Minus the City: Perspective Matters

Kira Palmer, Maroon-News Staff

I’m still running off a “This is Not a Play About Sex” high from October. It is hard for me to pick a favorite monologue or scene when there are great bits in so many of them. One line that particularly gets to me comes from “It’s the Singing That Gets Them,” a scene about a student’s Christian faith as a guide on Colgate’s campus. One line in the scene says, “your self worth doesn’t boil down to your desirability in the hookup scene.” Of course, that’s a great quip. Yay, everyone is more than just a pretty face or a hot body. But it’s particularly salient because I have heard people express self-doubt about their attractiveness or their value as a person based on their hookup experiences. There’s this idea that if you only have one-night stands or if you aren’t hooking up with people every time you go out, you’re either bad at sex or not appealing. There’s even a worry among people who are regularly hooking up that if they do something “wrong,” they will be dropped faster than a first-year dropping Intro to Economics after the first exam. People at Colgate can very much tie their self-worth to their placement in the hookup scene.

That brings me to another great bit from the play, from a scene called “You Can Use this as a Manual,” which centers around sorority girls giving a series of advice. One of the “rules” is to focus on your perspective. “There’s this mentality that if you don’t hook up with someone, the night is a failure. If you have bad self-esteem you’ll think ‘I’m not hot, no one wants to hook up with me.’ If you have good self-esteem you’ll think ‘there is no one on this campus who I want to hookup with tonight,’” the scene says.

I urge you all to reflect on the way you view yourself and they way you interact with and are affected by the hookup culture at Colgate. I understand that it is easy to tell people, “Just remember that you’re wonderful people! Whether someone wants to make-out with you at the Jug or get freaky in the dorms or not does not diminish your value as a human! You’re all hot commodities in my eyes!” I understand that it is very different to be in that situation where it seems like everyone is able to find a sexual partner. I understand that many of us inherently value our attractiveness, and sexual desirability plays into that. I’m with you. I struggle, too.

Yet, for each of those moments, I offer a tip. Remind yourself about one good thing that has either happened that night or one thing you are looking forward to. Remind yourself how much fun singing “Mamma Mia” was during the pregame. Remind yourself of how nice it felt to cling onto your friends to escape the cold. Remind yourself of your winning pong streak. Think about how excited you are for Slices, and how excited you are to get some sleep. I’ve found that when I change my perspective to focus on one good thing, I am able to shut out the negative thoughts and feelings. When I focus on my friends, the music and coming home to Oreos with peanut butter, I tend to forget the role that hookup culture plays in a night out. Of course I am aware that it happens, but I don’t place my evaluation of the night or my own value in that context. Perspective, it’s key.

Contact Kira Palmer at [email protected].