Livingroom Battle of the Sexes

It all starts with a bed, a desk, a chair, and a bookcase. In September, every room looks alike. But once the amateur interior decorators get to work, their dorm rooms adopt characteristics as individualistic as the residents themselves.

Unique though some rooms may be, many students say that they can tell what gender lives in a room just by the stereotypes which accompany that particular sample of dorm room chic.

Often such differences are written on the walls--on posters, that is.

Bruce E. Roberts '86, whose own walls feature windsurfers, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne and prints of Edward Munch nudes, says that the color scheme and posters give away the gender living in the room. He adds that women favor pastel colors in their posters and furniture.

"Girls have more posters of places and pretty pictures. Their posters aren't as harsh," says Elizabeth A. Mark '89.


"Guys have more abstract art up and girls have more impressionism and realistic stuff," says Andra L. Gordon '89, whose walls feature prints by Degas, Renoir, and Van Gogh.

Others say that male students don't even bother with art, relying instead on photographic posters. "Movie stars and beer posters are certainly more likely in guys' rooms," says Allison Townley '87.

"Lots of my male friends do have those Budweiser posters in their rooms," says a first-year male law student who wished to remain anonymous.

According to some room connoisseurs, even beer posters and Marilyn Monroe--another male favorite--do not appeal to some students' aesthetic tastes. "I know a lot of guys who don't even bother to put up posters," says Sarah C. Penniston '86.

"Guys don't really decorate their rooms-just a stereo, refrigerator and beer posters, if they even get around to that," says Kirkland resident Risa J. Barrett '86.

On the other hand, women's rooms can often be worthy of Dormroom Beautiful, according to some visitors. "I don't know any guys who have curtains, but I've seen girls with not only curtains, but bedspreads to match," says Joshua M. Thurman '88.

"I know a lot of girls who are very careful and spend much time decorating their rooms," says Andrew R. Mann '86.

A. Jay Nugent '87 adds, "Girls try for a softer type of image. They're more conservative."

Some students say they feel that such conservatism prevented imagination and creativity from running rampant in girls' rooms. "Guys tend to get more creative with their rooms," says Kimberly R. Mar '89.

In one now-infamous. Wigglesworth freshman suite, the five male residents have stacked nearly 400 Budweiser cans on their mantel, according to one of the co-artists, Vernon C. McDermott Jr. '89.