponsor’s use of the Contest Entrant’s Contest Entry Materials or Additional Materials, or require the Contest Entrant’s permission for Sponsor to use them for promotional purposes, and agrees to never sue or assert any claim against the Sponsor’s use of those Materials.
    • Acknowledges and agrees that: (a) Sponsor has access to and/or may create or have created literary, visual and/or materials, ideas and concepts which may be similar or identical to the Contest Entry Materials in theme and/or other respects; (b) the Contest Entrant will not be entitled to any compensation or other consideration because of the use by Sponsor of any such similar or identical material, ideas and/or concepts; and (c) Sponsor’s use of material containing elements similar to or identical with those contained in the Contest Entry Materials or any Essay shall not obligate Sponsor to negotiate with nor entitle Entrant to any compensation or other claim.
    • Agrees to indemnify and hold the Sponsor and its affiliates, officers, directors, agents, co-branders or other partners, and any of their employees (collectively, the “Promotion Indemnitees”), harmless from any and all claims, damages, expenses, costs (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) and liabilities (including settlements), brought or asserted by any third party against any of the Promotion Indemnitees arising out of or in connection with: (a) any Contest Entry Materials or Additional Materials (including, but not limited to, any and all claims of third parties, whether or not groundless, based on the submission of such other material); (b) any breach by Contest Entrant of any warranty, agreement or representation contained in the Official Rules or terms of service or in any documentation submitted by Contest Entrant; (c) the Contest Entrant’s conduct during and in connection with this Contest, including but not limited to trademark, copyright, or other intellectual property rights, right of publicity, right of privacy or defamation; or (d) the acceptance of any prize. All entries become the property of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned.

    At any time during the Contest, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and unfettered discretion, to disqualify and remove any Essay that it believes does not meet the spirit or requirements of the Official Rules. The decisions of the Sponsor on this and all matter relating to the Contest are final and binding.


    Entries will be rated from March 20, 2017 to April 18, 2017. Daniel Jones, Editor, Modern Love, will serve as judge (“Judge”). Judge will select the Winner based on talent, writing ability, style, creativity and originality of entry. Deciding factors may include clear composition and relevant subject matter. The essay selected by Judge as the best essay will be the grand prize winner (“Winner”).


    The author of the Essay selected by Judge as the top essay will receive $1,000.00 and his/her top essay will be published in The New York Times Sunday Styles section and on Estimated value of first place prize and the total prize package is $1,000.00.

    Four runners-up will also be selected. Select runners-up may also have their essays published in print and/or on

    If Winner is unable to fulfill prize during time period specified, Winner forfeits the prize package. Winner must be 18 years of age or older. Prizes are non-transferable and shall be deemed to have no cash value. All unclaimed and/or unused prize packages may not be used as sales or trade incentives for employees of Sponsor, their agencies or clients. No prize substitution is permitted, except by Sponsor, which reserves the right to substitute any prize of equal or comparable value including cash in the event of prize unavailability. Prizes are non-transferable.

    Prize consists of only the item specifically listed above. No substitution or transfer of prize is permitted, except that Sponsor reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value in the event that an offered prize is unavailable. All federal, state and local taxes on prizes are the sole responsibility of the Winner. Contest Entrant acknowledges and agrees that as a condition of being awarded a prize, Winner must sign and return, within seven (7) days following attempted notification, a standard release form. Noncompliance within this time period may result in disqualification and an alternate Winner may be selected.

    Sponsor and its officers, directors, affiliates, related entities, partners, partnerships, principals, representatives, agents, licensees, sponsors, successors and assigns: (a) make no warranty, guaranty or representation of any kind concerning any prize; (b) disclaim any implied warranty; and (c) are not liable for injury, loss, or damage of any kind resulting from the acceptance or use of any prize, travel related thereto or from participation in this Contest.

    If any activity relating to any prize is canceled or postponed for any reason, the balance of that prize will be awarded in full satisfaction of prize award.

    All taxes, fees and surcharges on prizes won are the sole responsibility of the Winner.


