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COUNTERPOINT the wellesley college journal of campus life april 2016 volume 45 issue 3 special 25th anniversary edition: triple issue


COUNTERPOINT

THE WELLESLEY COLLEGE JOURNAL OF CAMPUS LIFE APRIL 2016 Volume 45 / Issue 3

CECILIA NOWELL & EMMA REGAN

4

LIGHT, METAPHOR: ON THE SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES

KATELYN CAMPBELL

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TO RUN OR NOT TO RUN: A CAUTIONARY TALE

ANONYMOUS

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THE SIX STAGES OF DATING AGE-INAPPROPRIATE MEN

GENAE MATTHEWS

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WHY YOU SHOULD LOVE THE LITTLE BRICK HOUSE

CLELLIE MERCHANT

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I HAVE A CRUSH ON YOU

COUNTERPOINT STAFF

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CROSSWORD: DAD JOKES

HANNA DAYTENEROWICZ & CECILIA NOWELL

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31 THINGS THAT FOUR YEARS ON COUNTERPOINT GAVE US: A FOND FAREWELL FROM THE GRADUATING EDITORSIN-CHIEF

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POLL: STRAIGHTNESS BY CLASS YEAR

COUNTERPOINT STAFF

IDENTITY ANONYMOUS

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FEMININITY

LAURA MAYRON

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SPOONFULS OF RAINBOW

MEGAN LOCATIS

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WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE ASEXUAL?

ANONYMOUS

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GRAY SP-ACE: ON CONSENT AND ASEXUALITY

ANONYMOUS

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PUBES / VELLO PÚBICO

ANONYMOUS

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A FEAR OF ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

M E N TA L H E A LT H ANONYMOUS

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YOU DO NOT HAVE TO WALK ON YOUR KNEES

Cover: Christy Galloway ’17

CAMPUS LIFE


A R T S & C U LT U R E ROZA TRILESSKAYA

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THE GREEN DOG AT THE CAT CIRCUS

OLIVIA FUNDERBURG

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ON LADY MIDNIGHT: FAVORITE BOOKS OLD AND NEW

ALLYSON LARCOM

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ONCE MORE WITH GUSTO!

RACHEL THOMMEN

30

THE AMERICAN DISGRACE: WHERE’S THE NEAREST MCDONALDS

CLIO FLIKKEMA

32

WHEN I THINK ABOUT THE CITY

EMMA STELTER

34

EXACT CHANGE

MS. COUNTERPOINT

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IT HAPPENED TO ME: MY HOUSING HORROR STORY

HANNAH DAVELMAN

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THE PROPHECIES SPOKE OF THIS

S AT I R E

E D I TO R I A L S TA F F Editors-inChief

Cecilia Nowell ’16 Hanna Day-Tenerowicz ’16 Olivia Funderburg ’18

Staff Editors

Chloe Williamson ’16 Bindu Nicholson ’16 Allyson Larcom ’17 Urvashi Singh ’17 Lara Brennan ’18 Rachele Byrd ’18 Jasmine Kaduthodil ’18 Molly Hoyer ’18 Astrid Mobley ’18 Parul Koul ’19 Samantha English ’19 Kelechi Alfred-Igbokwe ’19 Tiffani Ren ’19

D E S I G N S TA F F Art Director

Jayne yan ’16

Layout Editors Ale Escamilla Saldaña ’18 Midori Yang ’19 Roz Rea ’19

B U S I N E S S S TA F F Treasurer

Hannah Davelman ’16

C O N T R I BU TO R S

Roza Trilesskaya ’16, Olivia Funderburg ’18, Allyson Larcom ’17, Rachel Thommen ’17, Clio Flikkema ’17, Emma Stelter ’16, Hannah Davelman ’16, Cecilia Nowell ’16, Emma Regan ’16, Katelyn Campbell ’17, Genae Matthews ’19, Clellie Merchant ’18, Laura Mayron ’16, Megan Locatis ’16, Christy Galloway ’17, Colleen Sullivan ’17, Nadine Franklin ’18, Midori Yang ’19, Hanna Day-Tenerowicz ’16, Elle Friedberg ’17

TRUSTEES Oset Babur ’15, Alison Lanier ’15, Matt Burns MIT ’05, Kristina Costa ’09, Brian Dunagan MIT ’03, Kara Hadge ’08, Edward Summers MIT ’08

SUBMISSIONS

The views expressed in Counterpoint do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff. Counterpoint invites all members of the Wellesley community to submit articles, letters, and art. Email submissions to ofunderb@wellesley.edu and cyu3@wellesley. edu. Counterpoint encourages cooperation between writers and editors but reserves the right to edit all submissions for length and clarity.

SUBSCRIPTIONS One year’s subscription: $25. Send checks and mailing address to:

Counterpoint, Wellesley College 106 Central Street Wellesley, MA. 02481


CAMPUS LIFE

light, metaphor

BY CECILIA NOWELL & EMMA REGAN

L

et there be light. It’s the beginning of creation according to JudeoChristian tradition, and the beginning of a story which stretches down for generations. It’s not only the beginning of the biblical creation myth, but also the beginning of storytelling. As God speaks, so the universe is created. Naturally, it’s a theme that reappears in literature: light becomes a symbol of rational thought, of creative spark. Writers become creators as they too imagine worlds with their language, and bring their stories to life inside the pages of books.

A photon is a quantum of light. It’s best described by a wavefunction, which tells about its properties probabilistically. A huge amount of research is devoted to light—efficiently converting it to electricity using photovoltaic cells, entangling photons over long distances for quantum computation, and designing materials that interact with light in unexpected and unnatural ways. We use light to learn about our world, from discovering distant galaxies to understanding fundamental nanoscale interactions. Light lets us learn.

———————

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counterpoint / april 2016

It turns out light is an important theme in both literature and physics, or at least that’s what we’d say in the humanities. We make a funny pair. The physicist and the writer. Our friendship is based in Billy Collins poems, science blog posts, and cats. Though we don’t take the same classes or work on the same assignments, we share the same values and curiosity. We’ve built a friendship on sharing our passions, yet recognize that interdepartmental compassion of this kind seems to be a dying species. We’ve noticed a disturbing trend at Wellesley where students tend to segregate themselves into students who do psets or students who write essays, students who live in the Science Center or

Image: Emma Regan ’16

on the sciences and humanities


students who live in Clapp. It’s far too often that we hear science majors complaining about how easy humanities majors have it, or humanities majors ranting that science majors are chasing after stability rather than a passion. On separate occasions, we’ve both felt that the student body jumps to conclusions based on our field: either “I’m so excited for fall break, especially as a science major” to invalidate the humanities or “Oh you study physics? I hate physics” to distance themselves from science. But here’s the thing: we go to a liberal arts college for good reasons. Part of the spirit of a liberal arts education is learning from your peers and embracing curiosity across fields. Brunch conversations about photonics give Cecilia a better understanding of the way the world works just like late night wine talks over books give Emma perspective on the way people think. Just because you don’t plan on taking ten physics classes in your life, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a conversation about it. Your peers’ interests don’t have to be your interests for them to be important. As a community that emphasizes siblinghood, we normally show so much support for each other’s personal growth,

and could turn that support into further excitement about each other’s intellectual decisions. It is not only incredibly important for us to support each other’s endeavors as fellow learners, thinkers, and friends, but also as feminists. As Wellesley’s recentlyestablished campaign for the Humanities demonstrates, humanities enrollment has declined by fourteen percent in the last seven years, and continues to do so across the nation. But at the same time, women make up only 20% of physics PhD students and national enrollment in subjects like physics has also declined in recent years. Especially at a college that claims to be a feminist space, we must support our peers in their choices and endeavors academically. Our choice to be present in academia, whatever the subject, is powerful. Our curiosity about the world, whether through physics or literature, gives women a voice. Even though we’ve both griped about having to take distribution requirements, we’ve walked away from classes outside our disciplines with new knowledge and greater perspective. That isn’t to say though that all cross-departmental learning happens inside the classroom. At such

a small school, much of our learning happens outside lecture halls or labs, in the spaces we share with our peers. Late night “study-parties” turned “just-parties” can be as illuminating (and perhaps more fun) as that senior-spring statistics class. Just a few weeks ago, while we were supposed to be writing an essay and running some code (we’ll let you guess who was doing what), we decided to order pizza and give ourselves henna tattoos. Somehow or another, Cecilia ended up with one of Maxwell’s equations tattooed on her shoulder when Emma decided that light was not simply a particle defined by four equations, but a metaphor for a much larger sense of curiosity.

Cecilia Nowell ’16 (cnowell@wellesley.edu) and Emma Regan ’16 (eregan2@wellesley. edu) have been having this conversation since first year and hope it continues long past graduation.

counterpoint / april 2016

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To Run or Not to Run

CAMPUS LIFE

Image: Elle Friedberg ‘17

A Cautionary Tale B Y K AT E LY N CAMPBELL

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hroughout my time at Wellesley, much lip service has been paid to socioeconomic equity with some small actions but few large gestures. Three College Government election cycles have come and gone since my first year, and each time around, candidates have cried out against the lack of equity amongst social classes at Wellesley. But, so far as I can tell, that vocal outrage left the public sphere as soon as the ballots were cast. As a result, students with financial need have essentially been left to fend for themselves in situations of injustice imposed by the College as our elected leaders cry “I’m too busy!” and retreat. Speaking for myself as a student who is on considerable financial aid, this lack of support beyond campaign week has led me to question the ability of College Government to represent my needs or concerns at all, despite my three years of membership and agitation within the body. But there was a gleam of light earlier this year. In one of the proudest moments of my life at Wellesley, I was chosen to page 6

counterpoint / april 2016

serve alongside rockstar Suzanne Barth on the Student Leadership Stipend committee, which eventually won compensation for Resident Assistants and House Presidents. This would be the first time students in either position would receive any sort of compensation in the history of the College. Things were looking up. We’d created 75+ jobs. I was jubilant. By that point, it seemed natural for me to run for College Government President. I’d cultivated myself as a leader at Wellesley over two and a half years in Senate, in Residential Life, and as a Peer Health Educator. I loved the work I was doing on the Student Life Committee of the Board of Trustees, and I had built relationships with administrators that would likely sustain a certain level of trust and productivity provided that I was elected to the position. But there was just one thing: money. College Government Cabinet positions are entirely unpaid despite the fact that they require tens of hours of work per week. Particularly in the case of the College Government President, this work, I

am told, often adds up to nearly 30 hours per week of emailing, working in Senate and on committees, and attending meetings. Like many work-study students, that kind of sacrifice is unimaginable: I would have to give up my hard-won work-study job to do unpaid work, which, for my situation, would be extremely financially irresponsible. So, in my case, the gig was up. I let the deadline for declaring my run for office pass and made plans to turn my thesis into an independent study so I could graduate early to save my family some financial hardship. I was upset, to be sure, but I generally just told people close to me that I’d decided to consider other options rather than disclose that, when it comes to running for and becoming CGP, I just can’t afford it. ——————— Amidst all of this inner turmoil on my part, elections went on. Candidates started to pull their campaigns together. A last minute ballot initiative slid in under the wire. All seemed to be well.


But then, the Senate meeting before candidates were announced to the student body, we Senators received some unfortunate news: no student had indicated an interest in running for Secretary/Treasurer of College Government. Although candidates for this position have typically run unopposed, I was still shocked to hear that no one had decided to run: while it has been historically uncontested, the position has also been a leadership springboard for future College Government Presidents (Hana Glasser ‘15 and Adeline Lee ‘16 both served as Secretary/ Treasurer, to cite recent examples). When I talked to the few students I knew who had previously been interested in running for Secretary/Treasurer about why they’d decided not to run, a majority of them said that they’d chosen to become Resident Assistants instead. As RAs, they would receive compensation and would work more reasonable hours, as opposed to offering their entire lives for consumption in exchange for little more than a head nod and the promise of mentorship. Throughout the time that our small committee worked on designing and executing payment plans for RAs and HPs, we didn’t think too much about the ripple effect of the policy beyond the number of jobs we would create and the possibility of creating a larger applicant pool with more returning staff members for residential life staffs. The idea that student leaders would come to occupy these positions rather than applying or running for unpaid ones never crossed our minds. But it is clear to me now that our work has unearthed an even greater issue of socioeconomic equity on campus—that now, more than ever, Wellesley students are being pulled from crucial leadership roles by a need to cover their expenses. ——————— By the end of elections week, the College had another very clear example of the

need to compensate Cabinet members. On election day, something unforeseeable happened. The sole candidate for Bursar, Rose Whitlock, dropped out of the race. Rose is a friend who I met through the Wellesley College Sexual Health Educators. She was the only candidate for whom I was completely comfortable casting my vote. When I found out she had dropped out, I was devastated. And when I found out why, I was completely heartbroken. Like the rest of College Government Cabinet positions, the Student Bursar is unpaid. In addition to their duties as a contributor to Cabinet meetings, the Bursar is responsible for managing the entirety of the Student Activities fee— a job that takes over twenty hours per week alone. Rose, prior to running for Bursar, worked as a bookkeeper in the Bursar’s office. Unlike the Bursar, bookies are compensated at an hourly rate. As a work-study student, Rose needed to keep working, and was under the impression that her pay would not stop if she won the position of Bursar. After finding out that she would be unpaid if she won the position as is, she and the current Bursar put together a proposal addressed to various administrators that would allow her to continue work in the Bursar’s office for pay comparable to her salary as a bookkeeper. That proposal was denied. Faced with no other financially reasonable options, Rose was forced to drop out of the race the afternoon of election day. Had Rose been elected to the position of Student Bursar, she would have brought the sensibilities of a student who has to work to stay at Wellesley to one of the most important positions on CG Cabinet. Under her guidance, we might have finally found a way around the abominable SOFC policy that requires student organizations to front the cost of food and other items to be reimbursed weeks later (a process that fundamentally disad-

vantages lower income students when it comes to running for leadership positions in that presidents and E-Board members are often expected to foot the initial bill). But alas, that opportunity has passed. If we at Wellesley are to truly support students who receive financial assistance from the College or need to work to make ends meet, it is crucial that we offer payment to members of College Government Cabinet in order to ensure that the deciding factor for whether or not a potential candidate chooses to run is their commitment to Wellesley, not how much their families are able to contribute to their budget. I have often been critical, publicly and privately, of College Government leadership’s lack of response to issues of socioeconomic equity on campus, but I really believe that that lack of response is the symptom of a larger problem: an absence of voices of students who have a heavy stake in policy changes regarding socioeconomic equity in the room. Until we ensure that these positions are compensated, I don’t think it’s possible to adequately address the class issues that have plagued Wellesley students like me for so long.

