Columns / Discourse / April 15, 2009

Ulti-MATE-um

As the weather finally, FINALLY approaches ideal and the hems of our clothing progressively rise with the mercury in the thermometer, an annual phenomenon will begin to take place. I am as powerless to stop it as any of you are, and unlike prejudices and STDs, becoming wise to it will not prevent it. It’s spring, everyone. Anyone happen to know just what blossoms in springtime? If your answer was “the frolicking of the birds and bees,” I’m afraid you’re all too correct.

Yes, a sore need for vitamin D is soon to lure us all outdoors, dragging our sizeable libidos behind us like a ball and chain. Once under the sun, we’re all bound to take a look at a colleague’s smattering of freckles or a former suitemate’s windswept locks. The warmth of the season puts us all on display: in the animal kingdom, one might sport bright plumage or a seductive mating call to ensnare a choice specimen. Likewise, the Illinois plains swarm with lace-trimmed camisoles and the whoops of a successfully caught Frisbee. That heat breeds amorous behaviors isn’t exactly a new find; why else would every MTV show stay within a 25-mile radius of Newport Beach? Unfortunately enough for us Illinois-dwellers, the spike in our pheromones is quite the discovery every spring, following a winter longer than we can remember.

Once successful in the hunt, the two adolescents are decidedly bound. Where to go from here is the most difficult choice the male and female (or any gender combination therein) will make, for in our environment of 1400, sentiments of competition will surely arise. Luckily, an elaborate system of carefully chosen labels aids the pair in their journey to phase two. Are they “dating”? “Together”? “Hanging Out”? “Friends”? “FriendLY”? All of this must factor into their decision.

Within the confined and intimate atmosphere of the greater campus, once a title is selected, it cannot be revoked or forgotten. Each public moment the two share shall be, to some degree, documented and discussed. Thus, it is such a weighty ultimatum that many are driven away from ever making the commitment they may desire. I’m not advising each of us to pair off like lab rats by any means, but what sort of habitat is it when every student ricochets freely off the next – molecules in a gaseous state?

It’s time to make some selections, people. The temperature is coming up fast, a magnet to our hormones. Will we opt for the path of vehement commitment? Will we cast it all off for a Grease-esque summer lovin’ and have us a blast? The beauty of this decision is that it’s ours, exclusively, and each of us is free to choose a customized course of action. It’s simply important that we declare some sort of definitive verdict, rather than waffling like the Oak Room on breakfast night.

The bad news? It’s still a small place. Your decisions WILL be seen, whatever they may be, and by more people than you think.

Marnie Shure


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