In one of (quite) a few instances in which I've severely disappointed my mama, I backed out of a long-planned decision to experience the gardenia-scented circus that is sorority recruitment, or rush. My first week of college in a new state and an all-girls dorm were overwhelming enough without stomping down St. Philip Street in a seersucker halter dress and platforms, checking out which row house has the sickest T-shirt display room.
Despite my mother's pleadings, I dropped out of rush immediately after the organizational meeting, mostly based on the fact that I'd never heard the words, "cute" or "capri pants," used more in one hour. Let me not be misunderstood. A few of my closest friends are sorority members, and they're damn good at it. I'm jealous of their dedication to something so tedious and time-consuming, as I just didn't have the energy.
The longer I've lived in the Holy City, though, the more I've been drawn to tradition. Whether it's eating crepes each Saturday in Marion Square or our Monday night bowling extravaganzas, my four years here have become rich with these small ceremonies.
A sorority may not have been my social venue of choice, but by the time this column is printed I will have crossed the Cistern and received my diploma, rocking madras wedges, a white dress from J. Crew, and (gasp) pearls. The College's graduation ceremony is only one of a myriad of Southern customs that have charmed the pants off of me, and I haven't even touched on the good ol' boys I've encountered.
A recurring disappointment, though, has been the lack of Southern hospitality my girlfriends and I have encountered in the bedroom. I recently canvassed my favorite ladies for their most horrifying stories of rude sexual behavior. Avery detailed a night in which a guy stopped, mid-deed, to say, "You know this doesn't mean anything, right?"
Brooke loves to explain how a recent conquest left the bed, only to turn and say, "I didn't even want to have sex with you."
My personal favorite involves about a quart of urine and an apologetic text message. My bed is significantly less comfortable these days, due to the removal of a ruined feather bed and mattress pad. These indiscretions must stop!
There's no question that our lives have become overwhelmingly saturated with sex since the '60s. The availability of birth control led to a revolution, allowing women (almost) as much sexual freedom as men. The days of courting and chivalry are over, sitcom parents aren't sleeping in twin beds, and college weekends revolve around the drunken hook-up. The least we could provide each other in this hormonal frenzy is a little common courtesy.
As often as we say "Yes ma'am," or hold an elevator door, we should also make our partners feel comfortable. Casual sex can be casual without a declaration of such mid-thrust. Maybe bedwetters ought to mention they've lost bladder control before nine hours of mattress seepage have occurred. Maybe we should take a cue from our predecessors who insisted that sometimes keeping our mouths shut is the best option.
The days of pretending that premarital sex doesn't happen regularly are long gone, but this is no excuse for boorish bedroom behavior. Southerners pride themselves on their trademark manners, but public consideration is no less important than the manners that occur behind closed doors.
A friend once told me that he thought modern women "just want to have their cake and eat it, too." As a history major, he should have realized that when it comes to women and sex, we've endured enough to deserve as much cake as our mouths can hold.