Just the other day, I was in the Arts and Architecture library when someone seemed to be vaguely disturbed by my paper-ripping, the purpose of which was to supply myself with makeshift bookmarks for a volume of images I was examining.

When this unnamed (and rather unattractive) creature slowly lurked towards me to give me some sort of sneer (I presume), they glanced at my computer screen and noticed that my browser was at Playboy.com, and I was watching the “Ask Hef Anything” question-of-the-week (to which he replies via video stream: it’s utterly brilliant. A weekly must).

Granted, in order to get to the Hugh Hefner question-of-the-week, it is necessary to first log into Playboy.com, which, I admit, is full of beautiful naked girls — who are quite tempting to look at.

I assure you, however, that I was only looking at this week’s rather tame question, “Have you ever photographed a playmate for your magazine?” to which Hef responded from the luxury of a Mansion suite, wearing his famed red silk bathrobe.

I love this man.

Having witnessed my weekly obsession — and not wanting to bite off more than chewable and digestible — said passerby couldn’t really say or do anything (granted, she must be unusually sexually frustrated, and for that I forgive her), except glance quickly away, and walk on by.

I am of the opinion that I can look at whatever I choose to look at in the library. Perhaps a librarian will disagree with my penchant for browsing Hef’s site — at least in a public space — but until the day I get kicked out a library for inappropriate behavior, I think I’m safe.

The question is: which Yale study environments are preferable — most gracious? Most tolerant? Most attractive?

Of course, not everyone here is concerned with being able to look at Playboy.com in a library. Most, however, do evaluate a study location on all fronts, including personability of fellow library patrons, and their collective degree of sexual frustration, prior to settling down. Here are my personal evaluations.

College Libraries

I need the perfect blend of ambient (but not conspicuous) noise, undistracting but engaging surroundings, comfortable air quality, and bright but not blinding light in order to complete work efficiently.

Furthermore, access to nourishment, proximity to home base, and the quality of neighboring laborers all contribute to the perfect work/research/Hef-gazing setting.

College libraries offer almost all of the above: at least in Branford, the air quality is usually comfortable; the surrounding is personable, and undistracting; and the light is decent. Furthermore, it’s always open: a whopping plus.

I have one huge problem with college libraries, though — or at least Branford’s quasi-double-leveled library: the people. The last time I was in the Branford library, I encountered a frustrating noise situation. That is, I had no problem with students talking about whatever embarrassing and inevitably overheard emotions and flirtations out loud — because I am clever enough to bring my sound-isolating headphones with me. However, these students often bother other, less clever students, who subsequently hush their talkative counterparts, who in turn refuse to simply appease everyone by stopping, which inevitably leads to louder shushes, and eventual yelling. It’s all pretty counter-productive.

I could simply sit back and let them hush each other to their hearts’ content, but in my shyness, I have to flee, fearful that the two sides could break out into physical contact. It is out of embarrassment that I cannot tolerate college libraries.

College Computing Clusters

Computing clusters have the potential to be most excellent work settings: they are well-lit, often quiet, close to vending machines, and visitors usually come unaccompanied (nobody wants to flirt in a computing cluster). In fact, I once called my friendly college computing cluster my workbase.

Unfortunately — by no fault of the Computing Assistants — the clusters are ransacked by the odd Yale idiot (who must be avoided at all costs), and are subsequently unequipped for student use. For example, I don’t like going to the Branford computing cluster anymore, ever since a very mean boy told me to fucking write him a fucking email if I had fucking problems with the fact that he wanted to fucking use all of the fucking paper in the printer.


Sterling Memorial Library

Ah, SML. The queen of all libraries with pockets in which to retreat to work, play, and browse incessantly. The nest of little study rooms, positioned conveniently above Machine City, king of all Yale vending machine sites. I love you, SML.

You, too, Toblerone bars in Machine City vending apparatuses.

Unfortunately, though, there are a few problems with SML: townies who ask you how to print, how to log on, and how to type; the inevitable run-ins with old friends who want to distract you with petty and meaningless conversation; and the fact that it closes before I even have time to arrive. Case closed.

After being judged in the A&A by ugly people, facing the threat of physical violence at college libraries, suffering verbal abuse at the clusters, and getting locked out of SML, I am faced with two options. I can either retreat to my room, where I would simply get nothing done (must do laundry, must Swiffer, must chat, must distract those in College Library); or I can retreat to my boyfriend’s room, where lack of access to hygienic lavatories and other distractions (sex) abound.

I choose the latter — because having sex is better than being judged by those who don’t get laid at all.

S. Zelda Roland isn’t into geriatric men, but loves the wrinkles.