How to Cuff the Hottie You Keep Seeing Around Campus

Look, I get it.

You’re hopelessly, irrevocably in love. Okay, sure, you’ve never actually spoken to them ─ that’s only a minor issue. After all, you’ve certainly seen them enough times to recognize the back of their head at a dimly-lit party, which is its own form of intimacy. At the end of the day, you know that your vibes align, you just need to figure out how to make the first move, and I’m here to help.

 

  1.       Do not, under any circumstances, try to speak to them.

At first glance, talking to the object of your affection might seem like a great idea. A simple self-introduction, a fact that relates the two of you (“Haven’t I seen you in my Beyonce: Herstory seminar?”), and a charming smile ─ what could go wrong? Everything. Everything could go wrong. Speaking to people needlessly puts you in a position of vulnerability. Opening yourself up to human connection at the risk of getting hurt? No, thank you. Instead, try silently staring at them from across the party. They’ll be sure to notice you, and they might even mention you to their friends!

 

  1.       Write a BBA about them.

Ah yes, the much more approachable relative of talking to your crush ─ writing them anonymous love letters. Though BBA (Brown Bears Admirers) has been defunct for a few months, rest easy knowing that BBA (Blueno Bears Admirers) provides a haven for all to deluge their lovestruck secrets. Though the seismic rebranding of BBA to BBA has caused a few followers to be lost in the process, some Brunonian is sure to tag your sweet. You can spend the rest of your day knowing that you’ve uplifted them and proceed to do absolutely nothing more. After all, you wrote the BBA. They should sense who you are and ask you on a date, not the other way around.

 

  1.       Make note of the places they frequent, and make sure that you’re there. Always.

Running into people is much less coincidental then you might have been led to believe. When it comes to your future spouse, it doesn’t make much sense to leave something so important up to cosmic luck. So, take your future into your own hands. Make a mental note of where you see them, whether that be local cafes, eateries, or libraries. Take a week of your time to really get acquainted with your lover’s second homes, spending at least seven hours in each place. The more time you spend sitting and waiting, the higher your chances of making awkward eye contact with your sweetheart when they come in. Scientific studies have shown that familiarity leads to love, so just make sure that you’re always within eyesight. They’ll have to say something at some point, even if they’re just asking to take the chair across from you.  

 

  1.       Tell all your friends about them in the hope that someone sets you two up.

Let’s be honest, “They were wearing a green sweater on Friday” is probably not a good enough description for your friends to immediately recognize your crush. However, nearly everyone is a Facebook Sherlock these days. I’m sure with a little determination and a hearty helping of elbow grease, your compatriots can make it happen. After all, what are best friends, casual friends, and distant acquaintances for? With Brown’s tight-knit and — at times — too small community, someone is sure to be able to link up the two of you. After that, it’s smooth sailing as your friend will no doubt arrange an elaborate blind date for the two of you.

 

  1.       Be yourself, if that’s what they’re into.

Imagine this ─ it’s a beautiful, crisp autumn day and you’ve done the unthinkable, you’ve introduced yourself to someone who was once just a beautiful stranger. Huzzah! You’ve thrown the hook, but how do you reel them in? The question might seem daunting, but the answer is simple: just be yourself, as long as they’re into that. You’re more than welcome to have your own hobbies, passions…  and interests on your own time, but if they’re not what your darling is interested in ─ drop your convictions immediately. A careful perusal of their Facebook and Instagram is sure to tell you what shows you should like, what foods you should be obsessed with, and the friend group that you should assimilate into. After initially drawing them in with your commonalities, you might even be able to slip in some of your real interests ─ just make sure not to do it too quickly.

 


BBA: Behind Blueno’s Admins, EXCLUSIVE Interview

       This Sunday, I had the distinct honor of interviewing some of Brown’s most renowned: the Moderators of the Blueno Bears Admirers page. To maintain their anonymity, their names will not be mentioned during the course of the interview transcript. They will be referred to as Moderators 1 and 2 (numbers assigned by alphabetical order.)

This interview has been edited for clarity.

 

Why keep your identities a secret?

