It’s been a rough week.
Late October marks one of the nastiest seasons on campus. We’re used to the fishbowl-like culture around here. However, in these weeks, we face a string of hypercritical, evaluative processes that temporarily turn the usual fishbowl into a shark tank.
We all get slammed by midterms. Do we learn what we should have? Thirty percent of our final grade sure hopes so.
Underclassmen face similar horrors as Screw Season sets in. Who will be requested? Why them and not me? Who’s hot? Who’s not? Whose date is the most disappointed? Ouch, ouch and ouch.
Likewise, upperclassmen have dozens of high-profile employers announcing who makes the cut and who does not. This wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t all see each other at the Omni for six trillion info sessions or in that pre-interview purgatory located to the right of the elevator bank at UCS. We can’t avoid publicizing our attempts — when people see you booking it down Grove in a power suit they’re bound to ask questions — which makes facing the prospect of rejection or the misery of admitting defeat all that much more difficult.
This time of year, we have other people telling us whether or not we’re as smart, talented and desirable as we thought we were. It’s a rough go, and it’s making us all a little whack.
The weather’s not helping, either. WTF, East Coast? If this doesn’t validate Al Gore’s Nobel Prize, I don’t know what does.
Halloween’s not going to be nearly as much fun this year if all the Playboy Bunnies and Slutty “insert-profession-heres” outside of Toad’s aren’t at risk for pneumonia. The giant squirrels are really freaking me out, too: Since it’s not cold enough to hibernate, they just keep eating those damn acorns, and the tree branches creaking under their formidable mass is terrifying.
I argue that this warm spell is making people nuttier (haha squirrel pun!) than ever. Soaking your Scantrons in palm sweat is unhelpful, and panting through the TD Screw or a first-round with JP Morgan isn’t helping anyone get where they want to be.
Between the unseasonable warmth and the midterm pressures, it’s no wonder that sanity is escaping some of us. One person who really seems to have lost their marbles in this weird Metro-New York Indian summer is J.K. Rowling.
This is how I imagine it went down: Carnegie Hall, Friday evening after a long week of touring sultry and classless America. Jo is sitting there, bombarded with questions by freak-show pubescents. She thinks, “What can I do to make the situation more bearable? The people want surprises, but Book Seven’s written and sold. This is a toughie ….
“Oh hell, let’s just make Dumbledore a big old magical ’mo.”
Well, J.K., I don’t know if you’re fo realz, but you’ve shaken me to the core.
I can handle professors, one-time dates and potential employers telling me I’m not quite as valuable a human being as I like to think, but your little stunt has really hurt my self image.
I can’t say for certain that I am the most entertaining companion, the best answerer of multiple-choice exam questions or the most worthy candidate for a full-time job, but I have confidence in one of my abilities: I have incredible Gaydar.
Obviously, my complete failure to pick up on Dumbledore’s sexual orientation is disturbing. So, in a way that I never would to a teacher, interviewer or hook-up, I’m going to make excuses for myself and defend my shortcomings.
Here are the five reasons I never would have known D-dore likes boys:
1. He’s European.
Yes, I’m playing that card. The accent, the cultural encouragement of male grooming rituals, the continent-wide prevalence of dance clubs as a weekend destination for heterosexual males … this is the kind of international curve ball that I should not have been expected to catch. And don’t tell me it’s just the Romance Language set with their tight pants and girly sunglasses — it applies to Brits as well. Two words: David Beckham.
2. He lives in a place that requires robes for all, always.
Part of the man’s job description includes running around in floor-length velvet gowns and bewitching the ceiling of the dining hall to make starscapes and fireworks. Mea culpa — I didn’t want to assume that this was a personal choice.
3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’s Madame Maxime.
Doesn’t Dumbledore mack it with the lady headmaster in this one, or was I just seeing what I want to see? Yes, she’s vaguely mustached, incomprehensible and part-giantess, but I just figured he was beyond superficialities. Either way, that’s a pretty big red herring along his coming-out path.
4. The profound signs we were supposed to have seen.
According to Rowling, Dumbledore’s life-long and sadly unfulfilled love for the misguided Gellert Grindelwald is the “great tragedy of his life,” and somehow we should have seen this lost love as the key to his lonely gay headmaster existence. Sorry, I thought the tragedy of his life was the persistent threat that evil would take over the world he’d worked so hard to make good. Either that or the crooked nose.
5. It’s a children’s book.
Maybe I didn’t catch it because my Gaydar wasn’t even turned on. The Harry Potter books are, after all, written at like a sixth-grade level.
What’s that you say? Spongebob, Tinky Winky, Big Bird and the guy who takes care of The Chipmunks?
Sarah Minkus is wondering about Neville Longbottom.