Katelyn Campbell ’17 (kcampbe2@ wellesley.edu) is an unapologetic rabblerouser. counterpoint / april 2016

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CAMPUS LIFE

The Six Stages of Dating Age Inappropriate Men An Essay in the Style of Nora Ephron’s “The Six Stages of Email” BY ANONYMOUS STAGE ONE: Infatuation A real job? Nice car? No high-fiving or beer pong in sight? This is amazing! Finally, I’m ready! An adult relationship. I can totally handle this. We have so much in common. Adulthood is going to be fine. Meeting someone like this is half the battle. He’s perfect. I’m perfect. So we must be perfect together. This is how it works right? Frat boys be damned! STAGE TWO: Clarification Maybe I am not an adult after all. I am an adult, but he is more of an adult. An adultier adult. Yet, he still has the emotional capacity of a teaspoon. Why? Do they ever grow out of that? I have the answer to college dating woes. Why wait for Frat bros to grow up when we can simply skip their bumps in the road?! As it turns out, twelve might not be that big of a number, but it is a lifetime of experience apart. It is baggage. It is knowledge. It is lost popular culture references. It is three hours without contact. It is followup emails that should have been text messages. Kindness and maturity aside, it is an interesting dynamic. Is it weird to ask for career advice? It is comfortable but not. He is still immature. He refers to college kids as a collective and forgets his audience. It is awkward. It is also not dull. Conversational skills are inherently undervalued—he agrees. page 8

counterpoint / april 2016

STAGE THREE: Confusion It is definitely weird to ask for career advice. The condescension is palpable. I have not seen an obscure 80’s movie. I wasn’t born when that happened. I was 5 when Seinfeld went off the air. I speak in “Millennial Nonsense.” Differing interests. Am I boring? Is he boring? The Rolling Stones are pretty great though. Google Search: What does Bae mean? (I am a little fuzzy on the concept myself ). My friend describes the gap as a “masturbating preteen” and I am horrified. It is also hilarious. Adults really don’t have it all figured out. FW: Networking Event Check it out! FW: Interesting Read. FW: 2016 Election Highlights to Date. You still have not answered my text messages. STAGE FOUR: Disenchantment Help! I’m drowning. I have lots of feelings but not all of them are positive. I am confused. I am bored and excited all at the same time. We do not have that much in common. As it turns out, there is a certain amount of bonding that comes from those bumps in the road. A connection forms from struggling together. Who knew? There is an inherent disconnect. It is unclear if it is due to the age gap or if this just is not working out. My mother approves. That is disappointing. He watched House of Cards without me. My friend was

right. Should I laugh or be horrified? I check my phone a lot. There is still no text message. STAGE FIVE: Accommodation Denial. Arguments. Text message arrives—it is underwhelming. Silence. We are officially out of things to talk about. I would rather be with my friends. I really don’t want to clean my room for you. Everyone has an opinion. Too Busy. Finally: The Talk. Try me in a year. Try me in five years. Try me never. STAGE SIX: Death Reinstall Tinder. Repeat. Learn nothing. For information about articles published anonymously, please contact the Editors-InChief (ofunderb@wellesley.edu, hdaytene@ wellesley.edu, cnowell@wellesley.edu).


Images: http://salutelives.com, http://www.giorgiogioacchini.com, http://www.wellesley.edu

T

he light flickered once and then extinguished. Five dark minutes later it illuminated again, but only for a few moments. I glanced up at the ceiling, observing a bulb so antiquated that I was surprised it gave off any degree of light. My window of perception was fleeting as the room soon returned to darkness. Upon reading this anecdote, one would assume I was in a forgotten hallway of Green Hall, a rarely visited corner of Clapp, or even my dorm room. However, one would assume incorrectly. I was in the Health Services building, and the nurse sitting across from me seemed entirely unsurprised that the most elementary facet of her office failed to function. Let me step back just a bit. This was by no means my initial visit to Health Services. In November 2015, I first stepped into the little brick building on the hill to complain about terribly itchy skin. Multiple visits and four trips to MetroWest Medical Center later, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Stage IIA. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, I knew I had at least three months of chemotherapy and multiple blood tests to look forward to. As a first-year from California, the prospect of playing patient two thousand miles from home was daunting. A small voice in the distant corners of my brain told me to take a semester on medical leave, but I silenced it, knowing I loved my friends and philosophy classes too much to withdraw. I didn’t want to let the nurses at Health Services help me at first. Certainly we all, on some level, want to be the independent Wellesley Women they tell us we are. I accepted their check-up phone calls and friendly emails, trying to be strictly professional. As medical appointments piled on top of each other, I brushed aside the feelings of fear they incited, determined to pull through solo. Yet as I became a frequent Health Services visitor, I couldn’t help but be touched by how the care they provided

constantly exceeded all expectations. My cellphone constantly had messages from a nurse practitioner who called to see how I was feeling rather than to simply schedule appointments. My weekly visits were filled with more kindness and support than medical tests, and I was offered more services than I knew how to accept. To top it off, one of the registered nurses gave me her personal phone number and urged me to contact her with even the most minuscule of problems. Little by little, I broke down the walls surrounding my anxiety and let Health

WHY YOU SHOULD LOVE THE LITTLE B R I C K HOUSE BY GENAE MATTHEWS Services in. The nurses became close friends, consoling me in my days of nausea and consistently exemplifying the utmost empathy toward any and all of my difficulties. They have been, and still are, my biggest cheerleaders. On the week of my last chemotherapy treatment, they presented me with flowers, a cake, and a card. Each nurse was as enthusiastic as if I were a child of her own. Having spent many hours in the red brick house, I’ve come to see the extent to which the Health Service truly does care about students. From free cold kits and feminine hygiene products to forums for feedback and a zen den, the clinic is infused with perks intended to make stu-

dents feel welcome. Referrals are completed with maximum efficiency (I received a chest x-ray on the same day as my initial visit) and nurses greet students with a friendly attitude regardless of how arduous a day they’ve had. I may have been adopted into the Health Service nest, but I speak with objective confidence when I argue that Wellesley College has one of the most qualified and caring teams of nurses on its hands. Sure, the lines may occasionally be long and sometimes urgent care hours conflict with classes. I’d argue that those inconveniences are minor in light of the quality of care students are offered. At Wellesley College, a nurse’s work doesn’t end when we patients leave the exam room. The Health Service has a small staff, and its nurses have multiple hours of charting to do after every session of urgent care hours. While urgent care hours don’t always appear to be plentiful, the supplemental work the current hours generate pushes the Health Services staff to their limit. I’ve observed nurses working past their paid hours, diligently managing the piles of patient charts, and lamenting that legal restrictions don’t allow them to make processes easier for students. The fact that registered nurses can’t legally prescribe medications is only one restriction of many. I realize that as a college student, it can be frustrating when illness obstructs productivity. I know that it can be tough to not have 24/7 in-person access to a caretaker or an instant cure for maladies. However, you’ll have to trust me when I emphasize that the Wellesley College Health Services’ staff are doing more than what’s required of them in order to keep us healthy. Not only that, they’re doing it with a smile. So let’s treat the staff of Health Services with the level of respect they deserve. Oh, and fixing their lightbulbs would be nice too. Genae Matthews ’19 (gmatthews@wellesley. edu) now visits the Health Service for fun. counterpoint / april 2016

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BY CLELLIE MERCHANT

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here are days when I wake up and feel bad. I feel ugly. I slept too little, or too much. I did too much homework last night, or too little. I forget to brush my hair or my teeth, or to put on deodorant. I choose my pants and top without thinking about how they look together. My socks don’t match. I roll out of bed, grab coffee. I’m late to class. On these days, I feel like a mess. I feel unattractive. But not for long. Soon I remember that I am beautiful to someone, and I always relax. Why am I so sure? I don’t have a significant other. But I do have a crush. I think that a lot of people on this campus are cute. The exact number isn’t important (I’m too embarrassed to say exactly how many). The point is, every day, I

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pass people—in the hallway in Founders, Clapp, or the dining hall—whom I think are cute. They are people whom I don’t know, people whom I’ve never spoken to and probably will never speak to. They are short and tall, curvy and thin, smilers and people who never smile. Chances are, they include you. Sometimes the cute person’s outfit is on point. Everything matches and fits— this isn’t an outfit cobbled together from the few clean articles of clothing left. Sometimes the person seems to be having a good day. They smile, laugh, hang out with friends. But sometimes they are wearing their pajamas at 5pm on a Saturday. They haven’t brushed their hair. They drop a plate full of food in the dining hall during the lunch or dinner rush. Sometimes they seem to be having a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. They have dark circles under their eyes, and they don’t smile. They sit by themselves, poring over a notebook. And even on these days, when they are not at their 100%, I still think they are cute. I have yet to see one of these people early on a Monday morning, when we’re both better prepared to crawl back into bed than go to class, and think that they are anything but cute. So when I feel unattractive, I remember that if someone finds me attractive, then they should find me attractive re-

gardless of whether or not I’ve brushed my hair, or put my sweater on inside-out. And when I doubt that someone could do that, I remember that I do it for other people every day. Part of this propensity to see people as attractive is a remnant of the time when I was mentally ill, and fixated on attractive features in every person I saw as a part of my suffering. But of all the remnants of that mental illness, this one is my favorite. It’s no longer about making myself suffer; it’s about loving other people, including people who look like me. During midterms week or a day that just won’t end, when you’ve slept too little and stressed too much, and you’ve forgotten to brush your teeth or choose clothes that match, remember that there is at least one person who will see you and think you’re cute. And that person will probably be me.

Clellie Merchant ’18 (cmerchan@wellesley. edu) is just as cute as you think she is.

Images: Colleen Sullivan ’17, andigyn.tumblr.com

i have a crush on you

CAMPUS LIFE


femininity

IDENTITY

BY ANONYMOUS Content warning: gender dysphoria

M

y relationship with femininity is…difficult. I used to play with Barbies, and give my sister pretend haircuts with plastic scissors. But as I’ve grown older, I’ve begun to simultaneously reject and reify gender norms. I like the idea of doing martial arts, being a boxer, and wearing the resulting bruises with the pride that comes from showing the world that I’m tough and can take care of myself. I used to treasure the calluses I developed from lifting weights regularly, thinking that they proved my strength. I used to wish I were a boy. I didn’t feel like one—I’ve always identified as female. But I wanted to be a boy anyway. I thought life would be easier as one. I was a tennis player, once upon a time, and I always played harder against boys. I sprinted the warm-up laps in some sort of absurd effort to show that I was just as fast as the boys. I ran across the court almost to the point of passing out, because I valued asserting my strength and endurance over pulling oxygen into my lungs.

In gym class, though, I sat back and let the boys play, quietly stood in front of the goal to ‘defend’ instead of aggressively attacking. I let the boys hit the volleyball when it came close to me, let them tell me to bunt the softball. I sat on a mat and stretched while they lifted weights, slowly going out of my mind with boredom. I take pleasure in knowing a lot about sports, and in making sure people know that I know about sports. I take pleasure in subverting the expectations society has for me—showing that I’m not “one of those girls.” And I know that thinking that is wrong, and stupid, and flawed. But simultaneously, I feel noticeably uncomfortable leaving the house without makeup on. I like wearing dresses and heels. I like being told that I look pretty. In fact, I obsess over whether I am pretty, or pretty enough. Are my thighs slender enough? My arms? How can I deceive the world into thinking that my stomach is flat? Is my back flabby? Why isn’t my jaw sharp enough to cut glass, like a Hollywood heroine? When I close my eyes and daydream, I Photoshop myself. I make myself taller, thinner, clear my face

of acne scars and dark circles, and the lines beneath my eyes. I straighten my nose and shrink it, even though I like its ridge, even though I think it has character. Here’s the question that drives me mad: am I the only person who feels this way? The only woman? What the hell’s wrong with me that I can’t be happy with myself when the rational part of me knows I should be? Is there a universe out there, one of the infinite universes quantum mechanics tells me exists, where I don’t feel this way? Who am I when I’m emancipated, liberated from my insecurities? How do I become that girl? If I choose to have children, I hope my daughter never feels this way, because I can’t stand the thought of another woman torn apart under the unnecessary weight of what she should be.