    The Contest is governed by and subject to the laws of the United States. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. Void where prohibited by law. All Winners will receive an IRS 1099 for the value of their prizes. By participating in the Contest and/or accepting any prize, Contest Entrants grant permission to Sponsor and its advertising and promotion agencies to use their name(s), likeness(es), essays and any other material submitted in connection with the Contest for purposes of advertising, publicity and promotion purposes, without further compensation to Contest Entrant, unless prohibited by law. By entering, the Contest Entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor, which are final and binding on all matters relating to the Contest. Sponsor is not responsible for any typographical or other errors in the printing of the offer, administration of the Contest or the announcement of the prizes, or for lost, late, misdirected, damaged, incomplete or illegal entries.

    Sponsor reserves the right at its sole discretion to disqualify the Contest Entry of any individual found to be: (a) tampering or attempting to tamper with the entry process or the operation of the Contest or any Sponsor website; (b) violating the Official Rules; (c) violating the terms of service, conditions of use and/or general rules or guidelines of any Sponsor property or service; or (d) acting in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. Further, Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any entry which, in Sponsor’s sole opinion, is deemed to be offensive, libelous, slanderous, inflammatory, or otherwise inappropriate in any way for this Contest. CAUTION ANY ATTEMPT BY A CONTEST ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY WEBSITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE CONTEST MAY BE A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.


    Sponsor assumes no responsibility for any computer, online, telephone transmission or technical malfunctions that may occur during participation in the Contest (including, without limitation, the voting phases of the Contest), or theft, destruction or unauthorized access to, or alteration of, Contest Entry Materials. Sponsor is not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by website users, Contest Entrants, or any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Contest, or for any technical or human error which may occur in the processing of submissions or votes in the Contest. Sponsor assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation of transmission, failures or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer online systems, servers, providers, computer equipment, software, email, players or browsers, whether on account of technical problems, traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website, or on account of any combination of the foregoing (including but not limited to any such problems which may result in the inability to access the Contest website or to submit Contest Entry Materials in connection with the Contest). Sponsor is not responsible for any injury or damage to participants or to any computer related to or resulting from participating or downloading materials in this Contest. If, for any reason, the Contest is not capable of running as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of Sponsor which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of this Contest, Sponsor reserves the right at its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Contest and select Winners from among that portion of the Contest that has not been compromised, if any. Sponsor reserves the right to cancel this Contest at any time without obligation or prior notice.


    Except where prohibited, as a condition of participating in this Contest, Contest Entrants agree that any and all disputes which cannot be resolved between the parties, claims and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Contest, any prize awarded, or the determination of Winners shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action. Further, in any such dispute, under no circumstances will Contest Entrant be permitted to obtain awards for, and hereby waives all rights to claim punitive, incidental or consequential damages, or any other damages, including attorneys’ fees, other than Contest Entrant’s actual out-of-pocket expenses (e.g. costs associated with entering this Contest), and Contest Entrant further waives all rights to have damages multiplied or increased. In the event of a dispute as to the identity of a Winner based on email address, the winning entry will be declared made by the Authorized Account Holder of the email address submitted at time of entry. For purposes of these Official Rules, “Authorized Account Holder” is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an email address by an Internet access provider, online service provider or other organization (e.g. business, educational, institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted email address.

    All issues and questions regarding rights and obligations of Contest Entrants in connection with this Contest shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of New York, U.S.A., without giving effect to the conflict of laws and rules thereof and any matters or proceedings which are not subject to arbitration as set forth in these Official Rules and/or for entering any judgment on an arbitration award, shall take place in the State of New York.

    The parties waive rights to trial by jury in any action or proceeding instituted in connection with these Official Rules and/or this Contest. Any controversy or claim arising out of or relating to these Official Rules and/or this Contest shall be settled by binding arbitration in accordance with the commercial arbitration rules of the American Arbitration Association. Any such controversy or claim shall be arbitrated on an individual basis, and shall not be consolidated in any arbitration with any claim or controversy of any other party. The arbitration shall be conducted in the State of New York and judgment on the arbitration award may be entered into any court having jurisdiction thereof.


    By entering the Contest, you agree to Sponsor’s use of your personal information, as described in the Sponsor’s Privacy Policy, located at


    For a copy of the Official Rules or the Winners’ names, send a separate, stamped, selfaddressed envelope to:

    The New York Times Modern Love College Essay Contest, 620 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10018.

    Requests received after June 1, 2017 may not be honored.

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