Some people chart weather, stocks or maybe stars. Harvard students have found a way to make any activity educational -even sex. So budding cartographers on the third floor of Pennypacker have appropriated mapping methods for their roommates' indiscretions and drunken tendencies to create the ultimate dormcest chart.
Surprisingly, "dormcest" has yet to find its way to the FDO's guide to "The First Undergraduate Year at Harvard." Nonetheless, upperclassmen jump at the opportunity to caution weary first-years of its dangers. Roopal B. Patel '03 recalls her First-Year Urban Program experience. "The very first day of FUP, we engaged in some ice-breaking activities in small groups. One of the FUP leaders, Greg Feldman, among the extensive wisdom he passed along, explained the hazards of dormcest. He summed it up in one simple rule: 'you must cross two exit signs before you hook up with somebody or else you have to see them all the time.'"
Feldman '00 makes a good point. In fact, dormcest has many drawbacks: self-isolation, broken hips as a result of too much booty 'cause it's so damn close and that post-break-up-eye-contact awkwardness. But on the other hand, the benefits: massive quantities of sexual gratification, not having to slip into a pea coat to see the honey, scoring with "the girl next door," playing "domestic partners" not to mention massive quantities of sexual gratification. While this steamy temptation has its faults, through the years many have looked the other way and sauntered boldly to the room next door.
Although Harvard keeps no written records of dormcest, one collection of first-years has made a lot of noise this year that would potentially break century old-records. Ranking last in freshman intramurals, Pennypacker has more than offset that blemish with other extracurricular activities, namely excessive dormcest.
One particular floor in the Pack has even gone so far as to literally chart the lust and love about.
The diagram, shown above, illustrates cases of dormcest, floorcest and even the rare roomcest. In reality, the entire floor "made" the chart in a collective effort, but its production can be attributed to the handy work of two individuals: one with the brains and one with the pen. The genius behind the chart, who wishes to be known only as Jane '03, defensively claims to be no Doogie at all. Instead she has credits tradition as her inspiration. "One day I was in the FDO and I was looking through a Harvard alumni magazine. There was an article about a guy's ten-year reunion. His dorm, too had been 'festive in that way.'"
In his recent Harvard Magazine article, Adam Goodheart '92 recalled, "When I think back to my first year at Harvard, one of the things I always remember is the sex chart. The last week of spring semester, someone in my entryway had the good idea of buying a huge sheet of white newsprint and some magic markers so that we could create a lasting memorial to the odd experience of being freshmen together. We taped the paper up on the cinder-block wall just inside the doorway of Canaday A, and before long, nearly everyone had stopped by to leave some sort of mark."
Goodheart continued to explain the signology of such a sex chart-specifying varieties of dormcest by a series of lines and symbols. In the Pennypacker '03 version, an adaptation of the Canaday '89 original, straight lines represent current relationships. Dashed lines stand for hook-ups, lines with Xs through them for broken relationships and dotted lines represent relationships mysteriously labeled "other," whatever that means. With such ornate penmanship, Jane's roommate Lucy '03 crafted the chart complete with color-coding, a legend and quotes from proctor Chris. Jane declares the chart "is absolutely true," but admits there are some inside jokes and unsubstantiated rumors. In addition, Jane concedes that the chart is incomplete. And as a warning to readers, the sexima carta--over three weeks old--does not represent the current status of the third floor of Pennypacker, but is raunchy nevertheless.
Wouldn't it be a scandal to post it somewhere? Of course, but while Jane denied rumors saying, "We did not post it up, we only showed people." She later admits "it was posted for a few minutes." Suspicious. Another floormate refutes Jane's claim: "It was posted for an hour or two before it was taken down." Other accounts confirm that the diagram found its way to a tackboard. The floormate even recalls a swarm of intrigued students huddled around it like squirrels over an acorn.
Onlookers had mixed reactions. For the most part, the third-floories found it funny. Since these relationships were common knowledge, the detailed connections came at no surprise. But for obvious reasons, the proctor didn't frame it and nail it to any walls. But the whereabouts of the chart are now unknown. An irate individual allegedly took it down and doubt remains as to whether or not the chart made it safely into a fireplace. Thankfully however, for Harvard's viewing pleasure, Jane took precautionary measures and scanned the scheming masterpiece.
What does all of this dormcest mean? Like the proctor Chris Gahan said, "People are social beings." In fact, Pennypacker, known for its gregarious atmosphere, might just be upholding its legacy. Lozada explained that their proctor, while certainly concerned, he doesn't consider dormcest a crime. "He doesn't care. He does a lot of talking with everybody as far as relationships go. He's a great guy." Gahan's response to the abundance of beneficial relationships, "I said to love each other, but not this much," even appears on the chart itself. Dormcest, floorcest even--heck, why not? Might as well enjoy the neighbors before the year ends. With first-years eyeing their new Houses, the post-break-up problems of intra-dorm relations wash away. Until then the Pack will keep juices flowing and the doors locked.
Pennypacker 3 Stats