Screw Blues

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

To the Duchess of Swarthmore, Esq., PhD, OB/Gyn,

Screw is coming up and I am terrified! As much as I love my roommate, I’m not sure if I trust them to set me up with someone I can tolerate for a whole night! Think of the awkward silences! The knots in my stomach! The painful conversation! I simply have to know beforehand so that I am prepared. The anxiety is tearing me apart. Is it ok for me to force my roommate to tell me who my Screw date is?

-Screwing with My Psyche

Dear SMP,

My answer to this depends on several factors. First of all, are you a freshman? If you are, then no, it is not OK. If you’re gonna do Screw, you gotta play by the rules for at least your first time around. Honestly, that’s the fun (or something) of it all; all the awkwardness, all the stomach trouble, all the anxiety, it’s all part of the experience (which is why I’ve chosen to never participate).

To prepare yourself, first of all, hope that you haven’t pissed off your roommate so much that they want revenge. Then, imagine the worst person imaginable being your Screw date. You know, that person that you just can’t stand who was in your FYS and made irrelevant and inane comments so often that there came a point where you just wanted to pull their arm right off and hit them in the face with it. Or that person you hooked up with at DU at the first Gin Bucket Monday of the semester who turned out to have a significant other back home and failed to mention it until after they told you that they wanted a relationship and that hooking up with you was a huge mistake.

Expect to find yourself as the target-marked deer to their precision rifle. That way, when you actually get there, and (hopefully) it’s not that person, you will be so relieved that you will actually be delighted to see your Screw date.

If you’re not a freshman, well, it depends on how much it would offend your roommate, S/he might be really offended that you don’t trust him/her enough to set you up with someone that you’ll absolutely loathe. I can just hear the conversation: “Don’t you trust me? Do you think I don’t know you at all? Are you saying that we haven’t connected at all over the past six months? You bitch! I thought we were friends! I’m talking to Rachel Head and asking for a room change. Good luck filling my position with someone who won’t bring the ML mice with them. I hate you! . . .” Friendship is awesome.

It also depends on how awful your previous experiences have been. If you’ve been in hell for 2 straight years, I’d say sure, screen your Screw date so you can call in sick if needed.

Best of luck, and, if things end up going sour, you can always take the advice I gave to the two other inquiries below.

If all else fails, get drunk. Yup. I said it.

-The Duchess of Swarthmore, Esq., PhD, OB/Gyn

To the Duchess of Swarthmore, Esq., PhD, OB/Gyn,

Screw has never gone well for me. I begged my friends not to screw me with anyone this year, but they insisted that I try again. However, I refuse to suffer through another miserable night with someone that I simply cannot stand to be within 20 feet of, to say nothing of slow dancing with them in Upper Tarble. If I locate my Screw date in Sharples and I know that it will be a horrible night, how do I pretend that said person is not my date? My costume will give me away! How can I pretend not to be the match?

-Losing a Screw…Date

Dear LSD,

Screw would just not be Screw if we didn’t stand up our dates every now and then. Solution number one: if your friend set you up with this person, remind them that their job is to Screw you, not screw you over. Drive your point home by punishing them. Make them wear your costume for you and push them out of the bathroom in Sharples. Then bolt.

Images by Allison McCarthy

Solution number two: if your friend made a genuine mistake. Even I can admit that some people really mean no harm, they just don’t know what to do. Here is what you need to do. This takes some planning, but it could be your saving gracing. Plant another friend wearing a costume that matches yours in Sharples. If things are looking bad with your date, run over to said friend. If any questions are asked, point out how perfectly your costumes match and that there is no way anyone else could be your Screw date. People might know you’re bullshitting it all, but it would be too much of a scene for them to continue to call you out on it, though I may be mistakenly giving people the benefit of the doubt.

Yes, your date will be crushed, but, all’s fair in love and war. And Screw.

-The Duchess of Swarthmore, Esq., PhD, OB/Gyn

To the Duchess of Swarthmore, Esq., PhD, OB/Gyn,

There comes a point at Screw that many of us have encountered: the moment where you just need out. Badly. Please share your wisdom; how does one cut and run?

-Screw This

Dear ST,

This is a classic Screw scenario, indeed. Luckily, it is easy to deal with. After all, you do have that essential time slot between that uber-romantic Sharples dinner and the swanky Screw Formal in Upper Tarble. That is the time when everyone who isn’t in a living hell is excitedly telling their roommate what a great time they’re having as they get all gussied up for the big dance.

So, instead of strategically dressing for a pleasant night of platonic dancing or a night of wild passion, you need to cut yourself off from your Screw date as if you’ve suddenly died. Turn your phone off. Hole yourself up in your room with a bottle of cheap vodka and drink till you pass out. Injure yourself badly enough that you need to be taken to Worth. Just like in elementary and high school, the nurse is always a surefire way to get out of any sort of obligation. Hide out in the Crum. Dress like a Ville Rat and camouflage yourself among them in the Swarthmore Laundromat.

Whatever you do, don’t show your face in Upper Tarble, because unless your date has gotten trashed already and can’t tell you from a monkey, it might get awkward. And you don’t want that.

-The Duchess of Swarthmore, Esq., PhD, OB/Gyn

The Phoenix