February 21, 2003

Dating I: Dress well to seduce

When Cher Horowitz of Clueless uttered the infamous words "Searching for a boy in...school is like searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie," she was obviously speaking in reference to the U of C...or was she?

In explaining their single status or their sexual inactivity ever since they donned a U of C emblem, a fellow student can be overheard cushioning this reluctant disclosure with "Well, I'm at the U of C; after graduation everything will be different and I'll be as 'active' as Trishelle on The Real World." Does this spiel sound familiar? Has this phrase more or less come out of your mouth, substituting Tara Reid for Trishelle? Have we all been so brainwashed that we believe and embrace U of C folklore that once we accept admission into the College we commit ourselves to a four-year period of celibacy and dysfunctional relationships?

Recently it dawned on me that my life has become a poor man's "Cathy" comic strip. I wake up after a few pitiless hours of sleep after slamming my fist down on the snooze button at least 10 times, walk to the bathroom where I non-erotically remove my clothes to take a shower--not looking in the mirror, as caffeine and deep fried dining hall food have adverse effects on one's body. The process of choosing what to wear to class does not revolve around what will catch my oddly attractive married professor's attention, but on what will feel comfortable after six hours at the Reg. Note: I believe there to be something inherently wrong with a 20-year-old male not trying to seduce his professor. Gone are the days of strutting down the quads in my most controversial outfit, humming Abba's "Dancing Queen." Now I sociopathically stagger down the quads, or on days where I have overdosed on baked goods I roll down the quads, and go over feminist Marxism in my head. At this point many of you are probably glad that you haven't met me yet, but honestly, does this physical and psychological metamorphosis resonate with anyone?

The origin of this phenomenon cannot be nonchalantly rationalized by attributing it to the cosmos, which just happens to have it in for the U of C student body. I believe that the majority of the student body fetishizes and romanticizes this notion of the asexual lock-jawed psuedointellectual. Students proudly and self-depreciatingly wear U of C shirts that on the back state "Where fun comes to die" and after the end of a friend's rant usually reply "Well, we're at the U of C" as if this succinctly explains the romantic, social, and academic state of the entire diverse student body. If this theory is to remain hegemonic in campus discourse, then its legitimacy must be tested for the sake of future incoming classes and ourselves. Therefore I propose three exercises for all of us to engage in. If results do not manifest within a week of starting this strenuous exercise regime--the apple of your eye remaining impervious to your subtle advances--then the myth that U of C squashes all sexual impulses as effectively as an image of Anna Nicole doing squat thrusts must be true.

1. To borrow once again from my favorite cinematic high school fashionista Cher, "Sometimes you have to show a little skin. This reminds boys [and girls] of being naked, and then they think of sex!" Granted we are currently enduring the winter months of Chicago, but that is no excuse for us to cover up our bodies in drab, amorphous J.Crew peacoats. Remember, respiratory tract infection is treatable, but singlehood can be chronic.

2. After completion of the first exercise the chances are high that you will have acquired some sort of debilitating illness causing severe weight loss and phlegm buildup. Use these unfairly stigmatized symptoms to your advantage. The weight-loss speaks for itself, but the phlegm lodged in your throat will allow you to achieve a sexy husky voice รก la Kathleen Turner, making the stalest pieces of dialogue like, "The acne on my backside is finally clearing up," or "You cocky bastard," sound like an unequivocal sexual invite.

3. The final, most crucial step. After investing all this time in cultivating the desirable you, why not look outside yourself and realize that everyone is just as afraid as you are in taking this emotional leap. Why else would they be taking extreme measures to cushion potential heartbreak and humiliation? Granted, hookups, relationships, and singlehood are three distinct domains, but that is not to say that they do not overlap and that emotion doesn't pervade each of them. Regardless of which domain you belong in, you made the choice to be there. The causation and the solution lay within you.