Lamont Library bears a striking resemblance to a Las Vegas casino. While Harvard’s monument to round-the-clock academic endeavor may lack blackjack tables and Siegfried & Roy, it shares the Vegas ethos of detachment from ordinary reality.
Temperature, lighting, and activity remain constant at all hours; concepts of time disintegrate as dusk fades into dawn with incredible rapidity. And like its Sin City counterparts, Lamont’s veneer of family-friendly fun hides a seedy underbelly. Vegas has its strip clubs and call girls; Lamont has boredatlamont.com.
Boredatlamont.com is the online discussion board that has become the unofficial Web home of the Lamont patron. Anyone bored enough to type in the Web address can contribute in complete anonymity. New posts show up every few seconds, and while the potential topics of discussion are unlimited, the conversation veers invariably towards sex. (Saturday, 2:24:53 a.m.: “ISN’T THIS SITE THE COOLEST THING EVERRRRR!; Saturday, 2:24:57 a.m.: “my sexual frustration needs masturbatory release.”)
And it turns out a lot of people want to have sex in the Lamont Café. (Or at least are willing to claim that they do.) If even a quarter of the solicitations made on boredatlamont.com ever came to fruition, Lamont would devolve into an orgy that would make the most progressive libertine blush.
For the rest of the world, sex and libraries may seem like strange bedfellows. But not at Harvard. Around here, nothing spices up romance like a little Heidegger. After all, boredatlamont.com is really just a tech-savvy cousin of the old “sex in the Widener stacks” fantasy. Maybe this affinity for library lasciviousness is simply the product of convenience. Many Harvard students like studying, and some of them also like sex. Boredatlamont.com lets you kill two birds with one stone.
I can’t help but feel that the attraction is more deep-rooted. Baring intimate secrets is considerably easier in an anonymous yet comfortable environment. For better or for worse, some Harvard students feel most comfortable in a library. Sex is confusing. But then again, so is Foucault. When making love amidst the Western canon, at least we can remind ourselves that we succeeded in mastering the latter. Harvard students may not be the most sexually adept bunch, but in the library, we have the home-field advantage.
Still, this fantasy of sexual liberation between bookshelves is belied by the fact that boredatlamont.com is all talk and no action. No one actually intends to stage a tryst in the café, and many of the solicitations are made in jest on behalf of bystanders who are unaware that their burning desire for sex in Lamont is being broadcast into cyberspace.
This is the essence of Harvard. If we were going to have sex, it’d be nice if it were in a library, but maybe instead we just won’t have sex at all. Boredatlamont.com is a compendium of sexual frustration, an animalistic desire that yearns to break free from the confines of propriety and academics. I hope someday it does. It would be quite a sight to behold.
Daniel E. Herz-Roiphe ’10, a Crimson editorial comper, lives in Straus Hall.