I embarrassed myself a lot when I was sixteen

7 mins read
Photo by Ashlen Sepulveda

My Ride the Tide was a disaster. Honestly, there are only two reasons I ended up coming here: some freshmyn gave me my first bong hits before the activities fair and I applied Early Decision. RTT, thinking back on it, was the most embarrassing display of how awful I was in high school. You may think this has nothing to do with a sex and relationships column, but I promise it’s relevant, so bear with me a second.

There was this kid on my class Facebook page whose ego convinced him he was a model, so he had all these hot photoshopped pictures public for the world to see. To avoid being too huge an asshole, I’ll call him Ted. We’d been chatting over Facebook (I know, I was tragic) and I’d convinced myself I was into the sanitized and sugar sweet online persona I’d been interacting with. I, horny, sixteen and recently dumped, decided it would be a great idea to waste money and air miles on a flight to Swarthmore to “meet” him. I honestly am so ashamed of myself for coming to an admitted students event to get laid, but unfortunately it happened.

Needless to say I failed miserably, and ended up sitting in the Crum trying to comfort Ted for his sob story that we really didn’t know each other enough for him to share. I made one friend who didn’t even end up coming here (RIP Chrys Tran), and spent the rest of my time around people who really didn’t seem to like me (I don’t blame them) as I trailed Ted in hopes of acknowledgement. The true highlight, which I only learned once I got to Swarthmore, was that Ted spent the night “chatting” to some other spec — I was literally shoving biscuits into my mouth ranting about him to said one friend as he hooked up with some random dude under the stars. The whole experience was a cross between an angsty teenage diary and a melodramatic daytime soap opera.

The reasons why I came to RTT, and the futility of the endeavour, reflected many of my hopes and expectations for college as a whole. I very much expected a steady flow of wild hook-ups that led into a perfectly quaint little relationship. Even if I aspired to either of these two things anymore, I’ve now realised neither is truly foreseeable, for reasons I’ve been ranting about for too long now (specs, long story short is I think this school is tiny and we’re disillusioned). So what do I think people really can expect from RTT and Swarthmore in general?

Specs, take this advice if you were anything like me: calm yourselves. Take your thirsty-ass expectations and shove them in the same closet as your Middle School skeletons: you’ll soon realize they’re pretty similar. Any sort of romantic or sexual interaction you have in the next 48 hours will be either profoundly mortifying by the day after or by the time you graduate college. The only exception is for those of you who know you’re not coming here: if you know you’ll never see this place again, fuck some stranger and have fun with it if that’s what you’re into. I, along with most of the student body, recommend the Crum at this time of year, but a Kohlberg classroom is always a classic. If you’re worried about your high school partner, don’t worry — you’re probably one of the majority for whom that will dissolve before the first semester of college ends.

As for the rest of your time at Swarthmore: expect little, but hope for more, I guess. I’ve found this school delightfully underwhelming, like a bowl of cocoa puffs that doesn’t actually make you more full. You might have a mildly regretful hook up with an upperclassman your first semester that happened just because they were an upperclassman, or develop crushes with a person a week during orientation because you assumed you were that person who would find their true love their first week of college — update: I’m not that person and neither are you. If you’re lucky, you’ll find someone really hot your first week of freshman spring who just got back from abroad, and get street cred for the rest of your time here by hooking up with them a couple of times. The highlight of your sex life will probably be marked by a particular public location you’re given an orgasm in. These are all the things you have to look forward to in college, as well as for a minority of you a more-or-less successful relationship. Those are more obscure to me.

Overall, this place isn’t so bad. You get a good laugh out of most things, sometimes a good fuck. I know I haven’t necessarily made it sound like this place is worth it, but give it a try I’d reckon. This place definitely has a few things going for it. If, as for me, RTT isn’t out working for you, hit me up: I could smoke you up if worse comes to worse, the campus is so green in the spring anyway.


1 Comment

  1. Just read your article, Tom. I was laughing nervously while reading it because it is well-written and brings back a lot of embarrassing memories for me too. Thank goodness we have both matured and learned some lessons the hard way so that we are not the same people we were back at Ride the Tide. I am honored that you thought my photoshopped pictures were “hot” and worth flying across the Atlantic ocean for, but I also want to apologize again for how I treated you at Ride the Tide. Nobody is perfect and everyone makes mistakes, and I hope after more than 2 years you can forgive me. I wish you all the best for your remaining years at Swarthmore. Sincerely, Ted.

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