Stop Looking for the Glass Slipper

Scene: you’re chilling with your guy friends, chatting in the dining hall about contrived ethical thought experiments, or working through a power hour at a pregame. The night is middle aged and everyone is feeling pretty good. Now enter a hot girl: blonde, boobs, babe. All of a sudden, the dynamics have changed. It’s no longer just about drinking beer and having fun. It’s about the girl, and what you can say to make her laugh, whether she likes one of the other guys, how you can impress her with your manliness. Suddenly, nothing less than a “your place or mine” at the end of the night seems quite sufficient. And if the clock chimes two and there’s not even a glass slipper left behind, the whole evening is ruled disappointing.

I’ve always seen this as one of the bigger deficiencies of the Harvard (and more generally the college) social scene, that, crudely put, it’s motivated by sex. This is true not only of Mather Lather and Incest Fest, but also those events deemed more classy.

As a solution to this problem, I propose desexualization. Stop viewing the goal of a party where ten guys are playing beer pong and two girls are holding court as hooking up with one of the girls. Instead, establish rapport with the guys. Complain about professors, summer jobs, or the piece of code that won’t compile. Dominate at flip cup. Bro out.

Conversely, if you’re a girl at a final club on one of those nights when they’re well-stocked with sorority types, don’t make it the point of the evening to corner a beefy lacrosse player. Dance with your girlfriends, help yourself to the free booze, and try not to throw up on any Picassos.  Too frequently, we judge the success of our nights out by how many strangers we drunkenly grope, but why? Focusing on members of our own sex can be just as productive.

And once you’ve stopped thinking of every social event as a meat market, you’ll be more relaxed, more natural, less awkward. The same qualities that make you popular and personable with your bros or girlfriends make you attractive to members of the opposite gender. The paradoxical upside of desexualizing is that you actually end up having more sex.