Dear Ephelia

Ephelia Ephelia

What does it mean when someone likes your Instagram story? Please advise.

When I like an Instagram story, it means that I like the story. The cadre of my Instagram story likers, however, suggests something different. To get to the bottom of this, I conducted a statistically robust poll (an Instagram story question box) asking people the same question you asked me. 

Responses included: “game recognizes game”; “it’s a man’s lame attempt at flirting”; “they want to be your friend!”; a lot of variations of “it depends”; “sex solicitation, I think”; “they wanna rump with a real gyal”; and several astute observations that “it means they like your story.” Just as the responses varied, so does the meaning of a story like. It is plausible that it is someone trying to slide, or that they simply like what you posted, but you be the judge.  

How far off campus do I need to go in order to gossip without needing to do the Williams swivel?

There is certainly a correlation between how far you are from campus and how likely you are to run into someone else who goes to the College. That’s not to say distance is the only thing you should consider when deciding to do the Williams swivel. A place like PUBLIC eat+drink, which is in North Adams, over five miles from campus, is frequented by students more than The Airport Rooms, which is only about two miles away. Furthermore, in places that are hundreds of miles away, like New York and Boston, the odds of running into a fellow Eph are never zero. So, unless you’re in remote North Dakota, it is a good rule of thumb to check your surroundings before running your mouth — the panopticon in praxis. 

Dear Ephelia, what are your thoughts on beards? I am considering growing mine out, but I am concerned it might scare away women. 

Many internet users have pointed out that beards function as makeup for men. They change your entire face shape, sometimes for the better and other times for the worse — and until you have one, you won’t know which category you fall into. Running the risk of looking like an Old Testament prophet is just one of the many dangers that accompany growing a beard.

According to the intermediate value theorem, you can’t go from clean shaven to bearded instantaneously. The road from point a to point b is a treacherous, patchy, and uneven one whose end is nowhere in sight. You are going to look crusty, and there’s no telling for how long. 

Another key consideration is beard burn, which is a very real thing. Friction from facial hair is like exfoliation from hell, and your options include (1) kissing badly, (2) wearing a ski mask with a hole, and (3) lubing your face. If I had to guess, this is going to turn away some romantic prospects — at least it would send me running in the other direction. 

Most women probably will not be enthused by a beard, but there is someone out there for everyone. Do what makes you happen because, at the end of the day, beauty is in the eye of the be(ard)holder. 

My boyfriend and I have been dating since the start of this school year, and he recently asked me if we could have an open relationship for the summer. I vehemently do not want that, but I don’t know what to do or what to make of his request. Please help. 

Another name for what your boyfriend wants is permission to cheat. It is worth expressing your feelings to him, but do not do something that makes you unhappy because you love him. Plenty of people want monogamy like you. Save yourself the sexually transmitted diseases, and find someone who will give you what you deserve.

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