acceptance and hypocrisy

So Lauren, Jess and I went to a “program” being held by a senior fellow tonight. It basically involved us sitting around and talking while consuming organic food. Wild Oats sparkling fruit drinks, Newmans-Os oreo knockoffs, that sort of thing.

The Girl who put it on… I don’t know her name. She said she was from New York. She had nice hair and an upturned nose. And the things she said… mmm.

Start by saying how she’s in Ray Street — the dorm I lived in last year — and how she was surprised that they were placed in a special-interest community (in her case, Environmental Conservation or some such innocuous circlejerk). “A special community? I mean, what, do they think I’m stupid?”

Pick up the conversation a few minutes later, and she’s commenced to ranting in even tones about how “unaccepting” the UD community is. We form cliques, we’re unaccepting, we’re not friendly.

“Isn’t that just human nature, though? I mean, you said you were a polisci major. Doesn’t history show us that people tend to clump together into groups and distinguish ‘us’ from ‘not us’ based on shared properties and interests?”

“It’s worse here than other places,” she says. “What other places?” I inquire? After some avoiding the question and repeating her unsupported assertions, she relents: “Brown. Brown isn’t like this.” “And what’s the tuition at Brown now? Thirty five thousand a year?” I ask. “Oh, no, at least 43!” she exclaims. “You don’t think maybe that people who are smart and/or rich enough to go to Brown form something of a self-selecting group? That Brown is, compared to UD, just a single large clique?” No, that doesn’t seem to hit the spot.

“College students are supposed to be, you know, big liberals, but people here aren’t like that.”

A mutual friend of ours, accompanied by an unknown young man, pokes her head in and smiles. “Hey guys!” she says. “Hey, we’re talking about energy conservation! Do you want to come in?” The Girl says. “No, sorry,” says Mutual Friend, smiling sweetly. “I have a lot of homework to do tonight. Have fun though!” The Girl waves and mutters under her breath “Guess boys are more fun than us.”

“She said something about being accepting?” I whisper into Lauren’s ear. We both crack up laughing.

We left soon after that, growing ever more eager to escape this polished cheese grater.

Jess, it turned out, was thinking the same thing. And when Lauren Isaacs curses your name, you know you’ve done something wrong.

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