Moderator 2: To maintain the mystique of Blueno. We didn’t invent Blueno, and it’s not our symbol to define; we want people to have their own ideas of what Blueno means to them. It’s also easier to pour your heart out to a lovable, loving teddy bear instead of being self-conscious about the admins who run the page. And it’s harder to send us personalized hate mail when you don’t know who we are.

Moderator 1: On BBA, every post is anonymous, so to keep in style, we should be anonymous, too. We want to be cognizant that people of different backgrounds and identities can project themselves onto Blueno, and we don’t want to stand in front of that. We don’t want the dynamic to be swayed or changed by their perception of the people fronting everything, so we think we’ll stay behind the bear for now.

 

What made you decide to start Blueno?

Moderator 1: Because we’re a bunch of narcissists! Just kidding, there are other reasons, too. Our predecessor Brown Bears Admirers was like a little bit of magic on campus. It made people really happy. It was an important part of campus culture. There’s definitely still a need for that kind of a platform on campus. I had never received a BBA post about me, and I really wanted one, so I was like, hey guys, let’s make a platform for this.

Moderator 2: I really missed BBA after it disappeared in August. I find other online communities at Brown so interesting. They don’t just exist in isolation; people talk about them, and they shape the discourse on campus. They’re just Facebook pages, sure, but they can also legitimately affect people’s lives in a very tangible way. And of course, they’re always making people’s days a little brighter.

 

How did you start Blueno, and what was the process like?

Moderator 1: We’d been toying with the idea for a while. When Brown Bears Admirers disappeared, everyone on campus was like, “Where’d they go?” Including me. I wanted admiration posts. So, I started prototyping how people would submit things, the moderation process, all that. I ended up following the same tried-and-true Brown Bears Admirers model, primarily built on Google Forms, with a bunch of extra formulas and automation built into Google Sheets. I finished developing it around August, and our first post was on September 9 by (Moderator 2).

Moderator 2: I thought that was you!?

Moderator 1: No, I’m sure it was you.

Moderator 2: I remember the Blueno the Bear page already existed for years; you (Moderator 1) reached out to whoever ran it.

Moderator 1: Yeah, it was owned by a Brown student who graduated a few years ago. I decided to build the secret admirers page from the perspective of Blueno because I thought it would be cool. The Brown alum was down. I pulled the original BBA icon into Illustrator and Photoshop to make it look like Blueno, sort of a visual parody of the original, to communicate that we’re building from the original spirit of BBA.

 

What about the name?

Moderator 2: The page was initially just Blueno the Bear. But people referred to it as BBA, because it was easier and people knew that it meant the admirers page. So we changed the name to Blueno Bears Admirers.

 

What are some issues you face as moderators? What do you do with  controversial content? Do you ever receive any?

Moderator 1: We get controversial content every day. We have like hundreds, thousands of submissions, but we read and discuss every single one amongst the board of 8 undergraduate students. We spend so much time discussing and editorializing what we should post, and what we shouldn’t. The group chat is always rife with debate. Is this post being sex positive, or is it making an individual uncomfortable? Is this post celebrating an identity, or demeaning it?

Moderator 2: The point is, there’s a ton of social factors in play with everything we post—how does this post affect members of the community? If we censor it, how does that affect people with this identity?

Moderator 1: There’s this fascinating phenomenon where people dissociated from their own names and responsibilities suddenly talk about ethical matters they wouldn’t say out loud. For example, we had that recent controversy with TAs and RPLs “admiring” their students. A lot of people presume that it’s completely acceptable to be attracted to their students and post about it. This is ethically wrong, a potential abuse of power dynamics, and not to mention it directly violates Title IX. We instituted a rule against RPLs and TAs posting about their students in a sexual or romantic way since it was making people—myself especially—feel uncomfortable and unsafe. We got a really surprising amount of backlash for instituting that rule.

Moderator 2: We have some other rules that we’ve developed over time, for example, that it’s not okay to out people’s sexuality or gender without their explicit consent. We have a group chat where we check in five, ten times a day. So, yeah, we sometimes approve discourse-centric posts if they could lead to genuine productive conversations. We don’t want to silence discourse. The primary goal is to be a supportive, positive community. In terms of the discourse we choose to approve, there are a lot of negative outlooks. Sometimes we comment on posts right after we publish them, to directly respond to the post, set guidelines for the future, or to point toward helpful resources.