For information about articles published anonymously, please contact the Editors-InChief (ofunderb@wellesley.edu, hdaytene@ wellesley.edu, cnowell@wellesley.edu).

counterpoint / april 2016

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IDENTITY

BY LAURA

M AY RO N

Content warning: chronic illness, body image First: let’s catch up ver since my diagnosis (which you can read about in the October 2015 issue) I’ve been contemplating what it means to be queer and chronically ill. If you didn’t read that article, a quick catch-up: I have Crohn’s disease, a gastrointestinal illness that affects my colon. What does that mean? Good question. I’m sometimes still figuring it out myself. On a daily basis, it means that I’m constantly checking in on my fatigue (or spoons, the quantification of physical and emotional energy while chronically ill—check out “Spoon Theory” for more details on this), watching (somewhat) what I eat, and, quite frankly, dealing with more poop than the average person. Every other week, I’m taking an injection, and on the other two weeks, I’m calling my pharmacy for more medication, or picking up my next monthly supply while making jokes about how it’s “that time of the month” again. I’m very lucky—luckier than most, and I try not to forget it. I went into remission several months after starting medication, and I’ve stayed that way. However, it’s still a tricky balancing act, even when in remission. I also have depression and anxiety, which my Crohn’s can exacerbate, but the intersection of queerness and mental health is a whole ‘nother can of worms, and an article for another time. It’s also something I’ve seen before, and heard discussed a lot, but what does it mean to be queer and have

E

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a physical chronic illness? As I briefly described in my last article, being in remission is not the same as life pre-diagnosis. There are lots of little things I have to contend with: how many spoons I have for the day, whether this week is an injection week when I take my immunosuppressant that might make me feel fatigued, whether I’ll have enough energy for that party I promised I’d go to or will feel like a flake for not showing up. It’s different now that I’m in remission, but I still think a lot about my debilitating months in a flare-up, especially in how it affected my queer identity. On Being Queer and Chronically Ill (as I see it*) *As I move forward with this discussion—a disclaimer! I’m a bisexual ciswoman, and while I’ve only come out and discovered the facets of my identity in college, I’m quite comfortable with expressing my queerness, but this is only my queer experience. I recognize that queer experiences differ for everyone, and while I occasionally toy with the label “demisexual” to describe myself, I have been open in exploring my sexuality, and this article will talk about sex. That’s not everyone’s experience at all, but from my perspective, here’s what I’ve started to understand about being queer and chronically ill. Queer spaces are primarily social spaces.

It’s very hard to be an active member of the queer community when confined to your bed. I don’t just mean the dating aspect—but that’s part of it. Forget going on dates, forget going to that cool queer party or nightclub: you’re stuck at home exhausted and in pain, too tired to even have a glass of wine with your friends that live on the same side of campus. Even now, there’s always a bit of nervousness surrounding going out and about in the city with friends or on a date—the coffee shop better have a bathroom, the bar toilet better flush. More than once, even in remission, I’ve been tempted to reach for the medication I know will stop me up for two days and make me feel awful, if only for the peace of mind that at worst, I’ll just need to pee. It’s so much better than knowing the location of every public toilet in Boston, but I’m also trying to come to terms with being out, and out-and-about, while chronically ill, even if that means more trips to the bathroom. Queerness is so much about space, place, and interacting with others, whether as friends in a community or in a romantic context, and gastrointestinal illnesses aren’t exactly a sexy topic of conversation. As I like to joke, Crohn’s disease is probably the least sexy illness out there—chronic diarrhea (or just a lot of normal pooping, when in remission) isn’t seductive for a Tinder date. There’s also the question when I have a new partner, serious or otherwise: when to disclose that this is a part of my life? It’s not contagious, no, but it affects the way I interact

Image:s Laura Mayron ’16, Hanna Day-Tenerowicz ’16

SPOONFULS OF RAINBOW


with the world, which is part of getting to know me in a dating context. There’s always that fear that someone I like will be disgusted by my illness. They shouldn’t be, of course, and no one I’ve met ever has been. It’s hard though, knowing what my body was like before—and what it could be in the future during a flare-up. That’s not something I ever want to deal with again, if I’m lucky: my body rebelling against me with the intensely physical manifestations of an illness that are so very not beautiful: the sweat, the shit, the tears. It literally all hits the fan. It’s hard to desire and be desired when you feel like your insides are, quite frankly, a rotting marsh, the image I always had when I was sick. (Now that’s something to put on a dating profile!) Spoonfuls of Rainbow You might ask, why the intersection of these two things? There are plenty of nonqueer, chronically ill people that deal with many of the same struggles when sick. I’ve found, however, that coming out and being diagnosed are two creatures that share the same language. It’s a revelation: intense, scary, and a whole world flipped upside down. For my queerness, it’s been the most beautiful thing that I’ve ever come to know about myself, for my chronic illness, one of the most challenging. But at the outset, when I was diagnosed, it felt a lot like I did when I was still so confused about my sexuality and how re-defining it would change how I navigated the world. Both times, I was scared, uncertain, and not sure how this would change me. For many queer people, queerness for us is something so rooted in the body, whether it’s our rela-

tionship to sexual or romantic desire (or lack thereof ) or in how we present ourselves to those around us. For me, my body is as much of a source of queerness as my heart and my brain. Whether it’s how I decorate my body with clothes, piercings, tattoos, or haircuts, or how I celebrate my body in its ability to love and be a recipient of love, my body is my queer temple. It’s something I’ve come to own, to adore, and it has physically and emotionally carried me through questioning both my sexual and romantic desires. When my body turned against me, all that changed. Again, there’s another article entirely that I could write about the sexualization of hypersexuality in queer spaces, but like it or not (and sometimes I don’t like it at all) queerness and the body, at least now in our society, are very connected. Sex shouldn’t have to be part of the queer narrative, but for many people, and me, it has been. So let’s talk about the “sex” in sexuality! As someone who only recently figured out my sexuality, and what that all means for my body, being diagnosed threw me for a huge loop. Finally, I’d begun figuring out my romantic and sexual attraction, how my body played into that attraction, how to love my body in sexual and non-sexual contexts, and suddenly, my body essentially set itself on fire and left me to watch it burn. It sounds dramatic, but if you have an illness with an autoimmune com-

ponent (which Crohn’s does), believe me, you know that feeling of complete betrayal by the one thing that is not supposed to fail: your body. With my body shutting down in various ways during my flare-up, all previous understanding of it went out the window. Forget sexual desire: the most amazing feeling I could imagine was not being in constant pain. I was spending all my time in bed, but not in a fun way. There were weird physical changes that happened with the onset of Crohn’s, and I wasn’t sure how it was going to change my sex life (if I was ever well enough to have one). And that previous love and acceptance of my body? Well, that was gone. I couldn’t even stand to look at myself, or even be in this thing that was starting to feel foreign and causing me so much pain. I wished someone could babysit my body for a couple hours, so that I could finally just be, sans illness. Now my body is more of my home than ever before—I’ve had to do some renovations and upkeep, get it re-appraised, but it’s not foreign, not in pain, and overall a great place to be. Over a year since diagnosis, and approximately a year since entering remission, I’m in a place that my flare-up self would have thought was impossible. I’m healthy, I’m happy, I have an amazing group of friends and a girlfriend that all support me, love me, and make shit jokes with me. I’m here, I’m queer, I’m somewhat chronically ill, but I’m rocking it. Laura Mayron ’16 (lmayron@wellesley. edu) giggles every time she asks for more spoons at El Table.

counterpoint / april 2016

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IDENTITY

what is it like to be

N

o one tells you about it. No one even really acknowledges that it’s a possibility. Disney movies tell you that your prince or your princess is waiting for you. Reams upon reams of paper have been dedicated to bodies and love and the inevitable tug that one feels when your eyes cross the gaze of your fated lover. Or you can be one of those poor souls caught in the trap of unrequited love, or on the prowl, or drowning in despair because you cannot find “the one.” But what if you don’t want to find “the one?” If you don’t really give a damn about the romantic bullshit? If you don’t find yourself even remotely compelled to go out and date and meet people, if the thought of sex is not interesting or attractive or is even repulsive to you? You don’t really belong here. Your existence is sad. You are destined to become the “crazy cat lady,” substituting an inferior form of companionship for your chance at the real deal. How did I know? The truth is that it’s still a hypothesis that I test every day. Is she cute? Is he hot? Are they “sexy?” Lots of negatives so far. But you have to question these things, right? After so many years of denial and trying to follow the norms just because there didn’t seem to be another option, yes, maybe I’m a little uncertain. But I’m more certain than not at this. Here is what you do: you tell yourself that you are attracted to people. You nod your head—yes, celebrity X is super hot.

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You watch shirtless scenes over and over, trying to be normal, trying to feel what you should be feeling. And maybe the aesthetic beauty is enough and you feel a modicum of pleasure, and you pounce

on that. Bingo. There we go—sexual attraction. Never mind that it’s not hot and heavy, just a general pleasantness. Isn’t that the same? Doesn’t that mean he’s superhot? Of course it does. So you can’t

be asexual. Litmus test passed; identity confirmed. You do this frequently. You also can’t differentiate between emotional and romantic attachment. You conflate the two and convince yourself that you just don’t really get into the romance scenes because you’re a prude and need to get over yourself. PDA makes you unreasonably uncomfortable, but hey, everyone says “Ew” when they see that. You’re no different. You tell yourself that you can develop friendships and then eventually, someday, you’ll want to have sex with that person, or touch them in any way. Those desires might even crop up naturally in your head. You might not have to force anything. The biggest checkbox is orgasm. You can orgasm. Orgasm is sex, right? So you can’t be asexual. Litmus test over. Now go wait for your soulmate and work on finding more celebrity crushes. Oh, and try not to look too bored the next time people are dishing about the hot people at the party. In fact, try to nod along like you know what they’re talking about. Maybe even throw a name out there. Because that’s what normal allosexual orgasming people do—they throw names out there and talk about their types. You like beards. Repeat this endlessly. Besides, aren’t asexual people boring? Like, do they sit around drinking sparkling cider while playing Monopoly? Is that their idea of fun? Isn’t sex one of the three fundamental components of college life,

Image: Victoria Yan Uren ’17, readvitality.com

BY MEGAN LOCATIS

ASEXUAL?


followed only by drugs and rock and roll? And beyond that, isn’t sex a fundamental part of human existence? Isn’t romance an irreplaceable part of the full experience? What about all those sonnets, all that erotic art, the sexual revolution, the way that copulation underpins everything from high literature to ads for sneakers? Doesn’t that mean something? God, that is a terrible, crushing weight on your back—you, the anomaly. You, who, for the entirety of your life, have indulged in the strange fantasies of romance laced with the possibility of conformity, of fitting into the curve, of being a real part of the greater romantic, sexual culture. Little by little, you inch yourself out of all this. You come to terms with the truth—because when you look back at your whole life, it all starts to make sense. And you’re terrified of the idea of a life without love. You’re terrified that there’s something missing, that your soul is not whole, that you cannot lead a complete and fulfilling life because you have never felt even remotely pulled toward another human being—not in that way, at least. And you’ve been trying to force yourself for too many years now, so you know it’s not something that can be created artificially. But you want kids and a home and some kind of sure solution to the looming prospect of spinsterdom. You want the simple comfort of touch that you see in your friends’ interactions with SOs. You want the intimacy that your friend in Indiana talks about, the kind that makes her voice pitch differently and fill with a breathy contentment. But, little by little, you inch along further into the realization that physical relationships are not necessarily the most intimate or meaningful. You continue to put things into perspective—and it is a beautiful relief when you begin to attribute your lack of interest to your

newfound (lack of ) sexual identity. Sex scene? Yeah, I’m going to go make some popcorn. You can joke with friends about it. And perhaps best of all, you begin to realize the depth of the relationships you already have. You meet a friend for cocktails over spring break, and you sip your Old Fashioned and gush about how great your friendship is, how exceptional, how strong. You decide that the two of you are platonic soulmates. Your friend says that no one gets it, what you have, how close you are. And that is all that matters—that people comment on how much she smiles because you’re visiting, that they notice how big and authentic your own grin is in the pictures you post to Facebook. And being okay with it is a process— maybe even a lifelong one. It’s constantly identifying those vague feelings of discomfort and attributing them to being outside the norm. It’s dreaming about an apartment with dogs and cats and maybe, just maybe, one extremely close friend you cuddle with and drink with and cook with. It’s knowing that, if you want kids, you might be on your own, and that’s okay. Most of all, it’s knowing that you’re okay—that you are yourself, that nothing will change that, that you are not less or more. You are simply you, and you have no interest in sexy funtimes.

