Love. Sex. Hookups. Makeouts. Relationships. Emotions.
Do we have your attention yet?
Our campus, it seems, is constantly under the microscope for that vague thing we call “hookup culture.” We’re scrutinized by media outlets across the nation for rampant sex, shifty (maybe nonexistent?) morals and little to no experience with matters of the heart. But with all our discourse, only one truth has surfaced: People want different things. Your suitemate wants a consistent friends-with-benefits. You kind-of-maybe-probably want to meet your soulmate, like, tomorrow. And that girl you always pass on Cross Campus just really wants someone to flext with. (WEEKEND, personally, wants a polygamous partnership with Wenzels, peach Andre and Sailor Mars, but that’s another story).
This week, we had a few of our writers pen their takes on romance at Yale. Read on to find out about the ideal long-distance relationship, the inevitable sorrows of freshman love and both the joys and horrors of dating within your college.
Embracing a Lightness of Being
“It’ll be fine. We can do this,” we said as we both left to our respective colleges. But it soon became quite clear that it would not be easy. We were both attending schools where the gay male population virtually outnumbered the straight guys, so being in a committed relationship proved more work than expected.
At Yale, especially, Woads and the various frat parties were virtually handing me guys to hook up with. Considering the fact that one of my good girlfriends goes home with a different guy almost every night, the pressure to add names to my book of conquests was very visceral. And at Yale, every guy you’ll meet has something interesting about him, something that enabled him to get into Yale in the first place. This made it very difficult to not imagine dating someone else.
So after both of us had been in college for a few weeks, we decided it was time to talk. “What are going to do about this?” The most important thing, we decided, was to ensure that if we lasted (or even if we didn’t) that we didn’t feel resentful at having been barred from the full college experience.
We decided to turn our relationship into an open one. We’d met each other in our senior English class and, therefore had both read Milan Kundera’s “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.” We therefore decided to adapt the Rule of Threes for our purposes. Essentially, we determined that both of us were allowed to hook up with the same person either three times in quick succession and then never again, or once every three weeks. This seemed the best way to ensure that we were emotionally secure about our relationship.
So far, it’s been working. We’ve both had our fun, and yet we both have each other to return to. And I’m still confident we can do this.
Contact Joel Abraham at firstname.lastname@example.org .
“You’re a fake and a phoney and I wish I’d never laid eyes on you…” That line might have worked for Sandy in “Grease,” but I doubt it’ll work its magic outside Rydell High. Everyone at Yale seems to be faking it: No one uses the word phoney anymore, and, with everyone knowing everyone, there’s no chance you won’t see that someone again.
But Sandy got her the one that she wanted, so what am I doing wrong?
Well, I’m not living in a 1960s high school musical, and I’ve progressed away from massive skirts and innocent ponytails. There are worse things than those poor fashion choices, but I am sure that I definitely, most certainly, would not reinvent myself for a guy who wore a leather jacket.
Now, I’m the first to scream, “F*** the patriarchy,” and I’ll get in line to take “shots for feminism” as part of a questionable evening, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t dreamt of being hopelessly devoted to someone. I’d take an evening of being disgustingly adorable, mocking a terrible movie with someone special over any an evening spent “soul-searching” on the dance floor of Toad’s on a Wednesday night.
My childhood of romance movies and Jane Austen novels led me to believe that my true love would let me know by telling me he liked me just the way I am after he had picked up the books I would have inevitably dropped (as the geeky girl who would eventually take off her glasses to become instantaneously prettier) walking dreamily out of Sterling Library. I would have him at “Hello” and that would be that.
But when the ability to articulate emotion and “take a hint” seems to be in short supply on this campus, it looks like I’m going to be hopelessly devoted to Netflix for the semester. Nothing phoney about that.
Contact Stephanie Addenbrooke at email@example.com .
Frustrations of an Anonymous Froco
I told you it was a bad idea. Just a few weeks ago, back when Toad’s glittered with promise, rather than the drunken sweat of drunks.
The Master and the Dean told you our college is your home, your closest circle of friends and acquaintances. I told you it can get too close. My children, you were warned.
Stay out of your own residential college. Don’t do it. College-cest is like raising a tiny illegal alligator in a bathtub. It’s fun at the beginning, but goddamn, will it rise from the depths and bite you when you’re not looking. Or show up in your dining hall. Or your library. Or outside your door at 3 a.m., plastered.
The Dean already asked me why the freshmen have this strange new habit of climbing out windows. She says it seems like you’re all avoiding each other. FLEEING THE SCENE OF THE CRIME, MORE LIKELY. You all are like rabbits. Lazy rabbits! You don’t even leave your dorm! THOSE FIRE DOORS CONNECTING THE ENTRYWAYS?! THOSE ARE FOR EMERGENCIES. Your “needs” are NOT EMERGENCIES. You don’t get Yale Alerts saying “Time to Hook Up!”
I worry about you. Seriously. When will you find the time to do your econ pset? Don’t give me this “marry rich” crap. That Kennedy guy is NOT IN OUR COLLEGE.
Besides, I know you aren’t even getting that much action. The candy/condom jar is still full of Trojans and you’re all still knocking on my door asking when I’ll refill it with Snickers. And I had to restrain myself from posting your latest conversational gems of loneliness on Overheard:
“Did you know they have cat wine now?”
“Which part of the cat is fermented … ?”
“No, no, wine your cat can drink too. You know, for when you’re alone with your cat and the Netflix.”
What’s that you say? No Netflix tonight? You’ve made it out of L-Dub? To Durfee?
Those’re the damn neighbors. I’ll be proud of you when you make it off Old Campus.
Contact Elizabeth Miles at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Dating someone in my residential college is a privilege I’m constantly thankful for. Nothing beats stopping by his room after work in the morning and snuggling next to him while he finishes his reading. Or always receiving a good-night-I-love-you text sent from less than 100 meters away. He’s the one who drops off a GHeav sandwich for me when I’m up studying at 2 a.m., the one who consistently appreciates my cringe-worthy humor and ceaseless singing. Indeed, it’s a privilege to have someone who unconditionally forgives you when you’re having a crappy day and offers hugs, tea and advice.
All is dandy except for one thing: graduation. With his graduation next May and two more years at Yale for me, questions we’d rather do without demand to be asked.
Are we staying together? And if so, is he thinking about … possibly marrying me?! Or do we want to date other fish in the sea? Why not break up right now so we can get on it?
It boils down to this: What do we want out of our relationship?
Having a potential expiration date on our relationship makes today feel painfully bittersweet. If his ambitions send him back to California, there will be many miles and people between us. We’ve been conditioned to sacrifice for practicality and ambitions because for most of us, we trust our goals more than we do a romantic relationship that may or may not be the one. Then how do I reconcile all the time and experiences we’ve shared with the possibility of becoming strangers in the future?
A close friend once asked what my greatest human need was. I knew immediately that it was progress. Growth. Perhaps I can tell myself that no matter what happens, we’ve both learned a lot about ourselves. And, maybe more importantly, how to care deeply for another person. Or perhaps I will simply rest content knowing that, when we had it good, we were blissfully, blissfully happy.
Contact Audrey Luo at email@example.com .