The first months of freshman year went by so quickly. I hooked up with the guy who became my boyfriend within days of arriving on campus, and my friends and I managed to garner the attention of what seemed like every other guy on campus. We even created a detailed 16-point hook-up scale so that we could tabulate our successes the previous evening (we posted these on the whiteboard outside of our room until the neighbors started to catch onto our system). Looking back on it, we probably devoted more time to our social calendar than to our class schedule. We felt, quite simply, like some of the hottest things on campus and we were ready to live it up.
I vividly remember a conversation I had with a senior on the cross-country team that fall that foreshadowed my future at Princeton. It was the night of the Cap Toga-Foam party, and I was with one of the most beautiful, trendy, and popular girls on campus. As we got ready for the party together, and she showed me how to craft my toga in the sexiest way possible, she began to lament her old age. “Enjoy the attention while it lasts,” she warned me. “There’s a reason why all of the upperclassmen girls are single or practically engaged.” I had heard this spiel from other girls before, but I was convinced that her words were false modesty.
Fast-forward two years: I’m talking with some of the same girls with whom I concocted the 16-point hook-up scale about how we feel like washed-up and unwanted upperclassmen girls. We gained the freshmen 15 and fell in popularity (although I believe these phenomena are unrelated). We lost the attention of our male peers – those that we thought we were too good for only two years earlier. To make matters worse, the number of datable guys shrunk by a quarter – what self-respecting girl would date a younger guy?
To add to the humiliation, one of the sophomore guys on the cross-country team decided to throw a party – an exclusive party – during the first week of preseason. Enter the mind of this (scheming) guy: Upperclassmen guys: Competition; Upperclassmen girls: Waste of time. This set the tone for the first weeks of school.
All our guy friends talk about now are the freshmen girls – how hot they are, how easy they are. At lawnparties, my roommate and I were left standing alone as a group of our guy friends went swarming after a group of hot freshmen girls. When some other guy friends were planning a room party a few weeks later, one of them commented “invite the freshmen girls. It’ll be like shooting fish in a fishbowl.” Was there any talk of inviting the junior or senior girls? I’ll let you guess.
I swear I was hot when I was 16. I was skinny, hipless, and innocent looking – all the vogue of today. Too bad I wasn’t legal. This really seems to make 18 the pinnacle of attractiveness: still relatively skinny, hipless, and innocent (but finally legal).
Now we are largely disregarded by Princeton guys. When I’m being passed over by the older guys at the street for a budding freshman girl, sometimes I just want to seduce a nubile freshmen boy. But, then I realize that it just isn’t worth the effort – they may be easy, but I doubt they’re any good.
I think there’s a good explanation behind these guys’ behavior. We largely ignored them freshmen year. We sought the attention of the older, wiser, and cooler upperclassmen guys. Most of us had dates to winter formals and houseparties while the freshmen boys were left to their own devices. We simply thought we were too cool for them and now they are either just forever scared of striking out or set on getting payback.
Besides missing the attention, I’m not very upset about getting passed over. I like to think a lot of us have just learned from our past mistakes and drunken encounters. But maybe we’ve just learned that Princeton guys aren’t really worth it. And as the wise Max Kenneth once said: “They aren’t worth it with their button-down shirts, and their smug grins, and their quaffed hair, and their little girl fetishes.”