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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Don’t let them get in their Friend Zone

It’s likely that most students who have wandered onto High Street late one weekend night have ended up in The Friend Zone. However, some may know the house by one of its other names, including The Czech Republic and Grad School. The house is located at 1017 High Street and is home to Sam Dunnington, Drew Ohringer, John Seng, Lauren Teixeira and Clare Mao (all ’14).

While most students choose to live with their closest friends for their last year in college, the residents of 1017 High chose to form a new group of friends. Many of the five housemates were actually not even that well-acquainted prior to moving in together.

Drew Ohringer, Clare Mao, Sam Dunnington, John Seng and Lauren Teixeira (all ’14) pose with their unsually flattering DB photos. Photo by Joanna Silverman.
Drew Ohringer, Clare Mao, Sam Dunnington, John Seng and Lauren Teixeira (all ’14) pose with their unsually flattering DB photos.
Photo by Joanna Silverman.

The group accredits Teixeira as the “linchpin” that brought them together—especially in introducing Ohringer to the other members.

“At first, I was like ‘who is this person?’” Mao said of her initial reaction to hearing he would be living with them. With time, Mao has grown to be slightly more accepting of Ohringer.

Though Teixeira played an important role in bringing them all together, it is her gray stuffed elephant, Fluffer Nutter, who is responsible for keeping them close. The group recalled a dark time when Fluffer Nutter was absent from the house.

“It was just a morally degenerate time in our house without Fluffer Nutter around—people were just behaving badly,” Dunnington summarized.

However, all bad behavior ceased once the elephant retuned to the house.

“We were all chain smoking while Fluffer Nutter wasn’t here, but we all stopped when he got back,” Teixeira said.

Being morally dependent on a stuffed elephant is not the only thing that sets the house apart from other off-campus houses. The Friend Zone also holds house concerts and “burns.” Ohringer and Seng took advantage of their house’s fire pit to hold a burn of a semester’s worth of academic articles they had accumulated.

“We burned JSTOR,” Ohringer recalled.

This burn should not be taken as the group’s disregard of academia. Quite contrary, the members of the Friend Zone have strived to be highly involved in academic pursuits outside of the classroom—especially in regards to Grinnell’s English Department, as four of the five house members have done English MAPs.

“Our house has sucked more English Department dollars up than any other,” Dunnington said.

This may be the influence of Ohringer being a model ‘Lit Bro.’ For those unfamiliar with the term, Mao provided a clarification.

“A Lit Bro is different from a regular bro, because they’re bros who think that just because they read and listen to music that they are somehow better than everyone,” she said.

Other signs of a Lit Bro include liking Radiohead and playing the acoustic guitar. Fortunately, The Friend Zone has taken it upon themselves to alleviate this growing dilemma.

“We rehabilitate Lit Bros in our basement,” Dunnington shared.

In addition to Lit Bros, the house also welcomes other members of the school or community into their house, even to spend the night, under the condition that they leave in a timely fashion.

“If you bring home anybody, checkout time is 11 a.m.,” Dunnington said.

But the friends also look to be as accommodating as possible to one another. Teixeira claims that checkout time was once extended for Ohringer to 11:15 a.m. for a special occasion.

Another special occasion may soon be upon Ohringer. He currently owns a collection of ‘fiancé sweaters,’ a term coined by Teixeira, that goes into rotation amongst all five friends. The group describes the sweaters as being comfortable and safe, just as one would like to appear when meeting their fiancé’s parents. Teixeira plans to wear one of these sweaters to Chains this Saturday in hopes of meeting her fiancé.

“So basically I have this sweater on and I’m like ‘Hey babe, I can meet your parents,” Ohringer explained.

Despite being prepared to meet his fiancée’s parents, the real challenge for Ohringer may be finding a fiancée. His friends accuse him of being a fairly inadequate cook. Ohringer once cooked a single package of ramen with the included ramen flavor packet, an Easy Mac cheese packet and Lawry’s Seasoned Salt.

“If you took a bite of it, your mouth just went dry,” Dunnington described. “Your mouth aged five years.”

Ohringer himself had an equally challenging experience.

“I was thirsty for two days after that,” he remembered.

Though Ohringer should not be seen as completely inadequate. He is currently winning ~The Competition~ and his housemates are not too thrilled about that.

It may be somewhat of a surprise that Mao is not winning ~The Competition~ because her housemates describe her as being the most on top of her life.

“She’s definitely the most powerful person in this house, both in terms of her social capital and official position [as Diversity and Outreach Coordinator in SGA],” Teixeira said of Mao.

Despite what initial impressions of The Friend Zone may be and their coincidental formation, the five have discovered that their friendships are just as strong as any other.

“I think if you factor in everything, our house is perfectly balanced,” Seng said.

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