Megan Locatis’ 16 (mlocatis@wellesley.edu) hopes to be the ace of your heart.

counterpoint / april 2016

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IDENTITY

g r a y s p - ac e : On Consent and asexuality Trigger warnings: sex, sexual assault, slurs

S

he’s beauty, she’s grace—as in “gray ace.” Gray asexual, like me. In the asexual community, a common talking point is how we made the discovery—what made us figure out that we aren’t quite like most people. Most aces I’ve met thought they were just as allosexual as everyone else at first, but I had a slightly different experience. I spent a very long time thinking that everyone (or at least, all girls) were as ace as I am. My parents are pretty sexually conservative— I was always encouraged to remain abstinent until marriage, and we almost never discussed sexual, well, anything as a family. Yet through jokes, and what little conversation we had, my parents and the media managed to convince me that women don’t actually like or want to have sex, and only engage in it to appease the man in their life or to have children. I was thoroughly convinced that sex didn’t feel good for women, and was meant for the man’s pleasure alone. (How I factored queer allosexual women into my worldview at that time is beyond me.) This is when I still thought I was straight, mind you. As I grew older and entered high school, I slowly became aware of girls around me who did want to have sex, and who even talked about it feeling good. Naturally, this confused me, so I rationalized it by writing them off as sluts. Good girls like me don’t want sex, I thought, just as my parents taught me. Especially not at my age. We’re way too young for page 16

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all of this! And then came the boyfriend. He was nerdy, funny as hell, outspoken, flamboyant, perverted, very sweet when he tried to be, mean to most people, damaged, and two grades ahead of me. We started dating when I was 15 and he was 16, and within the first two weeks of our relationship he expressed the desire to kiss me. I was shocked and appalled. Kissing? Already?! I was not nearly ready for that kind of step. A knot of pure, abject terror formed in the pit of my stomach. I cried myself to sleep for nights on end, desperately wishing that kissing had never been invented, that I could miraculously avoid this indecision and stress and fear. But he was my boyfriend, and boyfriends and girlfriends are supposed to kiss each other—it’s a natural step in a relationship, I thought. An inevitable obligation that I could only put off for so long. So eventually, when I managed to choke down my fear as much as I ever would, we kissed. And I loved it; it was incredible, and I had no regrets. Then, a month later, he asked to try making out with me. Three months later, he wanted to touch my boobs. I won’t subject you to all the gory details of our sexual progress, but I will tell you that the anxiety, the dread, and the terror grew worse and worse before each new step we took. We fell into a consistent pattern: he would ask me to do something new, the next logical step in a heterosexual relationship. I would panic. The pit of dread in my stomach would eat away at me, the stress would weigh on my mind

constantly as I frantically tried to prepare myself for it. It usually took me months to prepare. Months of horrific fear consuming me. All the while, he would prod me about this next step, asking if I was ready yet each time we were alone together— which made being alone together an incredibly stressful prospect. I would have to say no again, because I wasn’t ready, and he would say “okay” with a disappointed sigh, and the anxious tension and guilt would gnaw even more voraciously at me as he sulked. Very often we would argue about it—not usually with anger, but more often with sadness. He felt impatiently sad at me for not giving in yet, and I felt guiltily sad that I just couldn’t. There was a long period of time when I would become extremely nauseous, physically ill with worry every single time we were to hang out, as if I was allergic to him. But after a few months, I would finally give in, do what he wanted or let him do what he wanted to me. And a lot of the time, I wound up really enjoying the thing that had been causing me so much worry, like I did kissing. Other times, not so much. But either way, at last! Bliss, where we could sexually be together without a massive knot in my stomach, anticipating his question, anticipating letting him down again. Bliss, comfort at last… at least, for about a month, until he asked to take the next step. Lather, rinse, repeat. This process continued, ad nauseam, for about two years. It didn’t take me long to realize that the never-ending cycle, and my horrible anxiety about any sexual advances, were not normal heterosexual ex-

Images: asexuality.org

BY ANONYMOUS


periences. But I figured that I was just sexually immature, or maybe had a hormone deficiency. With age, I hoped, the sexual desire for him would appear, replacing all that dread and terror with something like the lust that he felt for me. The immaturity theory was even easier to believe since he was older than me. But I really thought that it was normal for a boyfriend to ask these things of his girlfriend, that he deserved access to my body and my sexuality, and I only felt guilty that I couldn’t just give in without a fuss, like a “normal” girl would. I thought I was slowing the natural progression of love and relationship and I felt terrible about it. I’ll never forget the one time I did seriously consider breaking up with him. It was after a particularly dark argument, during which I told him I was sorry he’d fallen in love with such a prude. He agreed that he was sorry, too. That was quite the punch to the chest. Briefly, then, I considered ending it—but for his own good, so he could find a girl who’d be willing to move at the sexual pace I thought he deserved. In the end, I couldn’t do it; I was too attached to him to bear the thought of letting him go. Because that’s the thing—despite all of this mess, all of this near-constant tension between us and the anger and sadness and anxiety he caused me, we were in love. We were deeply, madly in love. We were emotionally intertwined—we depended on each other, trusted each other, we were

honest with each other, we made each other laugh, had more fun with each other than anyone else. In everything but the sex department, we were the perfect pair. The cycle ended, finally, when we ran out of sexual steps to take before Actually Doing It. And having real sex was not something he wanted to pressure me into, he insisted, so he didn’t ask and we just didn’t talk about it. Why was it okay for you to pressure me into everything else, then? I wondered. So a long time passed without us adding anything new to our sexual repertoire. We grew into the things we were already doing; I stopped being afraid of them after a while. At the same time, we grew as people. We both created accounts on Tumblr. We both became ardent feminists. I figured out, finally, that I’m gray ace. We’ve been dating for four years now, and it’s been about two since the awful cycle of sexual anxiety and pressure ground to a halt. My entire worldview has changed since then, as has his, and examining our past with a new perspective has proven distressing enough for me to write this article. Now I know that allosexual women can want sex (as can aces), and being attracted to men doesn’t make you a slut. Now I know that I am asexual, not immature or deficient, and that my feelings about sex are valid. Now I know that consent to any kind of sexual action must be given affirmatively, enthusiasti-

cally, repeatedly, and willingly. And now I know that for the first two years of our relationship, I was pressured and coerced into everything we did. I did those things because I thought I had to; because I thought it was my duty, and I would have to give in eventually. Now I know that’s simply not true. Now I know that in all of that time, I never truly consented to any of it. Sure, he never once told me I had to do anything, but he asked and poked and prodded and begged until I felt I had no choice. I was pressured into sexual acts I was not ready for, and I did not consent. What do I do with this information now, two years later? We are still together, and we are still madly in love. I like to think that we have long since moved past that awful part of our relationship, past the pressure and coercion, past my ridiculous ideas about my obligations as a girl and a girlfriend. We both know much more about consent, and work harder to ensure it at all points of a sexual encounter. He understands (mostly) that I am gray ace, and we have different feelings and ideas about sex. Still, I know in reality that it’s not as far behind us as I’d like to believe. I still feel guilty rejecting his desire for me, or attempts to sext when I’m stressed or feeling extra ace. I am still afraid of hurting his feelings or making him angry or upset. I still feel a twist of fear in my stomach each time we walk into an empty room and he closes

counterpoint / april 2016

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IDENTITY

boys who are sweet and loving and otherwise perfect boyfriends can still pressure you, and they can pressure you into less than “real” sex, and just because you’re in love doesn’t make it okay. I wish I could go back and right all the wrongs in my own thinking. I wish I could tell younger me that sex is supposed to be fun, and feel good, and girls are supposed to like it too. I wish I knew it was okay to wait until I was truly ready. I wish I could tell little me that I am not immature or hormonally deficient, but ace, and that my needs will always be different than his, and that’s okay. I wish I could tell me that his being a boy with a penis and raging hormones and wild lust does not mean you have to conform and give in to his desires, nor does it excuse his behavior and treatment of you. I wish I could tell little me and boyfriend that if you put your sexual pleasure above your partner’s comfort and safety, you are an asshole. I wish I had the strength to tell him, back then, that he can wait just as long as he wants until I say I am really ready, no matter how long that may take, and if he doesn’t like that then he can fuck right off and find a new girlfriend. Young Me, consent can only be given freely and willingly, and if you are saying yes simply to appease him, fear and doubt knotted around your heart, you are not truly willing, and thus not consenting. I’m not sure where to go from here. Though it’s been years since the worst part of our history, I still bear the scars, hidden though they may be. It may be time for the two of us to bring them out into the open and talk about it. The road to healing may be longer and harder than I thought, but I believe I’ll get there.

For information about articles published anonymously, please contact the Editors-InCheif (ofunderb@wellesley.edu, hdaytene@ wellesley.edu, cnowell@wellesley.edu).

Images: Victoria Yan Uren ’17, http://baretobush.tumblr.com/, https://thekissters.files.wordpress.com

the door behind us. Just last year, we were getting ready to go out one night when he trapped me under him; I kissed him back (I still don’t know how to not kiss him back) but tried my best to silently plead not now, please not right now with my eyes, with my halfhearted responses, with “I thought we were going to dinner.” It took him a painful few minutes for my message to get through, before he apologized and got up and we left. I was shaken by this. I am still shaken by this. I will not call it assault, but it was the closest thing to it that I’ve ever felt (and hope to ever feel). As far as we’ve come, we still have a long way to go. I wish I was not afraid of rejecting his advances, afraid of saying no, afraid of upsetting him, afraid of telling him the truth about how things feel. I wish I did not feel obligated to give him an orgasm during every sexual encounter, or at all. I wish he wouldn’t reaffirm my feelings of obligation. I wish I didn’t do things with him that I don’t want to do. But I do, and I deal with it, because it’s not scary anymore, though it is a burden I carry. As I write this I realize we may be less okay than I thought we were. But even more, I want to go back and examine how we got to this place, what combination of ingredients left us in this position, how all of this could have been avoided. If I could go back in time, I’d start by telling my parents to talk to their damn children about sex without shaming it. I’d make them stop telling their daughters to stay away from boys because boys only want one thing, as if we are not supposed to want that one thing either, as if it is wrong to want that one thing. I would tell them to teach us that girls want sex as much as boys do, sometimes, and that is okay and normal and healthy—just as okay and normal and healthy as not wanting sex at all. They always did warn me about how boys would try to pressure us into doing things we didn’t want to do, and I hate that they were right, and I hate that I let it happen to me. That I still let it happen to me. I would tell them that even


Pubes, Vello Púbico

BY ANONYMOUS

The author wrote this after getting a text: “What do you think about shaving?” and angry crying at 2am. ’m not going to shave because it’s itchy and because I decided that my sexual partner was just going to have to be okay with my pubes. Now that I think about it, there’s also something political about this decision. How can pubes be political? My whole goddamn brown body is political. I am fetishized. Brown women are made to think that we have to do everything to please our sexual partner and this is me protesting it. I am the “sexy latina” and my anger is made “sexy” so that I am not taken seriously. I am the strongest woman that the people I have dated have ever dated because I don’t stand by while they give me bullshit. Even when I think I am being passive I am still the strongest woman they have dated. What the hell does that say about how we train women to act in this society? What the hell does that do to their voice? Pero no importa tanto lo que los niños piensen de mi. My skin is the color of immigration politics, of immigration marches, of protests, of telenovela maids, and sometimes

I

the poor girl that has the “pleasure” of the rich guy falling in love with them. Of the mix of people that can’t recognize where they come from: people who just want to reclaim the roots once ripped away from our ancestors. I just want to wear my Mexican flower shirt and dresses because I am proud of my culture and not because it’s a fashion statement at Forever 21. Y mis colochos. My hair gets in the way. Of my face, of our lips when we kiss and even when it’s in a ponytail it refuses to be ignored. It swings around and I’ve decided to let it be. I can barely control it: when I’m walking, when we’re rolling around, when I’m straddling you, when I find a stray one in my mouth—or even worse, yours. My hair is not featured in video tutorials. My hair is straightened for fancy events only to be put into a new, “polished” type of curl; some shit curl. I am here to make sure that anyone with hair like mine knows that they are loved and beautiful outside of Anglo beauty standards. My pubic hair is dark and curly. It smells. It protests when it is shaved. I’ve only done it twice and it hurts when you’re sitting down and all you can think

about is itching, and not the good kind of itch. I was told I was broken once, by the stupid boy who thought he knew what he was doing because he had had sex twice. By the stupid boy who was trying to finger me while I was still shy, ashamed of my pubes. And I still kissed h i m after that. I was mad for a minute but I decided that the making out was for my own pleasure, not his. You, como güera, as a woman, should know better than that. My pinche vello púbico is not yours to ask to be taken away. My pinche sex life is mine, y no lo tuyo para controlar. No más tienes el placer ser parte. So don’t fucking go down on me, I can take care of myself.

