In 2008, the world refugee population peaked at 11.4 million people, a staggering sum by any measure. While many members of the Williams student body may struggle to relate to the plight that refugees worldwide are faced with, I urge those of you who feel a disconnect to consider the following information: every year, countless students of the College are displaced from their homes, forced to make do on their own, much like the refugees of the outside world. While the refugees of the real world are often the victims of war-torn nations or regions, the purple bubble variant is generally of a different breed: we are the bittersweet refugees of love.
An inevitable consequence of coed higher education and the free love movement kicked off in the ’60s, these victims of other people’s terms of endearment, affectionately referred to as “sexiles,” have seen a steep rise in recent years. By some estimates, sexile incidents went up by some 300 percent between 2007 and 2008. “I know at least 30 first-years who have been barred from their rooms at some point this past semester,” a first-year, who wished to be assigned the pseudonym Lovaboy, told me. “Winter Study definitely marked the climax.”
If my language thus far has been overly ambiguous, allow me to borrow a definition from the invaluable Urban Dictionary. “Sexile: to banish a roommate from the dorm for the purpose of engaging in intimate relations with one’s significant other/sex partner.” While in an ideal world, all incoming first-year Eph men and women would be either aroused by the possibility of voyeurism, or intrigued by the potential for a threesome, in reality, the phenomenon of sexilation has presented more problems than it has fulfilled fantasies.
When I asked a former Frosh Quad JA, who wishes to remain nameless, if sexiles had presented any difficulties within his entry, after a moment’s pause and a chuckle, a few incidences came to mind. “Every floor had its idiosyncrasies, so we were pretty much all affected,” he said. “One offender repeatedly sexiled during the afternoon, while another, through a decidedly unexpected turn of events, sexiled by way of prefrosh.”
The plights of the two aforementioned victims are not unusual to first-year entries on campus. First-years who dabble in the game of love – be it physical, mental or a daring mixture of both – all necessitate precious one-on-one time with their companions. And seeing as Williamstown’s selection of night lounges and chill hangout spots might be a little dry and that the Williams Inn charges a steep $145 for its most basic room, budding love is often forced to grow in the stifled confines of student doubles.
When humans first faced the conundrum of scarce resources and experienced the chaos that ensued, we were forced to develop a set of guidelines, a systema legalis, by which we could fairly allocate resources and establish order. If we, as responsible, love-hungry and often horny college students, can come to terms with the fact that there are less singles at the College than there are active lovers, and that singles are not always allocated to the students with the greatest need, a logical next step would be to similarly establish a set of guidelines, or rules, that would minimize the suffering and distress felt by our countless “love refugees.”
While the guidelines I will hereby list are neither universal nor solely derived from my own personal experiences, they have been compiled through an objective, semester-long effort to better cope with grim fate that sexiles from Tyler Annex to Currier Hall face.
Notice: While the harm caused by sexilation may penetrate deep, there is a simple word that could greatly appease the pain that one causes in sexiling one’s roommate. It’s called “notice,” and believe me, it works. The earlier one can notify one’s roommate of an imminent and exclusive requiring of the quarters, the better one’s chances of dulling the injury. “When my roommate had urges, he was always very vocal in telling me to leave,” first-year Lovaboy told me. “The more notice they could provide, the more likely I was to get to class with my homework in hand.” Realistically, however, hookups are not always predetermined and carefully scheduled. If your action is indeed spontaneous, try to give your roommate a courtesy call or at the very least some message to prevent their awkward and unanswered knocks. Some have been known to leave a condom on the door-handle, while others prefer something more subtle, such as undergarments in the entryway. Whatever the case may be, notice is key.
Rate of occurrence: One must always take into consideration the frequency with which the offender is banishing his/her roommate. Should it be a first-time occurrence, compliance should not be too much to ask for, even of the most celibate among us. However, if it is a recurring offence, the two lovebirds should take a hint and spice up their relations by venturing out of the dorm room. If you’re too dull and unimaginative to come up with your own creative location, I’ll give you a hint: Chapin Hall. “It really worked wonders,” Lovaboy related to me. “The whole atmosphere, and feeling of history, helped me out big time.” You can swipe in anytime before 1 a.m., and the stage will provide ample legroom for some comfortable post-act chitchat.
Clean up: As our good friends at the Williams Outing Club so adamantly insist, “Leave No Trace.” Enough said.
Respect: The way you treat your roommate will greatly condition his/her reaction to a request for private use of the residence. Never straight out tell them that you’ve decided to make them dejectedly roam the campus for a night as a refugee. Instead, ask them kindly if they could possibly help you out in a “big way.” Furthermore, appear open to rejection. Obviously, when love is on the horizon, neither petty roommates nor three-headed dragons will get between you and your object of desire. But a semblance of openness to refusal will greatly improve your chances of obtaining consent from all parties. Also, if it is not the first time, don’t be afraid to bribe them, or temper their annoyance, with a batch of freshly baked cookies. I’ve observed this work wonders. If you are like me and don’t harbor aspirations to become the next Betty Crocker, you can try simply putting your roommate’s computer in the common room so that his/her work is not interrupted, or making up the common room couch with sheets, a pillow and a hand-written letter telling them how much you are indeed enjoying yourself.
Spread the love: Lastly, but of great importance, is a little adhered to trick that can virtually change the game. If your companion sticks around into the next morning, introduce him/her to your roommate and welcome them into the family that you may have accidentally started the previous night. Also, in the great probability that your partner detects agreeable qualities in your roommate, he/she might be kind enough to hook your roommate up with a friend. Double dates, anyone?
While I might entertain some degree of sympathy for the growing number of sexiles on campus, in the end, we all want to get some. The “every man for himself” attitude is definitely quite thrilling. That being said, I think we can all agree that team sports are more fun. So be a team player, help a brotha/sista out, communicate and this disdained phenomenon might become the joy and pleasure that it should be.