Think back to the craziest, most promiscuous moment you’ve ever had. Got it? Good. I’d be willing to bet that the moment that ranks No. 1 on your list of “Stories I’ll Never Tell My Grandmother” occurred while on some type of vacation.
The Weekender Phenomenon has its roots in basic psychology. Anyone who took Psych 1101 (Prof. Maas, we’ll miss you hanging around Bailey Hall) remembers Zimbardo’s experiment where participants inflicted more pain on others when their identities were kept anonymous with large coats and hoods. It’s called deindividuation, and it works with sex too.
The Weekender Phenomenon goes like this: You’re markedly more promiscuous when you’re on a short trip to a new place.
So say, hypothetically, that you decide to visit your best friend in D.C. for a long weekend over the Fourth of July. Taking the train in, you don’t realize that you left all inhibitions and shreds of restraint at the platform.
A few hours later, you find yourself in an underground secret club — again, all hypothetical — where you and your best friend see a group of attractive men who look like they just finished up a long day at the office.
“Go talk to them,” your friend says. Usually you never go up to perfect strangers and hit on them, but tonight, you’re in a strange city. You are a stranger yourself.
“Hi, I’m Morgan.” Oh wait ... This was all supposed to be hypothetical. Fine, I admit, this actually happened; please don’t tell the remainder of the story to my grandmother.
So I walk up like I’m at some alcoholic, sexed-up career fair and these people were Deloitte. I chose the one that I deemed most attractive, who turned out to be a 28-year-old chemical salesman. He looked more like a regular-Joe frat bro in his Chinos and Sperrys, but I was smitten. I was as surprised as you are that my strategy worked, and I spent the night with this boy — no — man.
Now, I know at this point you may think I’m a slut. That’s fine; I take no offense to that word. I’ll make my choices, and you make yours. Anyway, the weekend didn’t end there.
On the night of the Fourth, we tried so hard to find a rooftop party, that eventually we found some friends with a rooftop and made a party. This rooftop not only had a flat surface perfect for raging, but it had a pool, which was also perfect for raging.
Stripped down to our underwear, a group of five of us entered the pool, armed with a handle of vodka and a bottle of honey. It seemed only natural that we would take shots and chase them with honey, not from the bottle, but from the lips of different wet, semi-drunk members of the group.
Everyone was making out with everyone, shots were flying, honey was sticking ... sexual mayhem. And that wasn’t even the first five-way-make-out of the weekend.
Would I ever find myself in a pool making out with large numbers of people on a regular weekend in Ithaca? Probably not. But of course the weekend was an abnormal level of sexual craziness, even for me. The only way to explain the events of July Fourth is the Weekender Phenomenon. Why do you think people are slutty (and I mean that in the best way) on Halloween? In costume, they are someone else. It’s all related. Spring break madness? Those kids from that state school will never see you again, so sure, flash your tits.
Look out for it next month as you jet away to Cabo and Punta Cana. As Seinfeld’s George suggests, and as my man Wale preaches: It’s a vacation from ourselves.
Morgan T. is a junior in the College of Human Ecology. She may be reached at email@example.com. After Midnight appears alternate Thursdays this semester.