For information about articles published anonymously, please contact the Editors-InChief (ofunderb@wellesley.edu, hdaytene@ wellesley.edu, cnowell@wellesley.edu).

counterpoint / april 2016

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IDENTITY

A Fear of Acknowledgment I

was born into a controversy. Well, actually, I was the controversy. Back in 1997, the world was completely unprepared for me, and the revolution that I unintentionally took part in. Some people called me a “designer” or “test tube baby,” others called me a mistake. More often than not, people didn’t say anything at all out of fear of acknowledging what my parents were doing—so as not to encourage it. People fear what they do not know. And in vitro fertilization was and is no exception. I explained my conception to friends for the first time this year at Wellesley. It was hard for me when it shouldn’t have been. Trying to explain my family and my life to people had always been something I had dreaded. I was afraid of what people would think if they knew the truth. I was afraid of what they would say—or worse, what they wouldn’t say. Over the past two decades, I have had both the blessing and the curse of witnessing the struggles and the triumphs of the LGBTQ community. I have seen my parents fight for me and my brothers to exist. I have seen them introduce themselves as friends in the store. I have seen them calling each other in tears after the Supreme page 20

counterpoint / april 2016

Court ruling, and seen my brothers fight with their teammates because they did not have a father to guide them through this man’s world. I have sat in San Francisco City Hall listening to my moms say their vows after 25 years together. I have always sat back and watched the people around me think and say what they wanted no matter how I felt. I always feared what people would think and say if they knew the truth about my family and my life. When I was little, I learned that people don’t hide their emotions very well, especially when facing something unfamiliar to them. I was in kindergarten

when I first saw what this judgment looks like. Someone asked me what it was like to have two moms and I remember not knowing what to say because no one had ever asked me anything like that before. I had never known anything different from my two moms. I had never heard someone say that having two moms was “weird.” Now I know that I don’t have a “picture perfect” family like you see in 1980s sitcoms, but I also know that no little kid should have to fear talking about their families because they don’t want to be alone on the playground. Being from San Francisco, I grew up in the heart of the LGBTQ activist movement. I have experienced the power of a Pride Parade, taken part in the Day of Silence, and argued with my classmates in mock debates on the topic. But at the same time, I kept my attachment to the issue to myself, hidden even from my closest friends. I understood from an early age that people shy away from ideas that are different from what they consider normal. In this case, the “normal” family. Throughout my life, I have struggled with how to talk about my family. I have a difficult time introducing them to my friends or talking about what they do for work. I often find myself saying something along the lines of “my parents do this…” or “my mom works here…” I either group them

Images: Elle Feidberg

“Sometimes it’s not enough to know what things mean, sometimes you have to know what things don’t mean.” –Bob Dylan

’17

BY ANONYMOUS


together or neglect to mention one of them. I usually feel guilty immediately after interactions like this; I know it’s wrong to exclude or group them, but I have never known what else to do. I have also grown up fearing the stigma of being the child of two gay women. Whenever I tell people about my family, I have to watch them try to wrap their heads around this new concept and figure out what’s appropriate to say. They usually choose something along the lines of, “Oh, I didn’t know that,” and then change the subject, but those more curious people often have the same question: “What do you call them?” Even though I’ve been asked this question countless times, it still stuns me every time because I never know how to answer it. Not because it offends me, but because I don’t call them different things. It’s just always worked. But no question compares to the one that people often lead up to after a few minutes: “Do you want to meet your dad?” I stop. I look

at the ground. And then I say, “Well, first of all. He isn’t my dad, or my father, he’s just a guy that was in the right place at the right time for my parents.” It’s questions like this that have created the “fear of awkwardness and judgment” that deters me from speaking about my family. I know that these fears have taken hold of several aspects of my life: from having friends over for dinner to watching my brothers feel left out at Little League when all the dads are coaching. But in reality, I shouldn’t even think twice about talking about my life. I never thought twice about these fears until I came to Wellesley and my teammates shocked me one night by knowing that I have two moms. I stood and answered all of their questions, thinking that they would lose interest or become uncomfortable like everyone else does. But instead they wanted to know more and more. I explained parts of my conception that I had never spoken about before. They didn’t judge me, and they

didn’t walk away awkwardly, saying, “Oh, that’s cool;” they genuinely wanted to learn. This was new for me; it was the first time I wasn’t afraid. I know that I will never understand the struggles that my parents have gone through, but I can try to help others understand their story through how my life is what it is. I have come to learn that many people really do want to understand my life and my family; it’s just hard to approach because it is different from what they know. I have to learn how to open up and help them understand. I have to conquer that fear of the unknown. I had always been afraid to embrace my life. I had always been afraid of judgment. And I had always been afraid of telling the whole story. But I’m not afraid anymore.

For information about articles published anonymously, please contact the Editors-InChief (ofunderb@wellesley.edu, hdaytene@ wellesley.edu, cnowell@wellesley.edu). counterpoint / april 2016

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MENTAL HEALTH

You Do Not Have to Walk on Your Knees Trigger warning: emotional abuse, corporal punishment, (minor) physical violence, self-harm, mental illness, gaslighting

O

n bad days I repeat the list of the worst things my mother has ever said to me like a rosary. The number I go through might change, but the first two or three are always the same. 1) I’m sorry for hitting you, but I don’t know how else to get through to you when you’re like this. 2) Go ahead and call the police. They’ll take me away and send you to live with strangers. 3) You’re not depressed, you just want to be special. 4) You’re only “anxious” when someone tells you to do something. 5) You’re clearly not trying hard enough in therapy. 6) [Casually, while dropping me off one day during high school:] When did you stop caring about yourself? You look like a homeless person. 7) [The time I am not a hundred percent sure actually happened, in a gift shop somewhere, my grandmother comforting

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me when I went outside to cry:] Sometimes I wish I had never had you. 8) You don’t deserve any of the things anyone gives you—you’re so ungrateful. 9) [So many times it would be impossible to count:] You’re lazy. 10) When you flinch you make me feel like a monster. I strip my childhood down to memories like this and run their familiar texture through my mind in an attempt to prove to myself that it all really happened, and to remind myself that normal mothers don’t treat their children this way. Most of the time I don’t bother to factor in the corporal punishment—the memories I have of running from her in the house, screaming, stuffing coasters down my pants to try to make some kind of shield. My relationship with my mother has always had a rhythm. I take as much as I can, until it is unbearable, then I tell her when something she is doing or saying makes me angry. (I used to feel like I was possessed as a child and teenager because I had no understanding that what was happening was a wicked combination of an anxiety disorder and emotional

abuse.) Our conversation escalates until she leaves to cool down, and I wait until it is time to go to her, properly penitent. The fights vary in severity. I have never felt like my life was in danger, but I have had household objects thrown at me or the ground. I have heard doors slam so hard the house shakes. I have been backed into a corner and slapped in the face. The one time I brought up the a-word (abuse) my mother melted into herself in the gym parking lot, bent over and crying hysterically until I backtracked on my story, and then said I had made it up to be spiteful, that I didn’t mean it. We all say things we don’t mean when we’re angry. I stopped bringing it up. At some point in high school I stopped blaming her and started blaming myself. I wrecked a series of romantic relationships because I was certain that anyone who got close enough to me would discover whatever toxic core made my mother treat me the way she did. My mother stopped the corporal punishment as I grew up (though the slapping still happened a few times), so I took over for her—scratching, slapping, and punching at myself whenever I

Images: Colleen Sullivan ’17

BY ANONYMOUS


felt like I had been bad or whenever my anxiety got too overwhelming to manage in any other way. When I showed up at Wellesley, my entire worldview was based on the belief that I was profoundly, inherently unlovable. I called my mom constantly, still desperate for her approval of all my decisions. My friends told me how jealous they were, how much they wished they could have a mother-daughter relationship like I did. At the time, I didn’t know to correct them. I did think my mother and I were close. If anyone had asked about the fighting, I would have brushed it off with a laugh: We’re just so similar— we know how to push all of each other’s buttons! It took until my sophomore year, when I had built strong relationships that, to my surprise, were not abusive, for me to realize that not everyone’s mother treated them the way that mine did. I remember distinctly sitting in my office of all places when the realization came crashing down that I was not the problem. It took me longer to cautiously use the word abuse. I went back and forth—I felt guilty for blaming my mother, I felt like maybe I had made everything up to feel special or to garner sympathy or to demonize her when really I had somehow driven her to abuse me because there was something inherently awful about myself. I still don’t always feel like I am al-

lowed to describe what my mother did as emotional abuse. Our fights were twosided. I have said mean things to her. She has done nice things for me. She has made huge sacrifices in her life for me, and I know without a doubt that she loves me. But none of this has stopped her from hurting me and from providing me with an outlook on the world that I am still struggling to shake off. I still panic every time a door slams or I hear someone fighting. I avoid conflict entirely, or turn passive when it comes up. I overreact to anyone who (even jokingly) tells me that I’m lazy. But over the last four years I have built an incredible support network through Wellesley that my mom has not touched. I have made the choice not to come out to her as queer until I have a partner who wants to meet my family, and as frustrating as the closet can be, having a part of my life that she doesn’t know anything about has been incredibly freeing. I no longer call or text her daily. I have learned how to manage our relationship, at least from afar, to avoid most of the screaming fights we used to have. I am very slowly learning how to tell someone when something they do makes me uncomfortable—and that I can articulate my need for boundaries without being screamed at, invalidated, or hit. I am learning, with the help of my friends, how best to create a buffer for myself when I have to go home or inter-

act with my family. I am already planning ways to get through graduation and minimize our contact (and my dependence on her) afterward. I am learning to trust that I will be able to build a life without her, and I am slowly accepting that it is her fault and her loss that she does not get the opportunity to really know the person I have become. I am slowly replacing the repetitive track of my childhood, the things my mother said to me. 1) You do not have to be good (thanks, Mary Oliver). 2) Practice Radical Love. 3) I am not salted ground in which love is incapable of growing.

For information about articles published anonymously, please contact the Editors-InChief (ofunderb@wellesley.edu, hdaytene@ wellesley.edu, cnowell@wellesley.edu). counterpoint / april 2016

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ARTS & CULTURE

the green dog at the cat circus I was looking forward to spending the afternoon with my cousin Oleg, whom I hadn’t seen in years. He was waiting on the snowy steps outside my dormitory. “We’re going to the circus.” Ada, his girlfriend, had gotten last-minute tickets to take her little sister to a show called “A Winter’s Tale” and on the spur of the moment, I couldn’t come up with a better plan. A trip to the circus was really not on my to-do list for two weeks in Moscow. In fact, surrounded by world-

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class theaters, museums, and food, listening to shrieking children and watching actors run around in clown noses and wigs was probably the last activity that I would have chosen. But I had no way out. At least I’d see bears trained to take vodka shots, I thought, or maybe a Russianroaring tiger. We were greeted in the lobby by a clown wearing felt boots under his galoshes, quilted pants, and a blue polka dot button-up, in all ways a stark contrast to the circus-goers. The dressing room next door was packed with little boys in slacks and girls in fancy dresses. The boys tied their ties while the girls changed from their bulky winter boots into glittery heels under the strict gaze of their parents and grandparents. “Do you remember how to untie your laces, Anya?” an elderly lady asked a smiling blonde girl in a purple velvet dress, while parting a boy’s hair with a wooden comb. “I do!” the boy responded. “How many times must I tell you not to raise your voice indoors?!” chided the grandmother. “You’re

in a theater, for goodness’ sake!” Oleg told me how his parents bought him a new pair of slacks to go to the circus and took him to the circus café to make sure he could properly sip a Russian fruit drink called комиот in public. For the grown-ups, any show is a welcome chance to teach their children manners. Finally, the crowd of well-trained children and their trainers moved to take their seats. A wave of shushes swept through the room as the first chords sounded. The show plot was quite simple, as the recommended age for viewers was 0+. On a snowy winter day, a hunter comes to a forest. His repeated attempts at shooting are foiled by forest animals and their beautiful snow queen. He tries to shoot a bunny, played by a stocky man in a onesie, but the rifle flies out of the hunter’s hands and onto a little sled – a sled pulled by a bushy white cat running on its hind paws. Not a human in a costume, but an actual feline cat. As the hunter chases the sled, another cat jumps in the way and he trips. A cat circus. For the love of God, I’m watching a cat circus in what little free time I have here in Moscow. The audience boisterously laughs. The cat with the sled with the rifle disappears behind the curtains. After several failed attempts at hunting, the hunter sees the error of his ways and befriends the animals of the forest. And the cats. The cats’ job was to help the snow queen save the forest animals, but even when their services were not required, they were present on stage for no appar-

