Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Unlike college orientation, grad school's opening events involve a whole lot of meeting people you'll never, ever see again. Not even the following morning, on the post-Psi U Bud Lite-fest "walk of shame."

So far, my impression of my fellow grad students is that they are all a) female, b) attractive, c) staunchly heterosexual, and d) in Masters, not PhD, programs. I definitely fall under a) and c), if all goes according to plan not under d), and b) is in the eye of the beholder. That said, no two people (well, women) at the opening grad student "coffeehouse" seemed to study the same thing. There was a girl in drama education, another in biological anthropology, another in social work, another in... who knows, but really no one likely to ever find herself in class with any of the rest of us. Where the other PhD students were I'll never know. I heard that somewhere, there was a male math PhD student, and I'm sure wherever he was, he was enjoying himself.

OK, to be fair, there was a small cluster of boys, divided between the socially-unskilled and thus talking with other boys and the beyond-flaming and thus doing the same... But in any case, aside from those of both sexes I met at the open house last spring, who seemed quite awesome, I have yet to meet any of my actual classmates.

I did have some lovely chats with some other NYU newbies, but not a single number or email address was exchanged among us. This is, perhaps, the sad truth about heterosexuality, it makes it tougher, at a certain point in life, to make new friends of the same sex. For lack of any common academic interests, the one thing that's been known to trump this problem, once the inevitable "gosh it costs a lot to live in NYC" discussion had been dealt with, the subject of boys arose, and it became clear that what facebook refers to as "relationship status" was probably the subject we could all stay on the longest. (My facebook relationship is with "The Italian Soccer Team," and under the category, "It's Complicated," because my relationship with the Italian soccer team is complicated by the fact that they do not, in fact, know who I am.)

I remember, in middle school, at girls' school, getting passionately furious or thrilled about ups and downs in my clique, and my parents told me that one day I'd feel that way about relationships with boys. They guessed right, but what they didn't tell me was the corrollary, that one day I wouldn't care what any girl other than those in a very small subset of close friends (and, were she alive, Hannah Arendt, who probably counted as a "woman" upon birth) thinks of me. That, more than anything, is sexual orientation. One sex is just plain more interesting than the other, not just to sleep with, but to talk to, drink with, whatever. Blessed, then, are the bi. Aside from societal discrimination and all that.


Anonymous said...

minus 10 JAP points for this post

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

That's harsh--where do I go to get the points back? I don't know of any more Intermix sales, there'd better be one at Scoop or something...

Miss Self-Important said...

It's very important to pause often in life and ask, "What would Hannah Arendt think?" It's more important than "What would Hannah Arendt do?" for obvious reasons, unless you're pausing just before jumping into bed with Heidegger.