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Haley Brooks & Ali Kokot
Think Twice

Credit: , Hayley Brooks and Ali Kokot, ,

Text received. It’s coded with subtle rhetorical devices and suggestive ellipses. You stare, paralyzed. The pressure mounts. How to respond?

You consult your five besties on strategic extra-consonant placement. How many “y”s is too many? How many minutes do you wait to respond so you don’t seem overzealous?

This is agony. But to what end?

Is waiting three hours to respond really making that guy want you more? Hardly.

Apparently, most men don’t find this at all enticing. Who knew? But herein lies the problem.

According to a recent New York Times article, “On Campus, Opening Up Conversations About Sex,” Harvard University students, like us, hate to admit that they don’t have all the answers to the textbook, let alone the sextbook.

Lack of communication and even miscommunication keep us from getting better acquainted through our phones and ‘twixt the sheets.

Open dialogue between the sexes at Penn is just not happening because the “game” we subscribe to requires crafty disingenuity. But if we don’t stop to see where we’ve flubbed along the way, we’ll stay stuck at a standstill instead of making moves. Yes, those moves. You read our grinding column(s), right?

Plagued by both the multitude of Penn women left dissatisfied and our doubts about the bizarre, calculated behaviors we abide by in the charade of romance, we just had to investigate. So we metaphorically grew a pair and rounded up some Penn men to get some answers.

The reality is that we are confused. Our girlfriends are confused. Boys apparently are also confused. So, accordingly, this column too will probably be confused.

But we’ve tried our best to find some clarity in the muddled mess of misperceptions between guys and gals on campus.

This account doesn’t speak for everyone at Penn, but we tried to get as broad a picture possible. We took your questions and asked the other side for answers.

While we’ve kept our multitude of sources anonymous to allow for the most honest responses to pointed questions, they might just be people you know (or have grinded with). Fostering a dialogue enabled us to reach some conclusions.

We’ve found that guys and girls have remarkably similar quandaries. For instance:

Girl: “Do guys think girls take dates really seriously?”

Guy: “Why do girls at this school act like a date is a marriage proposal?”

Clearly there’s a big disconnect between perceptions and reality.

One male Wharton sophomore said, “Everyone at Penn would benefit from a setting that’s more inclined towards casual dates without the pressure and implication that these will automatically lead to a serious relationship.” A female Wharton sophomore added, “Lord knows DFMO-ing and screaming my major over loud music is not a good way to get to know [me]. So take me on a date!”

Wharton sophomore meet Wharton sophomore? Yentas in the house.

Perhaps the biggest question we encountered was how to handle what we’ve dubbed “the follow up” — the subsequent interaction (or lack thereof) after both platonic and intimate encounters. Call me maybe? But really, why you no call?

From what we found, insecurity is the culprit. “It’s easier to do nothing than get rejected,” one male College junior explained. Whether your intentions are serious or sexy, reaching out — with positive or negative feedback — is a lot more helpful than not responding at all.

Silence only breeds confusion and frustration, perpetuating insecurities.

A male Wharton junior also urged girls to stop waiting and to initiate on their own terms. “It’s really sexist to assume it’s the guy’s job to follow up,” he said. And he’s right! This ain’t the 1950s, y’all.

We would save ourselves a lot of stress if we took a more relaxed approach to romance. As a female College senior explained, “Intimacy is a wonderful thing. Everyone’s just looking for the right person, and there’s a lot of trial and error involved.”

By having some confidence, ditching our phones and communicating face-to-face, we’ll go beyond the game. Then maybe we can all hope to find some love in what Rihanna might have dubbed a hopeless place.

Hayley Brooks and Ali Kokot are College sophomores from Ft. Lauderdale, F.L. and New York, N.Y. respectively. Their email addresses are and Think Twice appears every Tuesday.

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