There is no more convincing argument for abstinence than a few hours spent with the first graders of Fairfield County.
I recently escaped the Yale Bubble for “the Country” (aka Westport) to go to my cousin’s sixth birthday party. While he himself is one of the most adorable children on the planet (his younger sister being the other), his cohorts make me want to focus on my career and decorate all future apartments with lots of sharp corners and white carpets.
When I took Porn in the Morn, I thought that a 20-foot tall pubic louse PowerPointed onto the screen of SSS 114 was scary stuff. Like most of the people in the room, my legs remained tightly crossed through all of the STD lectures. But, as it turns out, there are much more terrifying hazards of sex.
These little kids aren’t what I remember little kids being like when I was one. These ones already have nicer laptops, more active social lives and significantly more sophisticated sushi preferences than I do now. Abandoned by their parents to party with abandon, hopped up on Darth Vader cupcakes and incandescent green “Yoda Soda,” they were simply monstrous. Mobs are scary, even when they’re 42 inches tall.
Still, like most of my off-campus ventures, the birthday party was a valuable learning experience. As my cousin (the birthday boy’s mother) and I watched three dozen of the demon children beat her husband with inflatable red light sabers, she enlightened me. While her husband — 6’4” and wearing a Jedi Master suit — fell to the ground in a swarm of pre-literate Paduan brutality, she shook her head fondly, adjusted her grip on the camcorder and said, “You know, he really made it worth dating all the freaks and the assholes.”
For a lot of women in their 20s, a lot of the “eligible” men do seem to come from the Freak and Asshole pool. I myself have recently reignited my relationship with one of these partners.
Disclaimer: I am absolutely not talking about my long-suffering (by definition, really) boyfriend. He is neither freak nor asshole. He is, however, far away. And it’s almost time for finals. It’s high-stress season; a girl needs catharsis. So, against my better judgment, I’ve let myself be taken in — yet again — by that infamous tease, Reading Week.
I heard about Reading Week long before our first encounter. What a reputation! People told me how much fun I’d have, how Reading Week would ease the pain of my months of hard work and midterms and lecture attendance. Reading Week was THAT GOOD.
Even my friends from other schools had heard the rumors. Was Reading Week real? Was he really a Week (people are whores for legacy)? They were so jealous.
I got excited. Reading Week was going to be mine. I had energy, manageable academic responsibilities, and a wonderful social circle extending invitation upon invitation for me and Reading Week. I would rock Reading Week harder than anyone before me.
My first brush with Reading Week was, like so many dangerous first-year experiences, drunk and debaucherous. Reading Week came and went in a blur, leaving me feeling used and alone. Reading Week didn’t care about me or my success in school.
After half a dozen encounters, I know that Reading Week is both a freak and an asshole.
He’s a freak because he leads you on. Reading Week gets off on making you think you’ll go a lot farther than you will. By the time finals roll around, you won’t need or desire anything more. It’s a weeks-long seduction. Intrigued by his promises, you started the flirtation with Reading Week. You built up the big event in your mind; fantasized about the post-Reading Week bliss he described. Every time I let Reading Week back into my life, I think we’ll go all the way. But he always stops me around First Base; I’m lucky if I get through assigned readings. He never delivers.
Reading Week, furthermore, has some deep-seated need to ruin your other relationships. His schedule interrupts the routines you’ve established. Reading Week makes you start refusing invitations to friends’ parties and concerts because you’ve waited too long to be with him. Now that Reading Week’s here, you spend hours holed up in coffee shops and libraries. Your sleep schedule is out of whack. You start missing meals and compensating with late-night eating binges. You spend the money you set aside for next semester’s books on Starbucks, movie rentals, manicures and alcohol, in fruitless attempts to get in the mood that Reading Week says you should be in.
What’s more, Reading Week’s a passive-aggressive asshole. He wonders, innocently, why you’re sleeping so much more than before but accomplishing so much less. He makes you feel like you’re not good enough. It would be nice, he suggests, if you used all this extra time without classes to shower, work out and/or make yourself presentable. Reading Week would never make these demands explicit, because that’s not his style. He just highlights your inadequacy, makes you think you don’t deserve him.
As I feel myself about to fall prey to Reading Week’s charms once again, I know it’s time to take action. I’ve lost sleep and gained weight over Reading Week. I’ve shed tears and damaged friendships. It’s time to strike back. If I had a light saber, I’d use it.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me seven times, and I’m going back to Chicago to complete my final assignments.
Plus, there’s a hotter prospect on my horizon. Tell me, have you heard anything about Senior Week?
Sarah Minkus is still getting over that douche Camp Yale.