Barstool Sports produces an infamous “Saturdays are For the Boys” flag which I can promise that you can find in numerous dorm rooms that are dominated by men. I’m left wondering if Saturdays are really for the Boys or more so just the idea of fun. If the Girls come around, I guess that they’re just part of it. I’ve always thought that men and women on campus should try to have more genuine friendships, but considering the split between the sexes in sports, which dominates social interaction on campus, I suppose that this is the way it must be.
I know of some fabulous couples on campus, so maybe it’s the perfect environment for some who really just lucked out. That isn’t everybody, though. Last week, “Romance at Williams: Is it Dead?” was published by Alex Pear ’22 from the perspective of somebody looking in on the world of dating and hookup culture on campus. But I guess I am a Hoxsey girl, at least for the time being, and from my experience, we all seem to be just trying our best for whatever we come across, bound by the limitations of where we are.
I don’t actively try to go to Hoxsey every weekend, but the way it congregates the masses is remarkable, the different houses bringing together an incredible variety of demographics. Williams doesn’t have fraternities or sororities, but the necessity for any social nightlife has made sports teams function as a supplement for it. The houses are identified with specific teams: most notably 71 with football, 70 with WUFO and 66 with soccer. Pear provided an accurate physical description of the parties in last week’s edition of the Record: alluding to the dirty, sweaty and dark environment at Hoxsey. It’s hard to pinpoint why all these students have found themselves there on that Saturday night.
I’m not sure how often people meet and abruptly decide to hook up at these parties, but watching the steady stream of couples walking away from Hoxsey has proven to evoke a mixture of amusement with pangs of envy, regardless of whether they’re going to snar or to the closest student dorm. I’m also uncertain as to how many of these people depart as an attempt on real love, or merely the illusion of love with the company of another. Tinder exists, and even though it is labeled as a dating app, it is well known for typically serving a more physical, superficial purpose. Considering its popularity, maybe that’s all people want nowadays. It’s hard to say.
On a campus so small, it’s impossible for Hoxsey to function like Tinder. That’s also why it’s nearly impossible for Tinder in Williamstown to function as Tinder does in busy, urban spaces where it has worked remarkably well. In New York City, the place I call home, Tinder works because of the nearly constant flow of new people in the city of eight million. It’s easy to hide and to let the comfort of anonymity sweep you into the crowds. If you never text them back or even exchange numbers in the first place, it’s a perfectly executed one-night stand. It’s much easier to ghost somebody if you never have to see them again. That doesn’t work in a small town like Williamstown, though. A student is bound to run into somebody they’ve ghosted, and so the potential discomfort that could arise from an exchange like that stops many students from pursuing either a relationship or a hookup. It’s not fun to see ex-lovers around.
At Williams, it seems so hard to make plans with somebody: “Let’s grab a meal!” they say, but, how often do people actually follow through? We all have so much to do, and finding the time or energy to reach out is often a struggle. Often, Saturdays are the only day that could provide a fun night, losing our sobriety with our friends, and going to a party. It’s fun in itself, I swear. People party because it’s fun, at least for some people. They aren’t always there just to look for a hookup, believe me. Even if the music is low, and people aren’t really dancing, it’s fun to talk to people with their inhibitions lowered.
But for those looking for something more, it’s an interesting dynamic. You could find yourself a random almost-stranger, and go to the dorm of whoever lives closer, but that isn’t necessarily for everybody. The repetition of seeing specific people at these parties means that some bond will start to develop between you two, ambiguous as to whether it’s friendship or something else, and the decision to pursue more begins to linger in the air more powerfully with every encounter. That development is as close as one could get to romance on Hoxsey, I think: a moment of eye contact across the room and the question of whether or not they’ll walk over and talk to you.
I don’t think much means anything on this campus: We’re stressed and tired, and it’d be nice to have the comfort of real love, but I don’t think many of us have the energy for it. Romance, here, seems to exist as a fantasy that we occasionally indulge, comforting like a bite of chocolate or a nicotine buzz, wonderful in the moment, until it’s gone. That’s all we want, I guess.
Victoria Michalska ’22 is from Maspeth, N.Y.