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Sex and the Campus: Not on the Hunt… But Trapped in the Savannah

Bowdoin parties are sort of like those nature shows featuring the African savannah.  There are all different types of creatures: hockey boys, lax bros, football guys and of course, the rare and elusive hockey-hanger-oners. Then you have the team player girls, the giggly freshmen, the senior girls, and everyone in between.  The animals gather around the watering hole (otherwise known as a keg of Natty Ice) and scope each other out.  Here’s a gazelle in an Urban Outfitters top, there’s a giraffe in a Red Sox hat.  They make eye contact and move towards each other.  But oh wait! The gazelle actually was moving towards a herd of other gazelles, totally bypassing the giraffe! What the heck, he yells, totally bewildered by her lack of interest.  But that’s the thing that’s hard to believe.  There are those animals in this world that aren’t on the hunt.  Sure, they’re out, but they aren’t looking for anyone to roll in the mud pit with.

And since I am one of those gazelles, I couldn't help but wonder: how can you survive on the savannah if you’re not on the hunt?

I know, it’s a crazy idea.  If you’re out, you want to hook up, right?  That’s certainly what many people assume.  After all, why else would you want to go out and party on weekends? But the truth is, there are people who are at parties who aren’t interested in ‘getting jiggy with it.’ And being in that group can be a little tricky to maneuver.  A friend of mine had to console a very upset bro who claimed that all Bowdoin girls were teases.  Turns out, he had run into a couple of girls who weren’t interested in him (presumably because they had boyfriends) and he was very upset about it.  “Why would they be here? They’re just leading me on!”

This was not the first time we’d encountered these opinions. One time, my friends and I were out last year and a guy started to approach us as we moved our hips like yeah (don’t you miss the days when ‘Party in the USA’ played 5 times at every party!).  “Don’t bother, bro,” said his friend.  “They all have boyfriends.” Guy Number 1 sighed and moved away.  None of us knew either of the guys and we had no idea how they knew that we had boyfriends.  An informal poll conducted by yours truly, though, showed that this attitude is a pervasive one.  I’ve heard a guy say “girls with boyfriends should just stay home.” And that made me question.  How in the world can you participate in the weekend scene if  you aren’t taking any rando home?

One strategy is to act as wingwoman for my friends on the prowl.  That way, they have not one but two pairs of eyes, looking for possible new friends or at least a new dance partner.  I’ve had a pretty low success rate so far (turns out I need to work on my wingwoman skills) but as long as my friends still trust my judgment, I intend to keep practicing. When I’m not being a poor excuse of a wingwoman, I try to stick to dancing with my friends.  You know the girls I mean - that tight circle of a few girls, all working it out but not getting too crazy.  Sometimes a guy will come up to one of us and grab our hips and if the others who can actually see him approve, we’ll grind with him.  If he doesn’t pass the test, we’ll rotate our circle so he can’t make his move.  I never know what to do when guys come up to dance with me.  Should I turn and tell them that I’m not interested? That seems a little aggressive, but dancing with a guy certainly could give them the wrong idea. 

My friend who was in a long distance relationship found that guys would try to make out with her and, finding her face turned away, would make out with her neck.  She would keep her face away and he would keep making out with her neck until eventually, he would give up or she would move away. I tend to continue shaking my groove thing, but without any body contact and if they get too close, I make an excuse to leave.  These are always pretty pathetic, ranging from “I need to find my friends” to “I really want a beer - I’m going to go get one.” * (*Disclaimer: I never actually want a beer.)

None of these solutions are great, though.  The best solution is to somehow give off the “thanks, but no thanks” vibe without putting on your best Little House on the Prairie gear.  Sticking to your friends, brushing off dance partners, and being a little reserved all keep guys from getting the wrong idea but they’re also failsafe ways to have a boring night.  So maybe I should just stay home… It certainly would eliminate the “need for beer” excuses.  It also would isolate me from my friends and would make my idea of a good weekend as one where I watched a whole season of Modern Family AND caught up on Heroes (woo…)  For some, I know that would constitute a great time and given my mood, I might be inclined to agree. 

As you’ve probably surmised, though, I’m a social person and I can’t stand the idea of always staying in just because I’m not prowling.  I really think that there can be more to going out than hooking up (although that can be awesome too).  Who says there aren’t interesting discussions taking place at the watering hole? From judging a neck contest (something I’ve done - I awarded Best in Show, Most Protruding Adam’s Apple, and Most Hairy) to bashing an annoying professor with a random person from your class, there are lots of potential social interactions that take place at parties that involve no physical contact at all.  Whether you’re taken, uninterested in the hook up scene, or having a bit of a dry spell, don’t close your mind to the many things that can happen while out on the savannah!

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