December 1, 2010

Tipping the Kinsey Scale

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I don’t like to talk about dating.

I mean, who does, really? For me, dating is akin to wearing North Face fleece jackets and tights-as-pants: I’m sure it’s comfortable, and it’ll certainly keep you warm at night, but come on. Is it really worth giving up the opportunity to ogle that perfect-fit pair of jeans or the kind-of-dykey but totally hot Threadless shirt in your Nutrition class? No, thank you. A few nights playing sheet Solitaire is totally a price I’m willing to pay for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to wear a pair of assless chaps.

I am also aware, however, that the entire Cornell population is not as on-board with the “fuck your friends” platonislut philosophy that I have adopted in my five-odd years as a sexually active humanoid. Many people insist, in fact, that one must gnaw through layers of fossilized courtship rituals in order to get at the sweet molten pleasure-lava hidden underneath.

Hypocritically enough, though, most students seem to happily subscribe to some sort of twisted virgin-whore dichotomy: hooking up with that dude from the Green Dragon is all well and good when you’re toasted from too many pretentiously named cocktails at Stella’s, but he’s clearly not the boyfriend type. He had a one-night-stand, after all! Clearly not the kind of guy you want to take home to Grandma (with that track record, who knows — he might go for broke and try to unfasten her Depends). At the same time, though, it’s damn hard to graduate from “Intro to Flirty Acquaintances” to “Advanced Long-term Relationships” when one’s only basis for conversation is, “So … how ’bout that poem I wrote about vaginas?”

To make things even more complicated, there’s always the question of sexual orientation. I’m by no means an expert on the gay-man scene at Cornell, but my good friend Christian tells me it’s no easier than good old fashioned straight-kid eye-humping. The trouble, he says, comes from on-campus gay men’s tendencies to either segregate into orgiastic clumps (a la the quasi-organization Gay Mafia, recently slaughtered by The Sun and revived by pure force of will to bone) or to fade into the woodwork. Christian considers himself one of the latter, more or less: “When I walk into the room and I’m the straightest dude there,” he says, “There’s a problem.”

“A lot of those guys are very into being gay,” he says. “It seems like being gay is their only personality trait.”

In my experience, the opposite tends to happen with gay women on campus. Personally, I would be all over a lesbian mafia, particularly because the chances of accidental pregnancy tend to be way lower when no one’s shooting bottle rockets of mobile gametes all up in my uterus. Instead, though, it seems like every time I start trying to take mouth hikes in Yosemite Snatch-valley, it’s the equivalent of a Portia-and-Ellen declaration of luurrrve. While Christian argues that most gay guys he knows want relationships and are too afraid to pursue one, I’d counter that a whole lot of the lady-lovers I’ve met at Cornell have been way too into setting up tents in the no-sex-until-civil-union camp for my taste.

Gay or straight, though, one issue remains tantamount: how the balls does someone make the move from classmate rando to the other rider on your naked tandem bike? There’s always the “missed connections” route, but as I mentioned a fortnight ago, that way lies madness (and a lot of Internet dicks).

My solution? Bring back swinging! (No, not sex swings — although, yeah, maybe.) Or at least casual dating. When I was in high school, I harbored these fever dreams of college as a place of no expectations. Whether you were an old-soul romantic like Christian or allergic to long-term relationships like me, there’d be a dorm room party (and subsequent lovemaking session) for you. Instead, everyone seems to be burdened by the same old fear of gossip and misconceptions as they were when they were 14.

One of the best things about being a bi-identified female is that I can feel comfortable to experiment without having to completely reconstruct my identity every time I make out with my roommate in a fit of whiskey pique. For mostly-straight or mostly-gay people, though, such seesaw-jumping might necessitate far more hasty explanations or subscriptions to different lifestyles. And that sucks.

So loosen up, kids! Celebrate the end of this semester by taking off those binary-glasses and letting your pansexuality flag fly. And if you’ve decided (despite my pleas to the contrary) that you’re firmly esconced in Hetero-Tower, then don’t react with revulsion if an enterprising fuck-buddy mistakes you for a possibly interested party. In the spirit of the lake effect, everybody just chill the fuck out.

And when you’re all happily holding hands and Eskimo-kissing under the mistletoe, I will be flitting around making eyes at the barista behind the counter at Libe. See? Everybody gets a happy ending.

Kate C. is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She may be reached at [email protected]. Ball You Discreetly appears alternate Thursdays this semester.

Original Author: Kate C.