I don’t remember why I started listening to RadioNow 93.1, Indianapolis’ Top 40 radio station, but I know exactly when. I was nine, and it was the summer after third grade. Before this, I had basically stayed away from pop culture. I didn’t really get it, or like it, and there was a girl in my school who told me she was receiving shots to delay puberty because she had watched too much Britney Spears with her older siblings and it had somehow tricked her body into pressing “skip” over the last part of her pre-preteen years.
“I could really go for a good burger right now,” my friend says in a tone that conveys that a burger would fill not only her stomach, but her soul. She leans against the wall expectantly. All night, she’s been flirting with another friend, a certain kind of guy who likes a certain kind of girl: thin, glossy-haired, and intelligent enough to be a sparkling conversationalist, quick with a comeback, but not necessarily intellectually aggressive enough to call him on any of his bullshit.
Damien* is a frat bro, infamous on the Princeton campus for his trust fund and sexual aggression, and he has something to say. “Write this down,” he says to me. “Damien does not like women.” I ask why not. “Because they’re not cool.” Why not? “Because I can’t relate to them.”
A little story from Susannah’s Preview experience: eyes bright, face flushed, she had decided that her passion was Comparative Literature (it isn’t), and what do you know, there was an open house, at 4:30, in a place called East Pyne. Perfect, she thought, locating “Pyne,” on the map and setting off.
We are a little hung-over, a little loud, a little late. As my friend Giri drives the car up a dusty, unpaved road, my friend Louise and I comment on how rustic the rough wooden fence separating from the field from Princeton Friends Meeting is.
This summer, I lived at the very northern end of the 1 train, in Riverdale, Bronx, New York, place names I’d unpack one by one like parts of matroyshka doll whenever anyone asked. Obviously, getting anywhere and back was a little bit of a pain but it was really fine, very feasible, and especially once my roommate and I figured out the quick changes, the express trains, and the fastest bus routes, the commute became a challenge, an adventure, a training in swiftness and staying cool.
I never sleep well when I am home. This is usually due to physical—not mental—distress: in eighth grade I inherited a three-quarter sized bedframe from the eighteenth century, a Sharpless heirloom that my grandparents wanted to get rid of. Rare is the vendor in this century that sells a mattress fit to its arcane proportions, so my parents threw two futons on it and told me it was temporary.
Metta, you don’t know me, but I know you. And I’ve known you. You were an Indiana Pacer from the time I was 10 to 14 and children in Indiana grow up knowing the names of Pacers the way they know the Pledge of Allegiance. But then when I was in sixth grade you almost strangled a fan at a Detroit Pistons’ game and got yourself traded.
For a class called “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Lives,” that I took last semester, we were tasked with many activities meant to make us aware of what it meant to be a woman, and a woman in a body, and a woman in a body in a society alternatingly fascinated and disgusted with that body.
The Ivy membership has gathered in the library. One by one, they choose who will fill the positions on the club’s officer board: they elect a male president, a male vice-president, a female bicker chair, and a male social chair. One more position remains: house manager.