As I soaked up the sun on the Brunswick quad this past Ivies Weekend, sipping a frosty brew and playing a lively game of what I will call, "Wed, Bed, or Run Over with a Sled" for decency's sake, I took pause for a moment to soak up a bit of the social scene instead. (Except I didn't so much "pause" the sipping of the frosty brew as much as I aggressively chugged it and then unnecessarily slammed the empty can to the ground. But, I digress.) As I looked around at my fellow Bowdoin students, I suddenly realized why I came to this school, and believe it or not, it had nothing to do with the school- "sanctioned" mid-day binge drinking. As lame as it sounds, I looked around and saw a bunch of friends.
I am proud to say that I, Sarah Genevieve Riley, a soon-to-be graduating senior, have never been in a fight. That is, until last weekend when I was drawn into a particularly brutal round of verbal fisticuffs with a fellow Bowdoin student who shall remain nameless because I don't know his name. Now, my point in mentioning this little t?te-à-t?te is not to place blame, as both of us said things we shouldn't have. No, I am telling you about this verbal mudslinging because it should not be happening at a school like Bowdoin.
While trying to stay afloat on our life-size inflatable Shamu in the middle of the Caribbean Sea this past spring break, a few of my friends and I stumbled upon the question of "game," as in who had it and who didn't. Both yours truly and my friend, who we will call "Ellen Grenley" for the sake of her privacy, were accused of having, and I quote "mad game," due in most part to an impromptu spin-the-bottle game that took place on the deck of the local dive bar the night before. This proclamation immediately spawned a debate of what exactly constituted game, and subsequently, a rather heated discussion of whether or not either of us actually possessed such a thing.
Whenever my parents discover that I haven't heard about some "big" current event, such as, oh I don't know, quail hunts, or the fact that Elton John is gay, they blame it on "the Bowdoin Bubble." And of course I always roll my eyes and then promptly watch Headline News for the next 72 hours straight, trying to catch up on everything I missed while I was immersed in "Grey's Anatomy," "The Gauntlet II," and "That 70's Show" reruns. But what my parents don't seem to realize is that all that reality TV, all those vintage "Sex and the City" episodes, and certainly Doctor McDreamy, have taught me something very important about the Bowdoin Bubble: It really does exist. Though perhaps not in the way my parents think.
Alright, fine. I'll admit it. Facebook defines my life. It tells me who I'm friends with, what my friends think about me, who I'm dating and who I have a crush on, what I like and dislike, and even what I look like when I'm not actively trying to look unattractive, as I am in every single picture I post of myself. And I would venture to guess that I am not the only one who feels this way, especially when it comes to relationships.
It's time to go back to school?back to below-freezing temperatures in the middle of April and your horrible roommate who "accidentally" peed on your desk chair at the end of last semester. While winter in Maine can be a difficult time in any Bowdoin student's year, it can be that much worse when you have to leave your significant other behind. Whether he's your high school sweetheart or you met her on your abroad program, that last kiss goodbye is never easy.
With a stretch and a yawn, your eyes flutter open. You pull your arm out from underneath your pillow to check the time, and you are momentarily startled when your "pillow" moans and rolls over. Suddenly, memories start flooding back into your hangover-addled brain: the keg stands and black-out punch, the sketchy dance room in the Crack House basement...and now this stranger lying next to you, whose drunken snoring kept you from fully sleeping off that last Jaeger bomb. What do you do? Where are your pants? What is this person's name? These are all good questions that I'm going to help you answer.
The Carpenters have always told us that "breaking up is hard to do." And for anyone who has ever dumped someone, or been dumped, or has been friends with someone who has been dumped, you know just how true those lyrics can be. The end of a relationship, regardless of the length or intensity of emotion involved, is always a tragedy on some level. You no longer have someone to quote poetry to in your AIM profile, and your extra long twin bed feels empty. You miss his smile, or her eyes, and you really miss getting a piece of him or her on a regular basis. The sun stops shining, the birds stop chirping, and you begin to realize how small a Chamberlain double actually is now that you're sleeping there every single night.
You?ve done everything right. You?ve made the initial contact, and your crush is interested and intrigued, but not afraid that you will show up outside his window at 3 a.m. with tear-streaked cheeks and an oversized stereo above your head blasting ?In Your Eyes.?
We have an untapped resource among us. I know, it's amazing. I'm shocked myself. After three years here, I thought I had seen everything there was to see, done everything there was to do, and certainly conceived of every possible coupling imaginable. I was wrong. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the senior girl and the first-year boy.
We've all done it. Boy, girl, firstyear, senior, every single one of us has, at some point in our lives, stalked an object of our affection. I use the word "stalk" in this article to describe all the things we do as a result of our innate and uncontrollable desire to be near someone we really, really like. Whether it is in the library or at a meal, online, or in the union, we have all stalled or dawdled, double-clicked or feigned interest in the latest piece of useless campus-wide mail in order to merely catch a glimpse of our crush. Bowdoin is an environment that is extremely conducive to "stalking." We are a small, close-knit community where everybody knows your name. And your face. And who you like and who likes you and who you liked very publicly outside Harpswell Apartments at 1 a.m. last Saturday night.
On my very first day at Bowdoin, snuggled in to my sleeping bag at Farley Field House, I was given some insight that has shaped my entire Bowdoin career. When asked what the dating scene was like at Bowdoin, my female trip leader gave a sarcastic, mildly unattractive snort and answered, "What dating scene?" She then described the two kinds of people on this campus: the serial bed hoppers and the couples who fell in love over a bag of trail mix as soon as their van to Mt. Katahdin left the parking lot. Indeed, it seemed that at Bowdoin, your only choices were either a never-ending cycle of sweaty dances in poorly lit basements and unfamiliar futons, or a never-ending relationship. Period.
So that's that. It's over. After a year, or a month, or an uncomfortable plate of scrambled eggs at Sunday brunch, you and your significant other have called it quits. Maybe you ended it, maybe your beloved called it off, or maybe the magic you two created beneath spilt beer and a solitary disco ball at the pub last night evaporated in the harsh, rainbow glare of Thorne.