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.
Alright freshman! It’s been about a month since you’ve arrived here at Swat and while October break is looming, it is never too late to talk about important issues. Important issues that will in fact continue to persist even after we leave, rest, and return to campus anew. Important issues that include that which you were told to absolutely-never-no-NEVER-forever-definitely-not-ever-do: which is, of course, a little thing we call “hallcest”.
No, no! Do not shudder at the sweet sound of “hallcest” as it is said aloud. Do not shy away from those wonderful sibilant sounds: c-c-c-e-s-s-t; they should sound far less terrifying than you’ve been led to believe.
First, allow me to define the various and diverse types of hallcest, with a special focus on, you know, those that I actually have experience with. “Hallcest” encompasses a bucketful of physical, sexual, and emotional interactions with your hall mate(s?) including, but not limited to, kissing, making out, cuddling, hand-holding, doing “the do”, any sort of oral/anal/whathaveyou interactions, groping, fondling, and the most intimidating of them all: dating.
Am I condoning hallcest? You bet I am. And here’s a secret: there is a way to “hallcest”–a recipe, if you will. Unfortunately for you, I can’t say that I have any experience with a committed and monogamous relationship with a hall mate, but I will divulge that there is a certain hallmate of whom I am particularly fond of on an emotional level. We’re still feeling it out, though, in case you were wondering.
I digress. You want to know the recipe, don’t you? Because that certain someone on your hall is pretty bangin’ and you’d love to climb that like a tree but are far too afraid to because of some good ole’ Swat taboo, huh? I’ll get into it.
Step 1: As with any sort of interaction, especially the sexual kind, regardless of your sobriety or lack thereof, get some gosh-darn consent!
Step 1.5: Now, step 1.5 and 2.5 (which comes later) are completely identical. These are definitely the most fun and important part of all your interactions with this person in the present and all future moments to come. Have a conversation with them about how you two will be dealing with this, uh, thing post-hookup.
In my experience, the conversation can be as short as “We aren’t going to make this weird tomorrow, right?”
“Definitely not.” And so it was! If you can’t have a conversation with your hall mate about how you’re going to deal with the aftermath, then you probably (definitely) shouldn’t be engaging in hallcest. These conversations will look different from partner to partner, but the main thing is having full openness and honesty with one another.
Some things that you may want to discuss:
1.) Will this happen again? If you’re not sure, find out if your partner is open to it happening again.
2.) Find out where your hall mate stands emotionally. Are you friends? Do they have a crush on you? If neither of you are romantically interested in the other, are you open to it happening in the future?
3.) If it does become a consistent thing, and take my word for it, it’s all too convenient and often does become a semi-consistent thing, how will you handle it with their/your roommates? (One arrangement that has seemed to work is allowing said roommate to shoot a heads-up text and come grab their keys, wallet, laptop, etc. as they please.)
4.) Will you see other people? If there are any reservations about this, even minor jealousy, talk about it! The best that we can do is be open – resolutions don’t always need to come about, but complete openness is absolutely required.
Step 2: Assuming the two (+?) of you are ready, willing, and able: Go for it. Don’t forget to lock the door! Well, maybe not for hand-holding, but you know what I mean.
Step 2.5: You’ve done the do! See step 1.5. I prefer to do 2.5 rather than 1.5 just because 1.5 can be a definite buzzkill. 1.5 and 2.5 are also optional the following morning, but I’m a firm believer in trying to confront issues immediately upon their encounter.
Step 3: Remember not to leave your stuff in their room! Yes, it’s convenient that they live right there, but trust me, that “you left your bra/underwear/pants/shirt/wallet/whatever” text will not make you feel as awesome as you might think it would.
Step 4: Enjoy your hall mates in any forms that you and they would like to! Hallcest, like any relationship, is one that requires a good deal of communication – if not more than most other relationships.
So, my beautiful, sexual, and emotional friends, we have learned today that hallcest is more than possible to do in a way that will not be awkward or detrimental to either party! Congratulations! You’re now ready and primed for an amazing hallcest experience that will (hopefully) not go awry. The absolute most important thing to remember is that just because a hookup is casual, doesn’t mean that the conversation has to be. Don’t ever be afraid of “scaring them off” because you want to have a substantive conversation about your relationship. And don’t be afraid of the word “relationship”!
“Hallcest.” Say it with me. H-a-l-l-c-e-s-t. Spell it out and say it and do it as much as you’d like. Just be responsible about it!
Happy Hallcesting, friends 🙂
Featured image courtesy of The Huffington Post.