Images: http://www.cb-pr.com/press/moscowcats.html

B Y RO Z A T R I L E S S K AY A


ent reason. While the hunter argued with the snow queen in the middle of the forest, there was a completely irrelevant cat just sitting on a shelf in the background. I mentioned it to Oleg during intermission. “That,” he said, “is an excellent example of the ‘green dog method.’” “It’s a tactic rumored to have been used by a clever Soviet theater painter to avoid any criticism of the content or import of his art.” The Soviet government exercised control over any form of expression and regularly sent inspectors to determine whether a work was pro-Soviet enough to be shown to the public. The painter would add a little green dog to all of his pieces so the art inspectors’ committee would get caught up “convincing” him to paint over the misplaced green dog. The painter would thus avoid any serious critique. Not even a children’s circus show could avoid a review by the committee, so the “green dog method” was transformed into the “cat method.” If one dog served as a distraction, dozens of cats would be more than enough. When inspecting the cat circus, the committee could argue whether there were too many cats on stage, whether it’s acceptable to use the American Shorthair breed, and whether Murka was a name patriotic enough for the star cat. The cats were enough work for inspectors to get so lost in fluff that they would miss a detail or two of potentially less-than-patriotic humor. Working with cats thus provided not only an artistic niche, but also some freedom from scrutiny. Our discussion was interrupted by bells signaling the end of intermission. The music slowly drowned out whispered conversations and the already-familiar cats began to jump between the trees and the hunter’s head, climb through obstacle courses with his encouragement, and even paw their way across parallel bars. Both children and adults ooh’d and ah’d watching as cats surrounded the hunter, dancing in a frenzy on their hind paws and creat-

ing a flurry of motion over the stage. Even the parents seemed too captivated to shush their children and pull them back to the seats. Glancing at Ada, I saw that her smile was just as wide as that of her little sister, who was so entranced that she had forgotten to squirm and squeal. But as soon as the show ended and the human actors took their bows with cats weaving between their feet, the adults were back on duty, nagging and scolding. I left wondering what it was that made the cat circus so wildly successful with audiences of all ages. By allowing viewers to reimagine unremarkable animals, maybe it has always served as relief from grey, banal life. Ada told me afterwards that, as a child she left the show convinced that her house cat was actually a bewitched prince charming. Certainly the method of misplaced cats provided both an outlet for the imagination and protection from the art inspectors. Today, there are no government art inspectors and the law backs freedom of expression. Yet the circus website still describes its children’s shows as promoting not only respect for elders but also “love and respect for the Fatherland, its people and culture.” Performance arts in Russia are largely government funded, so such a disclaimer can only benefit the circus. I didn’t notice any pro-”Fatherland” lessons incorporated into the show, so maybe the “cat method” is just as useful in the circus

today as it was decades ago. Those who came to the circus as kids grew up yearning to experience a sense of freedom and then returned as adults with kids of their own. For brief moments, protected by the green dog—or, as in this case, cats—government-trained adults with their parent-trained children can find release from their manners, constraints, and responsibilities in the whirling blur of the trained cats. I can’t believe I hadn’t wanted to see the cat circus.

Roza Trilesskaya ’16 (rtrilless@wellesley. edu) thinks circuses are the cat’s meow.

counterpoint / april 2016

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ARTS & CULTURE

On Lady Midnight: Favorite Books Old and New

T

he Mortal Instruments: a book series filled with magic and mayhem, where Cassandra Clare introduces us to a New York City where vampires, warlocks, werewolves, and faeries all coexist. Most importantly, it is a New York City occupied by shadowhunters: a race of partangel humans, born and bred to protect the mundane world (that’s us regular humans) from demons. There’s something fascinating about a book that whisks you away to an imaginary world only slightly removed from our real one—as Clare writes, “All the stories are true.” For all we know, the Shadow World could really exist, just hidden from all of us without the Sight. The Mortal Instruments, beginning with City of Bones and concluding with City of Heavenly Fire, follows Clary, a girl who discovers that she’s a shadowhunter on her sixteenth birthday. Clary, like those of us along for the ride with her, has to learn how all of this—runes, seraph blades, Mortal Instruments, Silent Brothers—works while attempting to thwart her evil father and rescue her missing mother. But wait, there’s more: Clary falls in love (because, of course) with a beautiful shadowhunter boy page 26

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named Jace who looks quite literally like an angel. Swoon. After six books, Jace and Clary get the happy ending they deserve. And after six books, I’m quite attached to the diverse and interesting cast of characters that diligently fought evil and always stood by each other’s sides, as the best kind of people do. Like all good things, The Mortal Instruments had to come to an end. A little sad, after everything these characters and I had been through together. But it’s not over yet. Clare had much more planned than just one series. First after The Mortal Instruments came The Infernal Devices, a trilogy set in Victorian England. And second followed The Dark Artifices, which centers on Emma Carstairs, a teenage shadowhunter whom we met briefly at the end of City of Heavenly Fire. Five years later, Emma lives at the Los Angeles Institute (a home base for shadowhunters in most major cities), with the Blackthorn family. The family is headed by Julian Blackthorn, Emma’s best friend and parabatai—parabatai are two shadowhunters bound together for life, in a platonic, warrior kind of way. Julian, after his parents died in City of Heavenly Fire has to become a father figure­—at age twelve, mind you—for his younger siblings Olivia, Tiberius, Drusilla, and

Octavian. And we’re off on a new adventure, but not one that is completely unrecognizable; Clare brings in familiar elements while also providing new twists. We have Ty, a character on the autism spectrum, whose siblings all love him dearly and want to help him fit into a society that doesn’t quite understand him. The shadowhunter government, the Clave, is not exactly known for its tolerance (“The Law is hard, but it is the Law.”) Ty is one of the most dynamic characters Clare has created yet, loving and fierce and innocent all at the same time. There’s also Livvy, Ty’s twin, who wants to be with him always. Dru in the middle, almost too young to fight but too old to be naive. Tavvy, only seven years old, doesn’t really understand all

that’s going on as his siblings investigate a string of murders. Lady Midnight’s characters have obstacles that Jace and Clary didn’t: after the Dark War, new Clave laws forbid

Image:s tumblr.com

BY OLIVIA FUNDERBURG


interaction with faeries. When a faerie convoy comes to the Institute asking for shadowhunter help bringing in the culprit of the recent crimes (faeries have also been victims), Emma and Julian weigh their options and decide to take action without the Clave’s involvement or knowledge. Risky. You know what’s even more risky? Spoiler alert: Falling in love with your parabatai, an actual matter of life and death. As Lady Midnight unfolds, we find the characters dealing with personal problems in addition to the political ones: most notably Emma and Julian who develop feelings they shouldn’t, try to deny them, can’t, and then have to deal with the consequences. Lady Midnight feels like a coming-ofage story in a way that the books of The Mortal Instruments didn’t. Julian and Emma are seventeen, so they’ve done a lot of growing up already, but a lot remains when the book begins. Julian has grown up faster than he should have had to as the acting father of four, and hasn’t had time to think about himself. Jules is very grown up with the responsibility he’s taken on, but his personal development has been set aside for the sake of his siblings. Emma has grown up without her parents for the past five years, and she’s spent that time laser-focused on solving the mystery of their murder (so when bodies turn up around LA that are disfigured similar to how theirs were… Irresistible). She too lacked adult guidance and didn’t have time to really explore her emotions and relationships. The two of them have matured somewhat selectively due to their circumstances, so in Lady Midnight new (normal) teenage problems come to the

forefront. The other reason Lady Midnight seems more like a coming-of-age story is the inclusion of the four younger Blackthorn children, who at ages seven to fifteen definitely still have a lot of growing up to do. A returning reader, who grew up alongside Jace and Clary can read about these new characters in a reflective sort of way, as an older and wiser figure, rather than as a comrade like we were to Jace and Clary. I had gone into Lady Midnight missing my old friends Jace and Clary and readying myself to let go of them. But it turns out, I didn’t need to. They are a part of Clare’s new story, as role models and mentors for Emma and Julian, and at the end of the book they even make an appearance, rushing to the Los Angeles

Institute when they fear the kids may be in trouble. While this is a new story, and a new generation of shadowhunters, those that we know and love from books past are still a part of this world, even if in the background. I don’t have to let Jace and Clary go as I get to know Emma, Julian, and all the others. I love Lady Midnight, but I can still love The Mortal Instruments, my first foray into the Shadow World. Clare seems to know that The Dark Artifices series will be taken up by readers both old and new. The old, like me, have grown since they first picked up City of Bones, and may also, like me, be in living through a period of transition and change. So when picking up a new book, it’s comforting to be greeted by the familiar as well as the new. Lady Midnight lets me know that while I am becoming someone new, I don’t have to leave my old self (or old favorite books!) behind. Olivia Funderburg ’18 (ofunderb@wellesley.edu) never leaves the house without a good book.

counterpoint / april 2016

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ARTS & CULTURE

Once More With W

hen my best friend and I were hired together as waitresses for the brand-new Mediterranean-inspired restaurant in Salt Lake City, Gusto!, we were fairly certain it was going to be the best summer of our lives. We imagined exchanging banter as we waited on regulars, making sandwiches while talking about our lives, and earning an extra dollar or two by winking at the right people. We were hired on the spot, without the owner so much as glancing at our resumes. That really should’ve been the first sign. The next day, I arrived at 9AM to an utterly empty restaurant. I was introduced to Drew. Drew was a lanky, blond young man with his own name tattooed at the junction of his shoulder and neck and a perpetual scab between his collarbones. Drew made it immediately apparent that he was a vitriolic misogynistic, racist homophobe and that he was high on horse tranquilizers most of the time. Drew worked maintenance constantly. It was like he never left Gusto!. After my brief, unpleasant introduction to Neck-Scab Drew, I was given a crash-course on my waitressing duties by Tiffany. Tiffany, an overbearingly motherly woman of around sixty who wore exclusively too-short dresses from Forever 21, had a famously grating voice, and she referred to my best friend and me page 28

BY ALLYSON LARCOM

as her “children now.” The “lunch rush” consisted of only two couples. I followed after Tiffany as she took orders, returned to the kitchen, and began preparing the meals by herself—no hairnet necessary. “Where are the cooks?” I asked, concerned that they might not have made it today. Tiffany looked at me, head tilted to the side. “There are no cooks.” “Excuse me?” “There are. No. Cooks,” she repeated, slower. “We make all the food here.” I blinked. “Oh. I don’t have a food handler’s permit, though.” “Eh.” She swiped my worry away with a wave of her be-gloved hand. “Get it in your own time. It’s not that important.” I was pretty sure it was that important, but she was my supervisor, so I believed her. The realization dawned on me that I had been hired not only as a waitress, but also a cook and barista. Never mind that I was only being paid for one of those jobs. I was too new on the job to feel bitter towards the Gusto! establishment yet, but something like it pricked at my heart. Weeks went by. I started bringing my laptop to the shifts I didn’t share with my friend, since the restaurant went long hours without a soul entering. I wrote most of my novel. The health inspectors came once, claiming they’d received complaints about a person living in the basement of the restaurant. I told them

counterpoint / april 2016

that that wasn’t true. They came back a second, a third time. There was no one living in the basement; there couldn’t be. Who could possibly be living in the basement? But at least my lack of food handler’s permit was the least of their concerns. One bright, shining moment sticks out to me from the early haze of listless days: A beautiful girl, with short hair and freckles, giving me her number but forgetting to give me her name. I was too nervous to ever text her, but Tiffany started giving me knowing looks after that. From that moment on, any time a woman between the ages of eighteen and thirty walked into the restaurant, Tiffany would make a joke. Her jokes never landed. It went unspoken amongst the staff that Gusto! was failing financially. Another friend of mine started coming in regularly, helping with barista duties during my shifts without asking for payment. Tiffany referred to this friend as my girlfriend. “Tiffany, Sonia and I aren’t girlfriends,” I explained, exasperated with the unfunny lesbian jokes (not to mention the fact that I’m not a lesbian—but I figured Tiffany probably wouldn’t have understood what bisexual meant anyway). Tiffany paused. “So you’re single then?” “Um… yes?” Tiffany laughed, boisterous and wheezing. “Well, don’t look at me!” I narrowed my eyes at the plush tiger

