February 24, 2017

A much sadder Philadelphia college sex diary

Earlier in February, Philadelphia magazine published "Philadelphia Sex Diaries," a series of first-person accounts from Philadelphians about their sex lives. One of those accounts, titled "I’m Crushing the College Sex Scene," was written anonymously by a local college student who leads an exciting and active love life. Below is a much less exciting sex diary from a former Philadelphia college student.

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Start with the apartment. Twenty-dollar cologne drenching my wrists, I raise a shot glass along with my three other male roommates to toast with our final drink of bottom-shelf vodka. Justin Bieber’s “Baby” plays loudly on our semi-broken speaker. I didn't pick the music, I swear. It's just us, crammed into unstylish jeans and one of the few collared shirts we own — wrinkled, of course. I check my phone. It's 9:57 p.m. 

"We're going to be way too early if we leave for the bar now," one of us remarks. So, we leave for the bar.

Enter: bar. We look for girls. Maybe those two seated at a window table will invite us to sit with them. Or maybe if we hit the dance floor, the group celebrating their sorority sister's birthday will shimmy their way over to us. Or maybe the flannel-wearing hipster brooding at a table, alone, will want to share a drink and discuss a mutual appreciation for X indie singer whose album you just reviewed for the school paper. 

None of this happens.

Then, out of nowhere, a spark! After two rum and cokes and newfound confidence in my dancing abilities, she breaks off from her circle of friends and approaches. We move in close to each other. She sways in sync and gracefully to the pop song that's been ruined by some junior music major who's DJ-ing. I jerk around across from her, mouthing the lyrics to make myself seem "fun."

She leans in. 

"What's your name?" 

"Dan," I reply, as that is my name. I ask for her number, and she obliges, typing digits into my phone. She leaves, citing an obligation to meet up with her friends, who are standing impatiently by the door and eyeing me with disapproval. I save her in my phone as "Carly." When I call to make sure she has my number, an employee of "Plaza Pizza" answers. An unintentional mistake, I'm sure. When we end up in the same class together next semester, we'll acknowledge that fleeting Friday night moment by never making eye contact and taking strenuous steps to make sure we don't end up in the same group project together.

The night ends with burnt pizza slices and "Law and Order: SVU" on the tube. All four of us roommates navigated different paths to arrive at the same conclusion: alone after 2 a.m. 

"Hey, maybe I could invite those two girls from my Gen Ed science class to pregame with us next weekend," I propose. They'll come...with their boyfriends.

For those who view college through depictions in movies and television, campuses are akin to brothels. For many, more time is spent retelling and exaggerating the handful of sex stories they do have than actually having sex. Most of the time, it didn't matter who we were having it with. Because we weren't having much of it at all.