Picture this: It’s freshman fall, just a few weeks into the semester. You’re at some annex in Collegetown that you never actually learned the name of but managed to get yourself into (you’re a girl in a low cut top. It wasn’t hard). You’re dancing and drinking with your friends when someone catches your eye. They come up to you, you chat, you drink, you dance and things progress. You both want to take things somewhere a little more private, but North Campus is just so far away, so you head upstairs and somehow end up on the fire escape instead. You’re perched on the stairs between floors and there are people above and below you, but somewhat surprisingly, you find you don’t really care that much. In fact, you kind of like it.
So you’ve discovered you’re a little bit of an exhibitionist. Maybe you’re like me and you unexpectedly realized it through experience, or maybe you just think it would be really fun. It’s not that you actually want people to see you hooking up, but there’s just something about the risk of getting caught that just gets you going. Maybe it’s the adrenaline rush that comes with knowing you’re doing something that you’re not supposed to be doing. Maybe it’s the thrill of being sneaky and getting away with it. Whatever it is, there’s something to be said for getting down somewhere other than a bedroom. But in order to explore this further, you need places to go, and that’s where I come in. Pulled from my experiences, here are some of my thoughts on hooking up outside the bedroom.
Maybe you’re still living in a dorm and you’re looking to get down somewhere that isn’t your forced triple (with bunkbeds!). Depending on what dorm you’re in, your common room or laundry room could be a decent idea. It’s best if it’s late enough at night that people aren’t wandering around, otherwise you won’t manage to get far enough for the uncomfortable couches to be worth it. But if it is late and you manage to find a dark enough corner, you can have a little fun. At least the walk back to your room will be pretty short after? If you’re still on North but you want a little more semblance of privacy, consider the Mews meditation room. Yes, the door doesn’t lock, but that’s part of the fun. A bonus: Never forget that Mews has AC.
What about if you’re in Collegetown and you want to stay there? If you’re inspired by my experience, a frat annex fire escape isn’t a bad choice if it’s during the warmer months (read: warm month) here. Too late in the fall or too early in the spring and those metal bars get wicked cold at night. Find yourself a spot on the stairs that’s between two floors and not directly next to a window and go to town. Just watch out for any drunk frat guys who decide they want to pee off the side. But what about where not to consider?
Let’s make the situation a little bit more specific. You’re at a party on Catherine Street and you’re trying to find somewhere to hook up. While a porch roof might seem like a great idea at the time — you’re getting away from the party, it’ll be quiet, you’ll be alone — it bears remembering that Cath St. is on a hill and that means that everyone both above and below you on the slope can see exactly what you’re doing. The fun is in almost getting caught, not actually getting caught. Learn from my mistakes.
Living beyond the dorms and CTown? Go find an unlocked academic building. I would recommend one on the Arts Quad, but that’s just because that’s where I spend most of my time. Also, all engineering buildings smell like stress and sadness to me. It’s been said before, likely more eloquently than here, but I’ll say it again: This is hot. Go for it. Do it on a desk, blow your boy in the lecture seating, whatever you want. It’s a classic for a reason. You’re less likely to get yelled at than in the stacks like I watched happen to someone just a few weeks ago (word to the wise: The fifth floor stacks are still pretty busy on a Saturday evening!), but I’ve heard that security will still sometimes check in if they hear anything suspicious happening while they make their rounds.
Maybe exhibitionism isn’t your cup of tea, and that’s okay. But if you want to start exploring it, hopefully I’ve given you some suggestions of places to go that aren’t private but also aren’t totally out in the open. Maybe you think this is all too tame, in which case, you’re a braver soul than I. No matter what, I encourage everyone to push their limits and try out something (or somewhere) new. You might just find you like it.
Scarlet Letters is a student at Cornell University. Between the Sheets runs monthly this semester. Sex on Thursday appears every other Thursday.