Editor’s Note: This piece, though new to The Sun, was originally composed in early 2018. The author has since graduated.
I came to Cornell as many of you did: bright-eyed, enthusiastic and, above all else, incredibly naive. I fondly remember my first few fraternity parties, trying to look “sexy” but mostly arriving at some combination of awkward mall-dweller and short-sighted librarian while my more experienced friends guided me through the maze that would eventually become the backbone of my social life. I went through high school incredibly focused on my academics and extracurriculars, knowing that I would move on from my small town to bigger, more exciting things. Little did I know how unprepared I would be for them.
It took awhile for me to become acclimated here, and when I did, I was immediately ready to find myself in more ways than just intellectually. Often, I cringe at my freshman year antics — deserting my friends to make out with a decent looking stranger, grinding shamelessly on the dance floor in my somewhat less-than-flattering outfit and allowing myself to believe that these fine, upstanding young Cornellians would want a relationship with me after the first blowjob.
As I reflect on the beginnings of my sexual history, I can’t help but realize that I continue to fall into the same traps. Now, they’re more easily blown off within my friend group by claiming that I’d blacked out or that, in fact, I’d been talking to that boy for a whole three days, so really he isn’t a stranger at all. Actually, I know more than five facts about him, so we’re basically best friends — did you know he’s from Westchester and has two sisters?
While my partners have certainly improved in terms of skill and personality, I can’t help but feel that my expectations of them haven’t changed since freshman year. As I find myself getting more bold with what I want from them, I can’t help but feel unsatisfied. I forever live in the shadow of the one night stand that had me struggling to walk the next morning, the paint peeled from where my fingernails had desperately grasped the night before. In all this time, and after a such a diversity of relationships, I still find myself in pursuit of the perfect fuck. Maybe he’s here, maybe I’ll find him post-grad. I’ve lost my initial hopes of finding a husband here and pursuing the Cornell marriage. Coming to Ithaca, I fully expected to find a fellow Cornellian to spend my life with and become a power couple in our own way. At this point, the less-than-fulfilling way that I’ve interacted with all of my potential candidates has squashed that hope. In a way, it’s empowering — I’ve discovered that I carry a high likelihood of being the dominant one in any relationship I’m in, and I’m okay with that. Cornell’s atmosphere of sex positivity has allowed me to develop that part who I am. I’ll be grateful for that when I graduate.
Regardless of my own personal growth and self-discovery, if my time here has taught me anything it’s that you can count on two things from a Cornellian. The first is eagerness: I haven’t yet come across a boy who would turn me down in the face of what I want. The second is ultimately falling just short of what you’d wanted. A combination of hookup culture and, I believe, my own personal preference for Jewish lovers has left me vastly unsatisfied. In a lot of ways, I don’t think that this is a unique position to be in. Whether it is simply the case that like-attracts-like, or if the general feeling extends to others beyond my direct circle, it seems that many people’s drunken confessions aren’t dissimilar to my own. Often while waiting for a slice at CTP or dragging myself out of an Uber, I’m struck by the similarity of my friends’ circumstances to my own. Maybe it’s the expectations we come in with, maybe it’s the background that we come from. It’s hard to say when that scheme begins. As I head toward graduation, it’s disheartening to hear my female friends lament about not finding someone to spend forever with. I’m always quick to bring up that permanent isn’t always the solution, that given circumstance it’s often far more enjoyable and rewarding to focus on pursuing a short-term high. Fingers crossed for an eventful and somewhat regrettable Senior Spring.
Sure Why Not is a Cornell University alumnus. An Irregular Affair appears periodically.