My two-hour class on gender and sexuality begins with a lecture, conducted by a woman professor I really admire, and then divides off into discussion groups for the second half. My original group was a pretty awesome experience for me, because for the first time in my life, I was a religious minority among my peers. The girl to my right was Buddhist, a couple of girls were Jewish, one was a practicing Catholic, some were atheists, some agnostic, some apathetic. I looked forward to meeting with them because we had in common our tolerance and interest in the subject. Well, we just finished the midterm, so the class was divided into new discussion groups this afternoon. Ugh.
While everyone else in my new group seems interesting and nice, it took about five minutes for me to realize that I'm probably just not going to see eye-to-eye with one of the boys. To begin, we went around the circle and introduced ourselves by our names and majors, and I heard a bit of a giggle-snort come from the boy's corner when I announced that I'm studying Creative Writing. I ignored the laugh, because I know that my major sounds unrealistic and frivolous, and I've gotten used to the fact. But it was hard for me to not shoot a "What the hell?" expression his way when the boy told our group that his major is Studio Art. But I let it go, figuring I'd probably imagined his response.
Once we got past the get-ta-know-ya phase, my group jumped right into a fascinating rapport about our views on marriage, most of us saying that we have at least substantial interest in someday having a nuclear family (or a secure family with committed same-sex parents), and that we strive, ideally, to not need divorces. That's when the boy stated that, while he does believe in marriage and wants to get married someday, he thinks we put too much emphasis on the impossible concept of monogamy, because it's against human nature to never "read the menu." The rest of us agreed that, yes, there's nothing wrong with looking at the "sexiest men alive" in magazines, and that eventually, everybody will have some kind of secret lust within themselves. The boy pushed his point further, though, to say that there's nothing wrong with scattered infidelity. Again, the majority of us said that should such a problem come up in our own marriages, we would probably be able to work through it sensibly according to our situations, and would not necessarily immediately leave, but that we don't believe it's okay. "A moment of weakness that shakes up our married life is an obstacle," said the girl next to me, "but if my husband cheats on me more than once, he can go off and deal with that problem somewhere far away from me." I laughed and agreed. The boy rolled his eyes.
"Everybody falls off the boat sometimes," he said. "Think of how many one-night stands you have. You can't expect people to just turn that off when they get married."
"I don't have one-night stands," I responded, "and I don't plan to marry someone who does. Or, at least, I'm not going to marry someone who hasn't grown out of that stage. I think some people can be happy having sex within relationships or for fun their whole lives, and more power to them, but they shouldn't be promising themselves to one person, forever, if they don't mean it."
That set him off. "Everyone makes mistakes in the heat of the moment. What if your husband goes out and gets drunk and accidentally hooks up with a stranger?"
"Actually," I said, doing a pretty good job at keeping my cool, but starting to get a little heated on the inside, "a lot of time goes into the act of cheating, and he has plenty of chances to stop himself. More importantly, I don't want to marry the kind of man who goes out and gets blackout drunk without me frequently enough that he can allow curiosity to turn into action without considering his wife."
"That's unrealistic," he said.
"Maybe it is for some people in some circumstances," I answered, "and I'm not judging them. I'm just saying that from where I stand, with no attachments to anybody, I want to pick someone who goes beyond society's low expectations!"
He simple rolled his eyes, exhausted, and class was dismissed.
Siiiiiigh. It's awfully fun to get into debates like that, and by "awfully fun," I mean both fun and awful. I had so much bottled-up energy after class that I walked around campus to cool off and relayed the discussion to my mom over the phone. My mom is super conservative, and therefore she gets a kick whenever her "artsy free-spirit" youngest daughter displays any hint of traditionalism. Truth be told, though, I don't subscribe to either mindset. I don't believe in ultimate black-and-white values for all people everywhere, but I also don't think some right-wing ideas are disgusting and wrong just because they're old. Either way, I love how college is an environment designed to help people like me figure life out, and as frustrating as my little debate was, I feel totally exhilarated. Yaaay, college!
Sexy: The fact that I've finagled the prompt for my Mass Media paper enough that I get to write it about blogging and YouTube. The first author listed in my bibliography is one Mr. Alan Lastufka. I know I shouldn't feel devious, as it's a perfectly justified topic and Alan's book is a perfectly credible source, but it still seems like I'm getting away with something!
Unsexy: The fact that I'm homesick for my parents. It became apparent to me during today's discussion that fathers like mine-- ones that play an equal part in raising their kids, and stick around for all time-- are really rare. I'm so lucky.
Chipotle burritos this year: 32
Bagel Street visits this school year: 4
Bye, guys! Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow. <3