Image: http://www.yelp.com

A Completely True Account of My Summer Job From Hell


head over the owner’s office. “Although,” she continued to wheeze, “I bet you don’t want any of these powdered milk jugs.” She all but shoved her boobs out of the little black Forever 21 dress. “…I think I need to slice some more tomatoes.” I hurried into the back to the sound of Tiffany continuing to laugh and wheeze. The health inspectors came back again—yet another report of someone living in the basement. Tiffany was sure someone was out to sabotage us—what kind of outrageous report! As for myself, I was beginning to wonder why Neck-Scab Drew was always there. More weeks went by. Another waiter and I failed at making an omelet one morning when Tiffany was not there to instruct us. I started making avocado toast for myself with the overripe avocados that were too brown to serve. The second of our three managers adopted a dachshund puppy and brought it to work several times (another Health Code violation, but hardly the least of our Health Code concerns). One more moment is distinct from the rest in my memories: alone in the restaurant with Neck-Scab Drew—Drew threatening to stab our third manager Jorge, who was almost never there, in the parking lot—Drew telling me he’d stab me too if I tried to tell anyone. The next time there were multiple people in the building, I rushed to Tiffany with my account. Drew was immediately fired. “Where am I supposed to live?” I remember him asking as Tiffany gave him the hard news out on the smoking patio. Our owner had allowed him to live in the basement for free, so long as he was always available to perform handy-man duties around the restaurant. I felt the oddest sense of victory or clairvoyance. One of the two. Even with Neck-Scab Drew gone, our situation had gone from bad to worse. Our boss had to take out a loan to cover

our paychecks. The landlord finally evicted Gusto! from the space in mid-July. The owner, too cheap to hire cooks for his restaurant, was certainly not going to rent a U-Haul to move all of the restaurant’s things to our new location. Not when he had two plucky waitresses and one of them had a 2005 Toyota Highlander that could clearly work just as well. He didn’t rent a trailer, either, so my friend and I were forced to make multiple trips from old Gusto! to new Gusto!. We

would load up the trunk, drop off the stuff at the new location, and, since our boss was refusing to pay for gas money, take our sweet, sweet time coming back for the next round. We took a long breakfast. We went bra shopping. We strolled leisurely around a park and spent our afternoon in the sunshine. After most of the things had been moved to the new location, my boss told us not to come back for a few weeks while he got the new location in order. He

painted the inside of the new location the same garish green as Shrek. Or, as my friend put it once: “It looks like someone e-Shrek-ulated all over the walls.” By the end of July, the restaurant went completely under, taking my final paycheck with it. I probably could’ve gone to anyone with even basic legal expertise about it, but at that point, Gusto! needed to rest. I never got a chance to work at the new location. I spent August blissfully unemployed. Sometimes I still wonder about Gusto!. I wonder where Tiffany and Neck-Scab Drew are now. I wonder if the owner ever tried to start another restaurant, or if I was right in my assumption that it was possibly a front for something else. I wonder what the customers I served actually thought of it. I checked Yelp once, several months ago. It featured several 5-star reviews from people I know were personal friends of the owner, a one-star review coupled with an angry rant from someone going by the username “Salty D,” who I am at least 85% certain is Neck-Scab Drew, and one brutally honest review that calls the place “decidedly unwholesome and unappetizing.” I wish I could say I learned something from this experience. I suppose I could say I learned how to operate one of those large espresso machines they have in coffee shops. But other than that, I’m really not sure. Some days, I’m not even sure it happened at all. I have to agree with the brutally honest Yelp reviewer: “I could call it charitably a unique experience, but I won’t, opting instead to call it what it more accurately is: confusing.” Yes. Confusing, indeed.

Allyson Larcom ’17 (alarcom@wellesley. edu) wishes this story were fake.

counterpoint / april 2016

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ARTS & CULTURE

The American Disgrace:

S

o where are you from? the taxi driver asked me, speaking in rapid Portuguese. “Why don’t you guess?” I replied, proud to have caught his question. “You are Brazilian, from Rio.” “No, I am not, I only just learned Portuguese.” “French! No, German!” “No.” “Are you from the UK?” “No, I’m American.” “Really? Wow, I would have never guessed. You don’t act like an American.” ——————— The American stereotype abroad has been captured from many different angles, and immortalized in various forms of entertainment. The images that particularly come to mind is of tourists in khaki shorts who roll up their Hawaiian shirts to expose beige travel-safe fanny packs, and pull out large bills as they buy cheap souvenirs—ignorant meatheads who cannot use a phrasebook or eat anything other than McDonalds, and people who come back and tell their neighbors that the French are mean to anyone who doesn’t speak French, the Brits cannot cook, and all there is to Mexico is Cabo and Cancun. My mother constantly reminds me that I have the best passport. America is an uncontested superpower, giving me the privilege to travel safely around the world, but when I see it hanging in clear plastic around tourists’ necks I shrug away in embarrassment. I am by no means an exceptional American, but wherever I go abroad, I am frequently told that I am not like “other” Americans. When I was younger, I travpage 30

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eled with my parents to Austria to attend the 250th Mozart festival. When we arrived at the opera, our friends introduced us to the Bürgermeister (mayor). He was a large man, sporting a white tuxedo with a maroon cummerbund. He was cold and rude to me, probably dismayed by the presence of an American child (who might squirm, whisper, and eat Cheetos loudly throughout the performance) at such a prestigious event. After I sat patiently through the show and then the lengthy dinner (into the earlier hours of the morning), he confessed to my mother that I was the best-behaved American child he had ever met. Congratulations! My parents were so proud that their daughter did absolutely nothing and was awarded the immense honor of being an above-average American. An award-winning performance of a kid sitting quietly and not intruding on the adults and their fun. Bravo. I often question why the Bürgermeister and others have labeled me in this way. Perhaps a bit of US history holds some of the answers. Abbé Raynal explained in 1770 that we were a cultureless group, “America has not yet produced a good poet, an able mathematician, one man of genius in a single art or a single science.” After the United States gained independence from England in 1776, Americans found their new nationality greeted with hostility. Our former motherland spread rumors about our apparent greed and inferiority to Europe. However this generic disgust for the self-important American began, in my own experience I have found that American behavior abroad may actually deserve some contempt. Because the

Image:s http://xpatnation.com/

BY RACHEL THOMMEN


Where’s the nearest McDonalds? United States is a political and military superpower, Americans often feel entitled when traveling abroad. Not only do many Americans have an “I live in the best country in the world” mentality, but they also frequently overestimate the ubiquity of the English language. It is true that 335 million people worldwide speak English as a first language. English also surpasses Spanish when it comes to second language acquisition, adding another 500 million English speakers. However, regardless of the probability of someone near you speaking English as you travel abroad, it is not an amenity to be expected. Over one billion people speak Chinese and 400 million speak Spanish. When I traveled to Portugal for a medical internship, I overhead English speaking college students complaining that the Portuguese hospital doctors and staff didn’t speak English. Such little respect for another culture’s languages is one of the most common ways Americans undervalue other cultures. As I traveled, I have learned that the best foods are always the foods the locals recommend because it is what they make best. Even if the food sounds different or strange, it’s worth a try. I cannot count how many times I have heard an American abroad order an American meal only to be upset by their lack of condiments or proper preparation of the food item. They don’t have ranch dressing in France (only mayonnaise), and if you wanted food you could get from your local Denny’s perhaps you should have just stayed home. What is the point of traveling, trying new foods and meeting new people, if you just want to pretend you never left home?

In my experience Americans perpetuate most of their stereotypes by their own inability to recognize validity in the unfamiliar. Being different is not synonymous with bad, just as American is not synonymous with idiot. If Americans can dislodge their own preconceived notions about a world that contains 195 other countries and open their minds to the hundreds of cultures with traditions older than the beginning of our nation, perhaps the world would be willing to change its mind about Americans abroad. ——————— The 5 Unimpressive Things I Do to Challenge the American Stereotype: 1. Be respectful. 2. Be polite and show gratitude. 3. Try the foods recommended by the locals. 4. Try your best to learn and speak the language. 5. Do NOT use a lanyard to carry your passport.

Rachel Thommen ’17 (rthommen@ wellesley.edu) spends her days sunbathing in the leaky beaker since she never leaves the science center. counterpoint / april 2016

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ARTS & CULTURE

WHEN I THINK ABOUT THE CITY P

eople in Europe are on average much more attractive than in the US. Well groomed, fashionable, not overweight. Just comparing my T ride to the airport in Boston to walking around Munich today was eye-opening. Just saying, there are a lot of attractive German women…… An ex-boyfriend wrote this gem in a letter to me from Germany shortly after I dumped him. I usually tried read his letters with the passive eye of a long-suffering but loyal friend, but when a man who once wore orange sneakers with a tuxedo attempted to compare me unfavorably with my German counterparts, he managed to finally catch my attention. Even more irritating than the personal dig was his assumption that the difference in appearance between women on the T in Boston and those promenading around downtown Munich was a consequence of nationality. I could imagine what he was seeing in Munich; it was likely very similar to what I have seen in Paris and Moscow. Women my age in Paris seem to favor strappy page 32

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sandals and strapless dresses, in Moscow enormous fur coats and high-heeled boots are all the rage. The glitz and glamour of these European metropolises is evident in the way women carry themselves as they walk along the Champs-Elysees, or across Red Square. Boston is no different. The maze of streets fanning out from Downtown Crossing and anchored by the Prudential Center to the west and the Charles River to the North are populated by a female elite just as chic as their European sisters. But in any city, I enter another world as I push through the turnstile into a metro station. Here you see all the women: those who live their city lives behind-the-scenes, who staff the expensive boutiques, and scoop gelato or мороженое. They carry bags of groceries or chunky toddlers. Their customers don’t shun public transport either, but here they appear somehow diminished, slouching into their seats with sighs of relief, and perhaps slipping feet out of high heels to furtively rub their toes. Here the

similarities overpower the divide between these two groups of women. At the end of the day, we are all worn-out and vaguely, habitually frustrated. To be taken seriously in shops, restaurants and offices, those who can don a disguise and hide behind lipstick and hairspray. It’s more than good grooming and exercise, the culture of the city demands both fashion and glamour from the young female elite, almost regardless of occupation. The “beauty premium” is a name given by economists to the improved labor market outcomes of people considered attractive. It doesn’t only affect women, but expectations of women have evolved far beyond the baseline standard of appearance for men in identical positions. Women grasp at the beauty premium to gain a little bit more of an advantage in a world where women still do not compete with men on a level playing field. It’s exhausting, frustrating and expensive. Women who have the money shell out about $15,000 in their lifetime

Images: Nadine Franklin ‘18, http://special-hairstyles.com/

BY CLIO FLIKKEMA


on makeup alone, and this pales in comparison to their expenditures on clothing, purses, and shoes. Trips to the salon for complex haircuts and coloring gobble up both hours and dollars. It’s a luxury to be able to take time out of your schedule to utilize a gym membership, and healthy, good-quality food is pricy and time-consuming to prepare. The “pink tax” inflates these expenses even further, taking advantage of women’s desire to utilize the beauty premium by charging on average 13% more for products marketed to women than for identical items marketed to men. All over the world a subset of the women are left behind, lacking the resources for a cosmopolitan woman’s costume. In Boston, where half the population lives on less than $35,000 a year, it’s a big subset. But anywhere in the world, the women on the subway are different creatures than the women strolling between the highrise buildings. When we go underground, those of us who have the resources to buy the appearance of a successful women let the image fade. Suddenly we are all the same again. As my ex-boyfriend observed, we are no longer well-groomed after the wind has disheveled our hair. We are no longer fashionable as we shed blazers and scarves in the heat of the bodies packed together in the train. We may not look or feel particularly fit after those doughnuts eaten to make up for missing lunch. As the metro carries us homeward, we look at the men around us, examining us, dismayed at the change. We close our eyes, and try to remember that we can do anything they can do, as long as we can figure out how to do it in high heels.

Clio Flikkema ’17 (cflikkem@wellesley.edu) will wear high heels over orange sneakers any day. counterpoint / april 2016

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ARTS & CULTURE

EXACT CHANGE I

was the one who wanted to go to Prague. My friend and spring break travel buddy, Mel, had chosen the other locations—she had managed to convince me about Vilnius, and we had agreed on Krakow. Prague was not high on her list of priorities. Despite having done hardly any research on the city, I worked hard to convince her that we needed to see it before the end of the semester. I had a very particular image in my head. The Prague I expected was small, quiet, and quaintly beautiful. The Prague I encountered was large, commercial, and crowded: a tourist city that defied expectation. At first blush I was a little disappointed. But, as one does when abroad, Mel and I adapted. With a few days of travel already under our belts, we learned a handful of useful Czech expressions and set off to discover the Prague that lay outside our imaginations. We visited the Museum of Communism, whose small theater looped video footage of 1989 protests in Wenceslas Square, and whose gift shop—particularly the coaster set depicting a fanged, leering matryoshka doll—was a blatant “fuck you” to the former Soviet Union. We wandered around the elaborate Prague Castle gardens, taking pictures of the noisy resipage 34

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dent peacocks. We escaped an afternoon of freezing rain by holing up in a smoky pub, drinking cheap, enormous pints. Then there was the Metro. Mel and I spent ages jammed in with tourists and commuters, riding long, slow-moving escalators down to the train platforms, gawking at indecipherable ads and stark signs naming each stop in Soviet Bloc reds and yellows. The most important thing to know about the Prague Metro is this: it operates on an honor system. There are no turnstiles. You buy a ticket that’s good for a certain amount of time—twenty minutes, forty minutes, an hour and a half— and timestamp it before entering the platform. The only way to pay for tickets is with exact change, in coins. Mel and I were unprepared for this on the morning of our last day in Prague. We had planned to leave our backpacks in a locker for the day, before taking an overnight train to Krakow. As we descended into the nearest Metro station, we realized that neither of us had change. We stood before the bright yellow ticket dispenser, trying to decide whether we should venture back up to look for an ATM. Meanwhile, all around us, suit-clad commuters were striding past into the Metro, without so much as a glance at the ticket dispenser. Maybe they all had annual passes. Then again, maybe they didn’t. It would be unfair to say Mel and I were equally at fault. I remember saying

Images: media.liveauctiongroup.net

B Y E M M A S T E LT E R


something like, “It’ll be fine; don’t worry,” and starting off toward the escalator. It was mostly fine. It might have been completely fine if we had gotten off at another stop. But as we stepped off the train and set foot on the platform, it was clear that we were already caught. Two stout, stern-looking Metro police officers stood at the bottom of the stairwell, asking for tickets in English. We probably could have avoided the encounter altogether by jumping back on the train and getting off at the next stop. But in that moment, something—probably an overactive sense of honesty—propelled me forward. With our colorful backpacks and ratty sneakers, Mel and I were obvious tourists, and obvious targets. The officers approached us almost immediately: “Tickets. Hey! Tickets!” After a few futile moments of pretending I hadn’t heard them, I pulled out what I knew was an old, expired ticket from the other day. I guess I preferred they think me stupid rather than dishonest. Mel, more dignified, or maybe just more resigned, admitted freely that she didn’t have one. The of-

ficer examining my ticket—he was barely taller than me, but that made him no less intimidating—asked where we were from. I owned up to my American-ness, thinking I could easily keep playing the role of Dumb Tourist Who Doesn’t Understand Public Transit. Then the officer asked for our passports. “This is it,” I thought, “I’m going to Czech prison.” Taking our passports with them, the officers led us upstairs to a sign near the platform entrance, pointing out—again in English—the price we would be paying for my error in judgment. In a few embarrassing minutes, Mel and I were each poorer by 800 Czech crowns (about 30€). As we slunk away to the lockers, the short officer called us back: “Girls! Girls!” We returned—what could he possibly want now? He gave us a look I couldn’t read. I caught my breath. Then he handed us each a blank, 90-minute Metro ticket. The day improved, but only after Mel and I left the train station and took a selfpity break. We sat in a tiny café with a pastel color scheme, consuming overpriced tea and pastries, trying to shrug

off the shame and the blow to our wallets. We settled on the following line of thought: every trip needs a mishap budget for things like this. We had just spent ours. That night on the way to Krakow we had a good laugh about it. And for the remainder of the trip, neither of us set foot near a train, tram, or bus without a ticket in hand. Prague is different from what I had expected. But it clearly doesn’t mess around. Neither should you.

