Sex and Society: Coming of Age at Harvard
The editors wish to state that the views of the author do not necessarily represent those of the CRIMSON. However, as the editorial staff is engaged in private research, the results of which will not be released until July, the more readily available analysis of Mr. Royce must be accepted. The author is presently engaged in a study entitled, "I was an Undercover Agent at Lake Waban.")
Nobody ever writes about the mental side of sex-doctors are board with it, psychologists are scared of it, and philosophers are too smart to pit their neat little thoughts against such a monster issue. The undergraduate who investigates the subject is more often than not groping in the dark. If you're feeling ontological, you can go to the library and find lots of company. But if you feel like a big black tomcat at dusk, all you can do is yowl.
After you've yowled a while, your roommates ask you to go try Radcliffe, where you proceed to spot a cute thing in a very stylish dress. Meeting her will be tough, but with ingenuity and incredible self-confidence it can be pulled off. The main trouble in meeting girls is that your selection is based at first on good looks, which actually mean nothing except that we feel they're necessary, which is actually pretty significant. After introductions, you'll both snow each other so well that, after you dig yourselves out months later, nobody will know who snowed whom, whether being snowed-in together is worth it, or when the thaw is coming.
But before you despair of the blundering guesswork your girl hunt must involve, remember that it was a hunch that made Edison invent the incandescent light. It was a hunch that made Napoleon march on Moscow. (If you want to know how the 100,000 who walked back to France felt, try walking down Garden Street at 1:10 some winter night after an unsuccessful date.)
The process of meeting the girl you have chosen is easier than it feels. First you catch her eye, and she draws her upper lip away from her teeth to show she notices you. Then you ask a girl nearby who that "girl in the corner" is. She smiles and says in a loud contralto:
"THAT'S MARCIA McGLINCHEY! WHY?" In the corner of your eye MARCIA is scuttling behind a sofa. "DO YOU WANT A DATE WITH HER?" cries, your new friend, warming to her role. "SHE'S REALLY A LOT OF FUN!"
You never have much trouble getting a date. All girls are fascinated by telephone voices, as long as you take a little nap before calling so your voice will be low. The first phone call must be done from notes, to be really effective. You must be just a little enigmatic, and give the impression of strength of character behind your taciturnity, amazing ability behind your boastful facade.
You must use all the latest preicate adjectives: "lunch," "shoe," "the most." You should show your sense of humor by giggling when you say something cute. And above all, you lose the game if you con less calling her because you think she's your type. You should appear at least to want to give her fun and laughs--dates, not tete-a-tetes.
Where to go and what to do is simple. You show her an amazingly good time on the first date, unless you're me, in which case you don't spend a red cent because you don't haveit to spare. The flat-broke ploy is good because she'll know then that your daddy isn't sending you through, and you're either a self-made man or a scholarship boy--attractive in either case.
But if you want to show her the town, start by eating in a good restaurant, preferably one with a headwaiter whom you tip and a dance floor. Then your drive out to some inaccessible-except-by-car foreign movie you've seen before, and discuss it intelligently over St. Clair's coffee. The second date, of course, you study together in your room. Make sure it isn't a time when either of you actually has to get some work done (see cut).
On the third date, you go to the U.T. for a pleasant double feature. The U.T. on weekends is packed with Harvard, which makes collegiate noises and laughs at corny staging, and you'll feel at home. Don't buy reserved seats--they're slippery and you keep falling on the floor.
If you're giving her the flat-broke treatment, the U.T. date will let her know you really care; if you've shown her Boston's bright spots the previous time, it'll show her you're adaptable, not addicted to splendor, and not afraid she is. After the U.T., you adjourn to a sofa or car to see whether she was bluffing when she kissed you goodnight.
This problem of sex is complex, but its solution is simple. Sex is like a well-landscaped highway with hundreds of roadsigns and no turnoffs. Whether its terminus is heaven, hell, or just a wider highway depends upon your attitude and hers.
Sex, like any game, has its rationale. Most girls are tremendously relieved and deeply offended when you finally close in. Your girl friend's response, if she still approves of you, will be to express both feelings in a superb six-or-eight-word sentence, and let you go ahead. After all the rationalizations are on the table, the only really pleasant part of the whole business ensues.
According to the rules of the game, the boy makes the decisions. A girl never says "Don't," because she knows anyone from Harvard will considerately quit and apologize on the spot if she does. She says "Oh, please!" Another smoke screen is a series of
(The help of numerous Radcliffe girls in this project is acknowledged, without whose sporadic help the ways of women would probably have remained a mystery anyway. Investigating sex at Radcliffe is like making Tom Collinses out of warm water and lemon peels, but they're girls--you can't take that away from them.) little murmurs which could be either pure despair, pure pleasure, or any mixture thereof.
This delicious ambiguity, designed to keep the boy in continual tension, is one of the refinements we collegians have added to what was once a pretty straightforward game. Trying to be honest for once, you let escape a blissful sigh. There went that date, daddy-o. "You beast! You're enjoying it!" She recoils like a snake. Remember the rules: you decide what to do, but she decides how.
Love is the most grotesque thing of all. Cinemascopic-stercophonic exaltation and benign stupidity mix indiscriminately to produce a tangle which, if either you or the girl friend should call it into doubt, is inscrutable.
Love cannot be safely defined except as a "will to believe" in each other, but you're sure to leap at the most popular working definition among us intellectuals: "What is love? This is love!" When you've said that, since you're in the intertwined state wherein thoughts flow freely, she'll start wondering if it isn't just sex. Then you'll wonder if sex isn't enough (better not say it aloud).
Soon you'll both be wondering whether this is the "right person" whether for such mixed up minds anybody could be the "right one;" whether perhaps romance is hokum and anybody could be the "right one;" whether today's confused Youth can make sane decisions about the appropriateness of love, of sex, of marriage (pause for breath); whether all this decision stuff isn't negation of the basically inspirational quality of the Perfect Love; or whether maybe sex isn't everything but it's a hell of a lot easier than all this stuff; and so on around again.
All Perfect Loves end in Marriage, which, as we all know, is the crashing finish of a mad race in which the winners and losers are never announced.
Whatever you do about girls this fall, remember that it will end badly. There's really no sense in going out at all. The advice below is for those who can't help themselves:
In the first place, you fool, you have to know what you want. And you don't, and probably never will. This puts you at a distinct disadvantage with the ladies, who know exactly what they want: lots of fun, lots of laughs, a bachelor's degree, and an intelligent, strong, pliable husband. Secondly, you have to know how to get what you're after (if anything)--which is the most difficult part. Every victory turns to defeat, and the spoils of victory vanish without a trace. They'll tromp on you, boy, they'll pluck your heart out and crack it like an egg. But they mean well, and the fault is yours--you asked for a date