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The College Voice

Originally published in the College Voice at Connecticut College.

Maggie Brown was the last girl I ever dated. We parted ways probably later than we should have in the summer of 2006, she off to college four hundred miles away and I a rising high school senior with a serious but unacknowledged interest in men. Some things end exactly when they need to.

Fewer than fifty days from now, college will end for the class of 2011—admittedly with more ceremony than my inevitable split with Maggie. The senior class will be coaxed across stage, handed a diploma, and shoved into the world with the flip of a tassel and a photo op. With just six weeks left until that Sunday morning, our college experience—capital C, capital E—is dwindling. And we are starting to freak.
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Originally published in the College Voice at Connecticut College.

The saying goes that nothing has truly happened until it’s “Facebook official”—relationships, friendships, and, in the inexorable march of social media into every stage of life, engagements, marriages, and birth announcements. All meet first with veracity beneath the comforting, steel blue banner of Facebook. Everything of apparent social note is set to electronic record through photo albums, event pages and status updates. The entire exercise is tantamount to scrap-booking for the Information Age.

In one of its more recent renaissances, Facebook added a link on everyone’s page that reads “View Friendship.” On the other side of this startling hyperlink, years-long real-life friendships of incalculable emotional depth and history can be reduced to a single page of photos and wall posts, common interests and events attended—you know, in case you’d forgotten.
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Originally published in the College Voice at Connecticut College.

“I’m gay.”

It’s difficult to describe the breathless tension that precedes such a simple sentence—a first-person contraction introducing a three-letter word. I, me, myself, am, in a state of being, gay: a homo, a faggot, everything the other boys ever told you you were. To attach such a familiar preposition to something so abstractly dangerous is a terrifying undertaking.

Equally difficult to explain is the journey this statement takes, this I’m gay, from a trembling whisper to your best friend in a parked car to an impassioned shout in a parade, to an off-handed statement of fact to a complete stranger.
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Originally published in the College Voice at Connecticut College.

I don’t care for flying. Short of stopping in the jetway, spread-eagle, like a cat being put into a box, I must admit to at least a few strong reservations. (These are helped little by chatty folks in airport Starbucks airing their dirty “my worst flight” laundry.) From the take-off-your-shoes line at security to the bump of landing gear on asphalt, I would simply rather be elsewhere.

Things start small. At least this is a big plane, I say to myself. It should be a smooth ride. I think to add, JFK, Jr. didn’t die in an Airbus crash.

And the monster reveals itself.
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Originally published in the College Voice at Connecticut College.

Getting old is tough. In the course of a week, college seniors juggle the daunting adulthood of targeting resumes with the cheek-reddening adolescence of waking up on the floor feeling like a crumpled can of Keystone. The apparent normalcy of making an impassioned philosophical argument at 8 PM and shotgunning beer at 11 is unique to the maturity limbo of college life. Charged with spending well the last of the so-called best years of our lives and preparing for what I suppose is merely the rest (“real life”) leaves us bouncing across a confusing range of behavior.

The inescapable quotation marks bookending “real life” and “the real world” highlight our all-too-acknowledged sense that life on campus somehow isn’t quite real. Surreal. Unreal. Fake. In fake world, “Dylan passed out in the hall” and “I don’t know where Emily went with that guy” are just good stories, and public drunkenness is a prerequisite for most evenings.

At Saturday’s senior event—the primary selling point of which was free beer—I stood by the wall with a few friends, staring grimly at my Busch Light. What am I doing here? Everything from the tired, cop-out “80’s” theme to the attending senior class whimpered, Same old, same old. My sophomoric homunculus confirmed, You’re not drunk enough to enjoy this.
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Originally published in the College Voice at Connecticut College.

Anyone in the broad vicinity of the 50 Days dance two weeks ago can attest to the sloppy clutching to which many of us have been reduced. In the final, boozy months of the school year, weekends are filled with college-sponsored alcohol and music—the administration’s effort to make Spring oh-ten unforgettably forgettable.

My intention is not to impugn clutchers and clutchees, assuming said clutching was consensual, but rather to question what it is that drives us to such messy extremes. Even seniors find someone new and unknown to test-drive, long resigned though they are to the impossibility of truly anonymous sex and the woes of friends-with-benefits-ship. One all-too-driven stretch of highway, and yet we somehow find new bumps in the pavement.
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