Emma Stelter ’16 (estelter@wellesley.edu) hopes you won’t file an honor code violation against her.

counterpoint / april 2016

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CAMPUS LIFE

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counterpoint / april 2016

DOWN 1. Dad: “Knock knock.” Me: “Who’s there?” Dad: “Impatient cow.” Dad, immediately: “___!” 2. What your dad actually did to make you 3. Dad: “Lackadaisical. How do you spell it?” 6. What is a cell if its girlfriend breaks up with it? 7. What do you call a cow that has just given birth? 9. 5/4 people admit that they’re bad with _________ 11 What did the fish say when it hit the wall? 13. What does a robot do on a one night stand? 16. The alternative to a chicken coop 17. What do you call a cow with no legs? 21. What do you call a deer with no eyes? 22. What time did your dad go to the dentist? 24. What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire? 26. Breaking news: a cheese factory in France has exploded, leaving nothing but ______ 29. That rock pun was ______

Images: Counterpoint Staff

ACROSS 4. What’s a vampire’s favorite dog? 5. I asked my dad if he got a hair cut. He said, “No, I got ____ cut!” 8. Cashier: “Would you like the milk in a bag?” Your Dad: “No, just leave it in the ______!” 10. What do you call a bee that makes really bad jokes? 12. One molecule says to another molecule, “I’ve got my ___ you” 14. What are you when you’re crying on the beach? 15. Me: “I’m hungry.” Dad: “Hello Hungry, I’m ___!” 18. What’s Forrest Gump’s password? 19. What’s brown and sticky? 20. What’s your blood type? 23. I went shopping for __________ pants but I couldn’t find any 25. A very friendly rock 27. What’s yellow and black with four wheels on top? 28. A frog says, “ribbit,” but a horny toad says, “______” 30. What’s a music major’s favorite grade? 31. What’s the secret of com—?


CROSSWORD:

dad jokes

counterpoint / april 2016

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CAMPUS LIFE

31 things that four years on counterpoint fond farewell from the gave us: agraduating editors-in-chief 1. A penchant for em dashes 2. A fierce devotion to the Oxford comma 3. Countless hours spent editing in the Clapp Computing Classroom 4. A permanent residence in the Jewett Media Lab 5. Deep awe and respect for our sisters and siblings 6. Trust in others (even if Hanna still monopolizes creative control of the layout and Cecilia edits everyone else’s edits—sorry) 7. Smash fries 8. A dad collage 9. A ubiquitous floating leg 10. Countless hours of fireplace-room-bonding 11. Love for all the writers and artists who share their souls with us 12. A deeper connection to the Wellesley community 13. Experience organizing a protest (#SaveOurPublications2k15) 14. Embitterment toward SOFC 15. An intimate knowledge of the tunnels

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counterpoint / april 2016

16. The discovery that they actually don’t card you for spraypaint in Massachusetts 17. A one-time tour of the suicide suites 18. Numerous funding panics 19. A voice 20. BFF status with Rick at printing services (we love u dude) 21. A smashing old time at CounterPINT 22. A walk through history via archived issues from the beautiful mess of locker #051 23. Collections of said archived issues under all of our beds 24. Yik Yak love 25. Yik Yak hate 26. Increased appreciation of anonymous love / increased tolerance for anonymous hate 27. Many candid conversations about sex 28. Ditto pubic hair 29. Deep love for our alums and their incredible, ongoing support (we’re looking at you Stan, Maddy, Mariana, Ali, Oset) 30. Actual appreciation for Strunk & White; grammar is great, guys 31. A family.

Image: Hanna Day-Tenerowicz ’16

B Y H A N N A D AY- T E N E R O W I C Z & CECILIA NOWELL


your your your your your your your your your your your your your your your your your your your your your your your your your your your

submit

thoughts feelings opinions rants dismantlings of oppressive systems personal essays art propaganda photography letters to your young self 2 am scrwalings poll ideas lists of creative pickup lines photo essays commentaries crossword ideas dad jokes musings playlist concepts dream analyses creative acocunts of awkward moments doodles amusing text convos list of the top ten yik yak memes shower thoughts complaints about the administration {___________}

send submissions to ofunderb or cyu3

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counterpoint / april 2016


SATIRE

IT HAPPENED TO ME: MY HOUSING HORROR

STORY

Content warning: bugs, ghosts

D

ear Students,

It is not often that I talk about myself in this magazine; my purpose on this campus is to give advice, and typically I stick to simply answering the questions you send me. Today, however, I want to offer you some advice in the form of a cautionary tale taken from my time as a student here. It was a hot July day in the summer before my first year. I sat in front of my computer, repeatedly refreshing my email in the hope that Wellesley would finally send out housing assignments. On the umpteenth refresh, I saw it: the coveted email from Diane O’Leary. I clicked, and the wifi slowed down as if suspended in time, a premonition of the daily struggle that would befall me at the hands of Wellesley Secure. I felt a cold breeze cut through the humid summer air. At last, the email loaded and my fate was revealed to me. A spacious double in Claflin! With three windows! And a lake view! This was too good to be true! The

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counterpoint / april 2016

goddesses had smiled upon me! After I got over my initial excitement, I decided to Facebook-stalk my roommate, as one does. But she did not appear to have Facebook. And when I tried to email her, I got one of those Mailer Daemon messages back saying that my message had “permanently failed to send.” And when I looked her up on the Wellesley Directory, no results came up. I dismissed these oddities however, rationalizing that my roommate-to-be was just too cool and hipster to be on the grid. I decided to be patient and wait until move-in day to meet her. Fast-forward to orientation week. My roommate arrived before me. Her stuff was in the room, but she and her parents were not. The room’s curtains were ancient, velvet, and moth-eaten; the carpet had mysterious bleach stains; the plastic surfaces of our seafoam green mattresses were torn in places; the overhead light flickered its sickly yellow color; silverfish periodically crawled from cracks in the ceiling. I felt like Diane O’Leary had betrayed me. As the sun gave way to darkness, my parents left. My roommate still hadn’t

shown up. I was getting kinda worried about her. I decided I’d go take a shower to clear my mind (and to scrub off the sweat encrusted on my skin from moving boxes in the August heat all day). When I came back, my roommate’s side of the room was all set up: her clothes were hanging neatly in the closet, piles of books were stacked on her bookshelf and desk, her bed was neatly made with an old-fashioned quilt. She had no decorations save for a single faded sepia-tone photo of a group of four holding a banner that read, “1916.” I felt a chill run down my spine, and it wasn’t just because of my dripping hair. At that moment, I heard the door creak open behind me and, finally, I met my roommate. A ghost. Housing made me live with a ghost. You thought your firstyear roommate was bad? Mine screamed and wailed through the night, every night. Each night, she whispered stories into my ear, the same ones over and over again, as I was trying to do my readings. She told me all about how she graduated from Wellesley as one of the roaring red class of 1916, how she lived life just as she’d always planned—employed at a

Images: Colleen Sullivan ’17, http://wellesley.edu

BY MS. COUNTERPOINT


publishing house at age 22, married at age 25, children at age 28, retired at age 65—but when she passed away at age 82, her soul refused to pass on, instead pulling her back to Wellesley College. Forever trapped at Wellesley, she joins the new red class every four years. Her only regret, she told me time and time again, was that she never let herself deviate from the 20-year plan she made in college. She speculates that that was what caused her to return to this place, as though her soul were begging her to change her own history. “Please, for me,” she whispered, “do not give in to the rigidity of the Wendy lifestyle; there is so much temptation to do so, but you mustn’t become one of them.” But I must have become a Wendy somewhere down the line, because here I am, stuck forevermore within the pages of this magazine. So anyway, that’s the story of how the Wendy lifestyle will haunt you; let yourselves live, kids. And don’t forget to FORWARD THIS TO 15 PEOPLE IN THE NEXT 5 MINUTES OR ELSE DIANE O’LEARY WILL HOUSE YOU IN THE DORM ROOM OF YOUR WILDEST NIGHTMARES IN THE BASEMENT OF DOWER!!!1111!!1!!1! Yours, Ms. Counterpoint

Ms. Counterpoint (counterpointmagazine@ wellesley.edu) HoPeS yOu FoRwArDeD tHiS eMAIL!!!!1!!!!!1!111!11!11 lol im so random XDDD

counterpoint / april 2016

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SATIRE

The Prophecies Spoke of This

T

he prophecies spoke of this. Below the ice, pitted and melted where the raindrops have struck, the water, dark as ink, protects its own. Shadows whip across its surface, and the timid sun hides all but the briefest glimpse of the silt below. A bloated mouth opens to swallow any tiny, unfortunate creature in its path. Far beneath the melting ice, fins and whiskers stir from their long slumber

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and move, slowly but distinctly, towards the surface of the water. In his house at R’lyeh, the nameless monstrosity of the deep senses, for a moment, a darkness deeper than even its own. The koi have arisen. No one can say for certain from whence they came—perhaps from a Wellesley garden pond, or from the depths of hell itself. Nevertheless, they slumber beneath the waves of Paramecium Pond, waiting for spring to arrive, or for the Elder Gods to call them forth to raze the cities of earth to the ground. Whichever comes first. As the dead of winter loosens its grip and yields to the vaguely less dead Bostonian spring, they wait for the rains that will flood the banks, and bring all life down to their subaquatic kingdom. The installation of an overflow drain has only blunted their ambition. They are patient,

counterpoint / april 2016

and they are old, and they are highly omnivorous. They will flourish in the hot summer sun, which cannot penetrate their golden scales or melt their icy hearts. They have no souls, only the darkness of the Old Ones, which propels them through time, to their destiny. Soon, the ice will return, and the leaves will fall, and they will sink to the mighty deep and wait for the sun among the simpler fish of the pond. Until the end of time.

Hannah Davelman ’16 (hdavelma@ wellesley.edu) warns you to keep an eye out for anything fishy.

Images: Midori Yang ’19 (back cover), http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v313/ponyguy; http://www.koi-

B Y H A N N A H D AV E L M A N


POLL:

STRAIGHTNESS BY CLASS YEAR

This month, we asked you one question: are you straight? We’ve all heard the old rumor that 2019 is Wellesley’s queerest class yet, and that 2018 is the straightest class at the college right now—but are those rumors true? 638 of you helped us to find out for certain.

2016

2018

yes no other

yes no other

2017

2019

yes no other

yes no other

OTHER RESPONSES: “hetero-romantic asexual (so kind of straight)” • “I’m. Not. Quite. Sure.” •

“queerish” • “Straight-ish” • “idk” • “idk probs not though” • “lol idk” • “Most likely straight, but don’t want to define my sexuality yet.” • “Not sure” • “¿ maybe ?” • “Approximately” • “Depends on the day?” • “Eh. Sorta? Mostly?” • “i literally have no idea everyone stop asking” • “I’m so gay that not even my hair will stay straight after I flat-iron it” • “im not cis either” • “No need to put a label on it (:” • “Questioning” • “signs point to no” • “who can ever be sure” • “Who knows” • “heteroflexible” • “*laughs for a really, really long time*” • “Depends on the weather” • “idk................... mostly?” • “Straight as a *rainbow emoji*” • “v unclear” counterpoint / april 2016

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special april fools’ edition

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