I’m Barack Obama

I was strolling home last Monday through New Haven’s clubbing district. By district, of course, I mean Crown Street. Sweet, sweet Crown Street — that estranged and passive-aggressive marriage between Yale and New Haven.

Yale buildings that no one’s ever been inside are scattered between New Haven landmarks: Alchemy, Oracle, Bar and Gotham Citi. The LGBT Co-op sits nestled between Hula Hank’s with its “all new effen Fridays with $1 drinks,” and Partners with their “non-mainstream entertainment.”

Then there’s Salvation Army, where New Havenites and Yalies shop side by side for GAP cardigans from 1994 and ironic GAP cardigans from 1994, respectively.

Or dear 378 Crown St., where I spent six weeks of my freshman summer. Ten years ago it was inhabited by 20 illegal Mexican restaurant workers, who kept the windows blacked out during the day so the night-shifters could get their rest. Then it was busted by the cops and converted into a comfortable off-campus homestead for four Yale students.

Just to clarify the math: five Mexican illegal immigrants = one Yale student.

Or “Happyland,” 401 Crown St. Ten years ago it was inhabited by many prostitutes who performed $25 services for an $11 cut. There was also a sandwich man in the basement, who provided deli-fresh treats for the hard-working clients. Then it got busted by the cops and converted into a comfortable off-campus homestead for five Yale students.

Just to clarify the math: one Yale student = many prostitutes.

So, as I was walking down Crown Street on a Monday night, I overheard a conversation outside Alchemy. By conversation, I mean a guy yelling.

Guy: Girl, you’re so hot. I want you in my bed. (Girl ignores him.) Come on. Don’t be such a fucking tease. (Girl walks away.) Bitch.

Yalies are better skilled in argumentation than many New Haven locals, but sex is one area where I feel this gift should not be exercised. It’s one thing to persuade someone with your charm, wit, charisma and face, but if you find yourself verbally convincing a person to have sex with you, as a general policy, stop.

I have listed below the top arguments that my friends and I have heard over the years to convince us to have sex. I’ve organized them into three categories: “Pressuring You Into Sex Through Guilt,” “Blatant Lies” and “Not Actually an Argument.”

Pressuring You Into Sex Through Guilt:

1) “Come on, I kicked my roommate out for this.”

2) “I’ve had an erection for a really long time and it’s really uncomfortable.”

3) “I just want to make love to you. With a condom and everything.”

4) “I’ll take you out to breakfast tomorrow morning.”

5) “No? That’s cool. I totally respect your decision. Are you really sure though?”

Blatant Lies:

6) “I don’t usually do this,” which means: “I very often do this.”

7) “You’re a freshman, you have key-card access to so many classrooms on Old Campus. That’ll be a great story to tell your friends later.”

8) “Tomorrow you’ll look back and be really glad we did this.”

9) “I’m Barack Obama.”

Not Actually An Argument:

10) “Why not?”

11) “I just want to be close to you.”

12) “It won’t take that long.” This is an anti-argument.

13) “Fourteen’s not too young.”

14) “You’re so beautiful.” Not an argument, unless people are super turned on by their own face.

15) “You’re not that drunk.”

16) “Oh come on, what’s the worst that could happen?” DISEASE. BABIES. SHAME.

Some guys reject persuasion in favor of the presumption technique.

Boy: Before we do this, I just think you should know that I don’t want a relationship.

Girl: Uh, me neither, but we also aren’t going to have sex.

Or —

(Boy and girl are making out. Semi-clothed.)

Boy: Do you have a condom?

Or —

(Boy and girl are making out. Completely clothed.)

Boy: Do you have a condom?

Or —

(Boy and girl are not making out.)

Boy: Do you have a condom?

Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I feel when two people want to have sex. With each other. Consensually. It’s VERY APPARENT. No presumption or gumption required.

But this often isn’t the case in our dating culture. The norm is that guys are pursuers; they are told to be aggressive and bang tons of chicks. Girls are the pursued; they should play hard-to-get and have sex with maybe five guys over their entire life in long-term committed relationships. This difference is going to have some awkward results.

Girls end up as the gatekeepers, while guys have to knock or push or belligerently bang on the gate. This makes the line between acceptable pursuit and pressure dangerously blurry. You end up with girls consenting because they felt too uncomfortable to say no.

Yes, penis pain is a pretty big problem. But a guy complaining about his penis pain in order to woo a girl into submission? That’s a huge problem.

Comments

  • Tim Pharoah

    I Googled 378 Crown Street, out of nostalgia, and found your post. I lived in that house for 6 weeks while working as a research assistant at Yale in 1968. Me and two Yale law students. I can see the house clearly on Google maps streetview, and it hasn't changed much in 40 years.