Bard College, the liberal arts school located 120 miles north in Annandale-on-Hudson, "puts the 'liberal' in 'liberal arts,'" according to the 'Princeton Review.' It has a 600-acre campus and nearly 1500 undergrads. This is their story—as told by a student who would like to be known as Stephan K. Some names have been changed to protect the guilty.This week, we learn that college is an incredibly cruel place, particularly when people are having sex in shared dorm rooms.
When Lips the dance major received her room assignment over the summer, she was more than a little surprised to find that her roommate for her first year at Bard College would be Aphelia, a girl from her high school with whom she had a more-than-slightly tarnished history.
While the set-up could have been like a great soon-to-be-vintage Lindsay Lohan film, where high school nemeses gone off to college have a series of mishaps and explorations while a Ben Folds song plays and either become lesbians, best friends or discover that they're actually long lost twin sisters (or all three), Lips the dance major was not optimistic. Her own relationship with Aphelion was not the thing she worried most about. Rather, it was the relationship Aphelion had with another classmate of theirs, who was also going to Bard, Semen. (This is not our pseudonym; this guy chooses to use the nickname Semen).
Semen and Aphelia had been dating since spring of high school senior year—they got together less than a week after Aphelia had broken up with her long-time boyfriend, a guitar-playing Russian with a penchant for wearing hats that look like the intestines of that animal thing that opens up in "Star Wars" when it gets cold.
I told Lips that I gave the Semen and Aphelia two weeks, tops, before they broke up. She disagreed.
When the semester began, we, the people that knew Aphelia and Semen from high school (in their apparently mediocre pre-Bard life, in which taking nude pictures of each other on Photobooth qualified as art), were instructed, by the couple themselves, that they weren't going public with their relationship quite yet and wanted to keep it on the down-low so as to not appear to be "that couple."
The second week of school, it seemed that they changed their minds. This happened when Aphelia (perhaps agitated at the suspicion that her beloved had relapsed back into his porn addiction) decided to smoke pot for the first time ever at noon, while trying to be included in the preparations for the first annual Fucked-Up Friday toga party.
After eating with the boys at Applebee's, going on a journey to the nearby Dollar Store and purchasing a lot of vodka and plenty of 99-cent Pterodactyl-Fruit Juice Substitute to go with it, the innocent Aphelia (who was known in high school as the girl who accidentally dated a cross-dresser, and at Bard as being the girl who made friends by instructing others how best to avoid the freshman fifteen) was struck with the symptoms of being absolutely shit-faced.
And early in the morning to come, Lips decided to go to sleep. But when she arrived in her room, Aphelia, green as a waxed apple, was lying in her bed, spooning a nearly-nude Semen. Without opening his eyes, he instructed Lips to "go sleep in my room."
Luckily for her, Lips had already become good friends with Semen's roommate, GG Trance, who was more than sympathetic to her cause, and even reassured her that he was almost positive Semen's sheets were clean.
When she returned to her room the next morning, she was confronted with a terrible strong odor that, she realized, must have been what inspired Semen's name.
She then knew what it was like to be a sexile.
Sexiles, who come in all forms, genders, orientations and moods, go through several stages of sexilization. At that moment, Lips was in the very first stages, in which one displays rationality and even sympathy. She told me that Aphelia's weak stomach, and Semen's withdrawal from his beloved porn, more than justified the hostage-holding of both her room and her well-being that night.
When Semen, who had made his beloved promise him that she would never smoke pot, discovered that she had betrayed him and toked up, they wept together in the middle of the quad and played guitar, he without a shirt on, she with her glasses slightly askew. Of course that is sympathy-inducing.
Then when Aphelia and Semen decided to cure their disintegrating relationship with a regimen of sleepovers and fake orgasms, Lips entered the second stage of sexilization: Novelty.
That is a creative phase. Several Facebook albums, entitled "What I Do When I'm Sexiled," ensued.
But when Aphelia's lavender oil diffuser failed to mask the manly odor that could probably qualify as low-grade biological warfare, Lips entered the third phase of the sexile: Shopping. The purchasing of several bottles of Oust, Febreeze, Lysol and hydrogen peroxide, as well as several Bad Air Sponges, followed.
She even considered purchasing a hospital curtain, or perhaps an Aero Bed, so that she could sleep wherever she wanted.
Aphelia responded to Lips' growing bitterness and anger over the situation (fueled by several incidents where Lips, sometimes accompanied by myself, other times alone, walked in on a private moment, as well as a time when Aphelia neglected to tell Lips when Semen was coming over, causing her to be so fearful that she might accidentally find herself in a threesome that she wore the same outfit for two days and one night) by detailing to her the complications of her sex life, including such winning statements as "I'm sorry we kicked you out, but, just so you know, it wasn't good for me either" and "I can't control when he wants to have sex."
Lips entered the next stage: Violence.
With myself and GG Trance as her accomplices, we are nothing but a trio of a dance major, a fruity major in the bullshit "Written Arts", and a music major that "doesn't believe that books are important" and thinks "John Cage probably never even heard of 'West Side Story.'" Which is to say, we don't make for a very intimidating group.
So instead of breaking things or people, we chose a sort of passive-aggressive retribution. I did my part, asking Semen how he felt about the way Aphelia flirted with the juniors from Italy, and questioning how he felt about "not being allowed to receive blow-jobs."
Lips chose a more direct approach, handing Aphelia her schedule and telling her she could do whatever she wanted while Lips was in class, and that Semen had to be "out of the room" (the used condom with him) by the time she got home.
GG Trance tried reason and undermining: Such as "she would really look better if she shaved her head."
On Halloween, in the middle of this stage, Lips entered her room cautiously. Aphelia and Semen were seated on the bed, awkwardly facing each other. Aphelia looked up at her roommate.
"Could you give us the room for a second?"
"Why," Lips asked.
"We're breaking up," Aphelia said, a tiny tear forming in her left eye.