Senior Send-off: Lessons from my friends

Then + Now

This year, I wrote a lot about sex and love. But for my senior sendoff, I’d like to write about something different — friendship. At Brown, I learned all sorts of things. I mastered three languages, grasped how to interpret financial statements, and practiced how to structure a screenplay. Yet, the most significant lessons I will take with me as I leave came neither from books nor professors, but from my friends.

Like many seniors, I think about the future and I’m terrified. I’ll be moving to a big scary city, famous for its entertainment, bagels, and world-class lunatics. If I don’t pay my bills, ResLife won’t be there to keep the heat on. And, hey, what do I do if the toilet gets clogged, anyway? But these worries are just part of the story. Truly, I’m most anxious that I won’t make friends — or at least, that I won’t find friends like the incredible ones I’ve found here. When I move, there will be no ice cream social, no Unit Wars, no superficial forms of forced group bonding. It’s up to me to make friends and that’s pretty freaking scary.

But I remember what Brown has taught me: If I believe I can make friends anywhere I go, then I really will make friends everywhere I go. I had these same doubts when I first moved into Pembroke. But sure enough, I made friends. I truly believe there is something about saying – believing – these words that works. When we know that we are worthy people, others find us irresistibly attractive to befriend. I carried this attitude with me when I studied abroad in France. And if I could successfully make friends with some of the most closed, American-hating-est, generally unenthusiastic populations in the world, then I believe I can make friends anywhere. Continue Reading

Sextion: Using sex to get what you want?

“A wise girl kisses but doesn’t love, listens but doesn’t believe, and leaves before she is left.” -Marylin Monroe

Take a look at the latest cover of Cosmo or any popular women’s magazine and you’re sure to find a catchy title promising secrets about how to gain the upper hand in a relationship via bedroom techniques. The idea that we can control a person by sex — either by “giving it up,” or “limiting it,” or “doing it well” — is a common myth plaguing our pop culture. Heather HotPants is guilty as charged. Growing up, I was told that withholding sex was a sure way to get whatever I wanted from the person I was with. My crazy Great Aunt Ruth would make comments like, “When your Uncle Robbie and I fight, I never apologize,” adding proudly, “I just don’t sleep with him and he always caves in after a few days.” Thanks, Aunt Ruth!

A relationship is a war for control. Or so we’re told. Stand strong, hold your line of defense, you’ll win the fight!  Want nice dinners? Don’t have sex! Want to meet his parents? Don’t have sex! Want to be treated nicely? Hang with his friends? Land a wedding ring? Don’t have sex!

Does this really work? Continue Reading

Sextion: Do looks matter in bed?

“Beauty is…the promise of happiness.”   —Stendhal, De L’amour, On Love (1822)

In a culture that prizes beauty above almost all else, it’s hard to believe that looks don’t matter. The BDH recently ran an op-ed, “Heroin Chic is Back,” detailing how beauty standards are pushing new, dangerously impossible heights. On this campus, especially with the warmer weather, being beautiful and skinny are “in.” But I’m telling you, when it comes to sex and love, beauty simply isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

I recently overheard a conversation at the Ratty on looks. “She’s so beautiful and like, omigod, the nicest person, too!” I thought about that for a moment. Why were these girls holding this beautiful person to any different standards than others? Why is a beauty worn like a badge of entitlement? Does being attractive really matter that much?

Continue Reading

Sexy event you shouldn’t miss: Learn to dirty talk

Excited for Spring Weekend? Neon bras, muscles in tanks, and cheap beer. Sounds like a recipe for some good ol’ fashioned fornication, college style.

Not so fast, eager beaver. Before you put on your booty shorts and party helmet, spend a few hours learning from one of the master sexperts. This week, SHEEC, those fabulous people behind Sex Week, is bringing another sex-licious event to campus to kick off Spring Weekend with a bang.

“Dirty Talk” will feature speaker Ben Privot. Added plus? Sex toy raffle! You could win buzz big!

Barus & Holley 166 @ 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18. See the Facebook page for more info.


Sextion: Sex & the human race: Is there a normal?

Brown students often throw around accusatory labels. Heteronormative, relativist, dogmatic and sexist — the list goes on and on. But perhaps no epithet stings more than the label ethnocentric, an accusation that you evaluate the world based on your own biased cultural values.

As a Brown student, Heather HotPants also reflects on her biases from time to time. And today, Heather has something to admit: she’s been a little ethnocentric.

Writing a sex column can be hard. No two individuals are exactly alike, which is why a lot of us run around for so many years trying to find another mate whose sexual and emotional preferences match our own. With people’s wide range of tastes and desires, it’s tempting for a sex columnist to make the occasional generalization about our species. I’ve tried to avoid making blanket statements like “women are bitches” or “men cheat,” but, nevertheless, the temptation exists.

All I can do is write what I know. Any wisdom I’ve imparted has been shaped by my experiences as a white, privileged, heterosexual female. I’ve talked a lot about being heterosexual and being female, but I haven’t spent much time talking about how the white and privileged parts shape my views of sex and sexuality.

I recently came across a shocking article in Psychology Today, which explains that most of what we know in psychology is based on a very small, special population (hint: you’re a member). This special population, which one review in Cambridge’s Behavior and Brain Sciences calls “WEIRD,” is made up of “Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic” societies. This group makes up a paltry “12% of the world’s population” but can account for “96% of the subjects whose behavior has been reported in top psychological journals,” according to the article. Continue Reading

Sextion: Love Sucks. Why?

It’s springtime at Brown. Birds are a-chirping, flowers are blooming, and underwear strewn frisbees are being tossed on the Main Green. And in spring, we see a lot of students pairing off two by two. It’s the perfect season for love.

Falling in love evokes fun images of joy, laughter, and stylized heart shaped body contortions. (Googling “love” also evokes weird websites of Israelis and Iranians virtually professing love for each other.) But if you’ve ever been in love, you know that falling in love can be a deeply painful and confusing experience, too. Continue Reading