A couple of weeks ago, it seemed I would experience a run-of-the-mill, regular, no-frills Saturday night at Penn. When I saw a random girl's bare nipples, though, all that changed. My night suddenly wasn't all that average. Like every weekend at Penn, fraternity and house parties ran up and down each block, loud music with a pulsing techno beat echoed off campus, students shivered as they trekked across windy Superblock and girls in black pants watched boys in identical Abercrombie shirts eat mouthfuls of pizza at Allegro's. The boys grunted in appreciation of the pizza, and the girls shrieked at one another (at high decibel levels usually only associated with the screams of dying rabbits) about how cold they were in their tube tops and how they should've worn their leather pants. A guy and a girl screamed through tears as they completed their breakup between Delancey and Pine streets. There was sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. It seemed as if it would be just another weekend night at Penn -- and it probably would've been if I hadn't stepped into one of the fraternity parties on Walnut. As I walked into one room, feeling the pulsing techno beat begin to shatter my rib cage, I looked up, and there they were before my eyes, like overripe melons zealously thrust into a visitor's face in a Moroccan outdoor market: bare naked breasts. Dancing on a table, a girl had lifted up her sweater and bra to reveal to all those present her bare -- and rather cold, I might add -- breasts. For many of us in the room, it was one of our proudest moments as members of the Ivy League. Fair Harvard may have her crimson, Old Yale her colors, too, but for dear old Pennsylvania, we've got gazongas, too. What I and dozens of others experienced that night was a clear case of what one writer once defined as "overshare" -- when people share too much about themselves with people who aren't particularly interested, or when people share information with random people that is inappropriate for the situation. This topless dancer -- someone should tell her she can get paid for that at Wizzard's -- was probably drunk, making her innocent of the crime of conscious overshare. However, her decision to show more than people want to see or know brings to light a problem that plagues Penn: Too Much Information. All over the United States, people are sharing simply too much. My father, a dentist, recently asked a patient how she was doing. She replied with graphic detail describing a medical problem unrelated to her teeth. A friend of mine recently met up with a girl to get some class notes. The girl proceeded to tell my friend how she was in a huge rush because she had to go to her therapist to talk about her feelings about her mother's affair with her family doctor. And I personally realized I had a problem with overshare as I told a group of friends about my toe infection. (Arguably, my sharing this with the entire DP readership is an even greater manifestation of my point.) Granted, this is the Information Age, and if we're embracing information about everything else, why not about each other's personal lives, too? Unfortunately, the Information Age has guided us to a forked road -- great amounts of valuable information on one side, and great amounts of unnecessary information on the other. Not only are we receiving enough information through the Internet to figure out how to assemble a bomb, we are personally willing to give away more information about ourselves than we should -- and to people who don't necessarily want it. It might be time to take the road less traveled by: the road of careful discretion. It just might make all the difference. Can there ever be an end to the dreaded Too Much Information on Penn's campus? Will there be a day when students will not lift up their shirts in front of other students, and man again shall not know overshare? Only time -- and students' discretion -- will tell. But for the meantime, maybe it's time to keep our breasts in our shirts, our infected toes in our shoes and our excessive personal information to ourselves.Comments powered by Disqus
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