The Scarlet & Black

The Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Column: Consider possible outcomes of 100 days debauchery

100 Days is quickly approaching, and I can’t stop thinking and talking about this notorious tradition for seniors. This Saturday, a majority of the class of 2009 will head downtown for pizza, drinks, and … well … lots of making out. From what I’ve heard from many of my senior friends in the past three years, once you get past the first few partners and the first few drinks, it really stops being awkward.

But can kissing at this school turn from sexual attraction and desire to a standardized sign of affection and comfort with non-partners? It seems that’s been the case in the past years at this event. If that’s true, I can’t wait. I love kissing and I love friends! I’m not sure if I love kissing friends, though.

I’ve done it before and, well, combined with the peppermint schnapps, I woke up with the strangest feeling in my stomach. Straddling one of my best buddies on my bed in Cowles, I knew that what I was doing felt weird and wrong—but what’s the difference between making out with him behind closed doors then and in the bar of Jimbo’s this weekend? What I’ve decided about 100 Days, though, is that it’s different from waking up and realizing you probably made a mistake that shouldn’t have been. This time around, we all know exactly what we’re getting into and we all know to respect each others’ wishes and comfort levels.

When we’re creating a safe space for affection, it doesn’t matter that those two haven’t stopped making out underneath that table for 15 minutes or that you aren’t on someone’s kiss list. What matters is that these kisses can be meaningful and steeped in love or just a reflection of purely superficial adoration of and attraction to someone’s face or body.

Despite the fact that we all know we’re probably going to be making out with each other with relatively little baggage the next day, there’s always the danger of going past your expectations, and plenty of us have already created and debated rules about the night. I know plenty of straight friends who don’t know if they’re comfortable making out with those of their same gender. One hasn’t quite decided whether he’s okay with making out with guys. And what about facial hair?

Should I make a concerted effort to avoid kissing my best friends because it’ll be weird, or should I go for it after assuring it won’t ruin our friendships? What if I kiss someone and then decide, in the heat of the moment, to take that person home? These are moments that may make or break our sexual identities, boundaries, relationships, friendships, ex-romances, and crushes.

Maybe danger’s the wrong word. Perhaps we’re just finally going to freely explore and question and cherish each other within those brief, inebriated four hours. There’s opportunity for growth and change, not to mention new friendships and budding romances.

We’ve been building up to this moment for seven semesters, more or less. We’ve been together for so long. We deserve to celebrate with each other, having made unique yet parallel journeys to our shared destiny on May 18. I’m excited to show so many of my classmates affection and solidarity in a space where love and excitement reign.

And when I see you on Sunday afternoon in A&M, both of us drinking coffee and water smelling faintly of bleach like it’s our lifeblood, I’m not awkwardly going to try to be the same person I was when I woke up on Saturday morning. I’ll try to be better, because I’ll have only 99 days left to know all I can about you before we pack up to start new and terrifying and exciting lives in all the corners of this earth. Maybe we’ll reach in through the hazy mists of the night and our three years prior, pulling out strings of memory and weaving our stories together, and we can laugh and cry and hug.

It’s going to be so weird and it’s going to be so fun, like riding on the back of an elephant or wrestling in spaghetti, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

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