 

What do you do if you find a submission is addressed to you?

Moderator 1: I think I react the same way anyone else would. You feel warm and fuzzy, you smile a lot to yourself, then you message your friends, “Did you see this?” and “Who did this?” The only difference between my reaction and yours is that I then perform the narcissistic act of copying and pasting the post onto the page for all to see. Then there’s also the attacks. We censor attacks on other people, we don’t want people to feel hurt from this page. But some posts target us. We’re the only ones who have to see any hateful posts, but that’s sort of a negativity we set ourselves up for.

 

What are some perks of being a BBA moderator?

Moderator 2: Getting to see all the piping hot tea on campus first!

Moderator 1: You know how you open Facebook, and check if BBA updated? We open up a Google Sheet and see posts the second people click Submit. (To Moderator 2) Should I show her?

Moderator 2: Yeah, I think it’d be cool.

(Here, Moderator 1 demonstrated by posting a pending submission. The intake form was meticulously organised and color-coded.)

Moderator 1: We’re absolutely up to date with the drama on campus. I get to promote the voices of underrepresented identities on campus, especially narratives around LGBTQ people, people of colour – discourse people might shy away from if their names were attached to them.

 

When we messaged the original BBA, they said they’re “in transition.” Are they your competition? If so, what will you do when/if they resurface?

Moderator 1: It would be great if they came back. If people wanted to migrate back to them, that’s great! We can’t change that. I’d probably go back to using them. As long as there’s a social platform for positive, anonymous voices on campus, moderated in a socially responsible way, I’m happy. Until then, we’re going to keep having fun.

Moderator 2: We messaged them during the summer and asked if they wanted any help. They said they were “in transition and working on it”. They put out one round of posts in August, then nothing. Then we started Blueno to fill the void and we’ve been able to be much more active. So I’m not holding my breath.

 

What are Blueno’s opinions about Rodent versus Ratty?

Moderator 1: Blueno prefers The Ratty, but he forgives anyone who calls it the “Rodent” if—

Moderator 2: If they leave him a present in mailbox number **** (Moderator 2’s mailbox number censored for anonymity)

 

Does Blueno have any admirers? Who would he admire if he could?

Moderator 1: Everyone knows Blueno has a crush on the Nelson bear. Who doesn’t. He’s buff as hell.

Moderator 2: How could he not? There’s also a torrid past between Blueno and the rock tree, but why bring up history?

Moderator 1: And Marcus Aurelius on equestrian has been eyeing Blueno for quite some time, but who knows when he’ll make a move.

 

What does Blueno mean to you?

Moderator 2: Well, there was initially a lot of controversy about the statue, his funding.  And obviously, lots of schools have a bear as their mascot. But Blueno is his own thing, his own icon, he’s not just a generic teddy bear. Blueno is unique to Brown, Blueno is blue—

Moderator 1: Blueno is blue? Hot-take.

Moderator 2: Thank you. He’s quirky, a little weird, but we still love him. That says a lot about the Brown community. He’s gonna leave eventually,  and I’m sad about that. But Blueno’s legacy at Brown will be here a long time even after he’s gone – ideally, with Blueno Bears Admirers sticking around as long as people want it. Blueno sort of gives us a new life, especially if you consider student activities in his hollow interior.

Moderator 1: If BBA was responsible for your relationship, you’re welcome. If you get married to someone you found on BBA, you are contractually obliged to fly us out to your wedding. (Reporter’s note: The Blog was unable to verify this claim.)

Moderator 2: I think it’s fun how different Blueno is from the statue – he doesn’t stand for the same ideals, and he’s a fun piece of campus culture.

Moderator 1: It’s very representative of our generation, that we’re able to make light of and personify big, unchangeable things. He’s become a part of campus culture. We’ve had some amazing artwork come in from illustrators on College Hill; we had one for National Coming Out Day and one for Halloween—shoutout to Felix Summ and Julia Chu! The world seems really bleak right now, and I think we need more fun, happy things on campus. Untitled Lamp/Bear is going away in a few years, but we’re all creating Blueno, and there’s some permanence in that.


