In light of Justin Silverman’s recent article published in New York Magazine’s The Cut, I would like to call attention to a socio-cultural phenomenon that was first observed here at Cornell. I wish to acknowledge and salute a special group of students before Skorton hands them their diplomas in a little more than a month, and to give some of you female underclassmen a glimpse into your bright(ish) futures. I am referring to Cornell’s 2013 graduating class of SWUGs (Senior Washed-Up Girls). To all you aspiring SWUGs out there: I am here to be your spirit guide, so listen up as I crack open another jar of Nutella and tell it to you straight.
First, you may ask: “What exactly is a SWUG?” Excellent question. It is not the fair-weather Thursday afternoon CTB sangria crowd — think lower than that. The Tuesday night Loco karaoke kids belting Celine Dion after their last prelim? Lower. I am talking about the girls who know to go to Level B on Saturday at 9pm sharp for the ladies night free champagne and then leave promptly by 10pm before anyone is out on the street to spot them on a non-fishbowl night. If you find yourself thinking that it is fine to wear the same outfit on Monday and Tuesday, but never on Tuesday and Thursday because of that cute boy in your creative writing class, you might just be one of them. SWUGs know the system. SWUGs work the system. SWUGs are bored by the system.
Their college sexpiration date has passed. By this point, every potentially real hookup has been tainted by someone (or something) somewhere along the way. Mike? Oh yeah, Cindy dated him for a while last semester. Corey? I heard he voted for Romney. SWUGs know this. They accept it. They have stopped trying to find Mr. Right, or even Mr. Right Now. They are just enjoying the ride of their final college days with the craziest friends they have. The guy can find them.
Of course, SWUGs do not make up the entire senior female demographic. This is hardly the case. SWUGs are a small, self-identifying caste. There are many remaining members of the non-SWUG party who still match their socks, eat vegetables and stay on campus past 3pm. SWUGs applaud their ethic, really. But what is worse: The Monday morning headache from one-too-many glasses of the Franzia that got you through last night’s problem set, or the asbestos poisoning from one-too-many all-nighters spent in Uris stacks? It’s a silent killer, people. Watch out.
Post-Cornell, some SWUGs will head off to grad school, some to Wall Street, but, like the majority of the senior class, many SWUGs fear the dreaded “what are you doing after graduation?” question. They tried, really they did. Pre-SWUGs, you too will be optimistic about the job search next fall. You might even stop by Career Services and leave some job application tabs open in your browser. Let me tell you what that career guide you ambitiously put on your coffee table in October will really be used for come next April. Resume building? No. Interview tips? No; as if you will even get a follow-up email. Sadly, it will more likely be used by your SWUG friends for tasks such as painting fingernails, rolling joints or killing really scary bugs on the ceiling. At this point, the continued job search will have to wait until after Senior Week.
It is not that SWUGS are actually “washed-up” per se. They are just over the limited social scene that Ithaca has to offer. Their lives of unnecessary abbrevs and drinking Barton gin were just a phase. Why would they want to get their MRS degrees? Very soon they will be in that wonderfully witty land of the glitzy twenty-somethings. Think Kate Hudson and Brittany Murphy (RIP) in their rom-com heydays; Lena Dunham paints it all wrong. And six months from now, when they are not living at home with their parents or contemplating getting a sugar daddy, they will remember their SWUG days fondly. Love them, hate them, or join them. SWUGs don’t care.
Kat Gray is a senior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She may be reached at email@example.com. Guest Room appears periodically this semester.