Dear Becca: Is it a Thing or just a thing?

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.

My lovely confused, irked, and often clueless Swatties, I, Becca, am your romance and sex guru. My purpose is to answer the questions that your academia-obsessed, sex-deprived, and definitely swoggled friends are too busy or too naïve to answer. Please don’t pre-judge me because I have nothing better to do than give out my seasoned romance and sex advice to a bunch of strangers.

To introduce myself, I will disclose a little knowledge that I gained outside of the classroom.

Whether you spend your Sunday mornings hazily piecing together your weekend or just enjoying a nice Judgment Brunch, you will almost undoubtedly ask and be asked this quintessential Swattie question: Is it a Thing or just a thing?

You see, right now, our vocabulary is pretty limited; you are either

A)        Hooking Up. But I Mean Like Really, Really Just Hooking Up. Like you don’t even talk. Just a thing.
B)        Like, a Total Thing. Swat Married True Love Forever See You At The Wedding.

These are our standards for relationships in college—nothing or everything. But honestly, as awesome as it would be, very few of us have been privileged enough to feel such cookie cutter emotions. We are all besieged by one or several Great Somethings that fall somewhere along the spectrum called the in between.

Warning: If you secretly fantasize about the day when you and your lovebuddy will join into the great list of Quaker Matchbox couples, while they simply have the intention of hooking up with any willing partner on the Paces dance floor until Last Collection, its time to fess up—to yourself and your other. Convincing yourself that you too can go without “feelings” if you can’t is dangerous. It will only compromise your happiness. And your dignity. Not to mention it will mean semester after semester of uber-awkward Sci Commons run-ins to follow.

So I offer you an enlightened solution that I observed from “the world” (a place that exists beyond the Crum): dating. Think about it: dinners here and there, going to Philly for a night of Slam Poetry, and distracting study sessions. And all of it with, wait for it, several people. Why not?! My grandma had a different date every other Saturday night, and if there was someone she deemed as suitable to go steady with, then she would do so. Why must we restrict ourselves to mindless hooking up or premature love?

I concede that there are flaws with my proposal, (feelings of possession, jealousy, etc.) However, that’s simply because we’re socially conditioned to remain within the existing realms of “romantic” Swat life, and are pre-disposed to anticipating such feelings. But I challenge all of you to ask someone out without the expectations of sex or love. Perhaps our swawkwardness and aggressive attitude towards academics have influenced how we approach relationships. Come on Swatties, transcend above that. Between your self-loathing and narcissism, you try to find a middle ground, right? Apply that to dating.

We haven’t known each other long, but have some faith in me. I dwell amongst you. I am one of you. The difference between you and I is that I’m anonymous and I tell you how it is.
Try dating.

Yours truly,


PS: If you’ve got a romance or sex question you want answered, leave it anonymously in a comment below. I’ll do my best to tell you what you need to know to get your satisfaction.

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