“Write Drunk, Edit Sober”: A guide to final papers and assignments

With finals upon us, I have no doubt that many of you, like me, have classes that require final papers. They tend to loom over your week, your every waking moment dogged by the thought that you could be making some progress on an essay. At least with in-class finals you can tell yourself you’ve done all the studying that will be beneficial. A paper is in the back of your mind right up to the moment you pass the minimum page threshold, and even then you have to worry about editing. Under this level of stress, you might find yourself with some stubborn writer’s block. Fortunately, you can get around this in much the same way you get around stalled conversations: alcohol. Let your mind run free to get a draft done, then return at a later date to look upon your work and marvel at your typos. Depending on the assignment and the subject, you can indulge yourself with varying levels of inebriation. Let’s get down to business.

Books

Hm, it seems I’ve stored my books beneath my booze. There’s only one way out of this.

Problem Set

Drink: Coke Zero

Drunkenness: You on your tenth birthday

This isn’t technically a final paper, but it is a take-home assignment that you have to write things on, so I’ll say it counts. Anyway, I hate to be the fun police here, but I can’t imagine successfully doing math whilst inebriated. If you can navigate the sea of numbers and party at the same time, then go for it, you beautiful lunatic.

Research Paper

Drink: Beer

Drunkenness: Out to dinner with close friends

Please note that I’m assuming you’ve already gathered the necessary information and references on which you’re basing the paper. If all you’ve got is a vague idea about what you want the subject to be, I’d suggest leaving the libations on hold.

A research paper is less about inspiration than precision. You don’t need to stir the reader’s heart with stunningly beautiful prose; you just have to make sure your arguments are concise and airtight. Drinking too much will work against this, so get a good beer and use it more to relax and enjoy the process of writing than to inspire the writing itself. If your only experience drinking beer before now is through funnels or Natty Light cans, you’ll want to slow down your pace. You can’t afford to black out burn out too early. Research papers are frequently 10 to 15 pages in length, if not more. Take your time.

Continue Reading


Blogify: What We Write To

Ever get writer’s block? So do we–like, all the time. To help get you over the hump, here’s a playlist with BlogDH’s favorite songs to write to, which we keep distinctly separate from what we listen to when we study. Writing is a sacred act: we use music to enhance those divine moments with our Moleskins. While studying, on the other hand, we use music to pretend we’re… not studying. You know what they say–write drunk, edit sober, and make sure you’re listening to the proper music all the way through.


Tips from writer and physicist Alan Lightman on science writing

alanlightman

Imagine a poppy seed sitting at the center of Fenway Park. If the baseball stadium were the size of an atom, then the poppy seed would be the relative size of its nucleus, nearly 100,000 times smaller.

This is an example of one of the tools that Alan Lightman, internationally renowned writer and physicist, discussed in his talk on “Science Writing” earlier this week: the use of metaphor to express large numbers and complex ideas. Lightman is a visiting professor in Brown’s Nonfiction Writing Program, and he holds joint appointment at MIT in the English and physics departments as one of only a few professors to straddle the sciences and humanities. He is best known for his bestselling novel Einstein’s Dreams, and has published numerous other books and essays in addition to, you know, doing theoretical astrophysics research. Thanks for the feelings of inadequacy. Check out a few more of his tips on science writing after the jump: Continue Reading


Get fictitious, win more fiction

Short attention span? Love the phrase “economy of style”? NPR’s three-minute fiction contest might be the procrastination tool for you.

From the rules:

Your story must begin with the following line:
“Some people swore that the house was haunted.”
Plus, your story must end with this line:
“Nothing was ever the same again after that.”
Including these lines, your story must be 600 words or less. One entry per person. Your deadline is 11:59 p.m., EDT, on Sept. 26.

Michael Cunningham made up the rules and will have the ultimate say on which story wins the grand prize: signed copies of two of his books, and your story read on All Things Considered. (Hey, it’s listener-supported.)

It takes a certain kind of person to enter an public radio-sponsored writing contest, but we’re pretty sure some of you out there fit the bill. Plus, your mother will be so proud when she hears your story on her afternoon commute.