New students may have already heard of the fatal sin of dorm life: “dorm-cest.” The idea of dating someone from your hall is likened to incest because, for at least freshman year, your hall is supposed to be something of a family. You will be told time and time again not to go for the guy or girl who lives down the hall by at least one of your professors.
However, you probably have not been thoroughly warned about another danger lurking right around the corner: “club-cest.”
Yes, hook-ups with the other members of a student club or organization are an all-too-real and present danger.
Club-cest is low-hanging fruit. It is very easy to be tempted by an individual who shares a passion of yours. Clubs are a convenient platform to share mutual interests with a hottie, and the structure of a club provides consistent meet-ups with them. Having a crush, boyfriend or girlfriend in your club can certainly energize an otherwise bland meeting, but you must still beware.
Adding to the peril of “club-cest” is the looming threat of club mixers and socials. Gone is the structured meeting and alcohol is thrown into the equation. You might not be your normal, shy self after you’ve had a healthy dose of Burnett’s vodka and that senior with the perfect smile who loves French cinema as much as you do is even more appealing.
It is very easy to convince yourself that your love is different and that your shared interests can transform a spark into an enduring fire. Perhaps you think that you are cool and collected enough that a casual affair will not make encounters awkward. However, countless students have made these same mistakes out of sexual confidence and misdirected hubris.
Unfortunately, if the weekend’s sexual exploits disappoint either party involved, come your meeting on Tuesday evening, he or she suddenly might not care as much about your idea for a poster camping to raise awareness for the endangered Japanese giant salamander. Your idea is now a waste of club recourses and your weekly meetings are now a painful reminder of your rash decisions and ultimate rejection.
That is the danger of “club-cest.” Once you have kissed a fellow club member, you can kiss that club goodbye. You simply cannot concentrate on hitting the right notes in your a cappella group when an overwhelming wave of self-hatred and sadness swells into your throat every time you look across the room.
Alas, millions of potential environmental activists and ballroom dancing prodigies have been forever turned from their true calling because “club-cest” made the social Garden of Eden, in which they once cherished and thrived, a toxic and drama-filled hell.
Thankfully, there are some coping strategies that may help fend off some of the temptations of “dorm-cest” and “club-cest.”
First, recognize that it is natural to have attraction to people that are not necessarily what’s best for your long-term comfort and happiness. Be aware that your heart (or your loins) will fight relentlessly to convince you that your circumstances are different and that you can manage an “incestuous” relationship. Don’t be tricked by the sweet whispers of your mind’s own devious serpent. Any potential benefits of “club-cest” just aren’t worth the pain.
Look for people outside your close social structure that interest you. When the urge to commit “dorm-cest” or “club-cest” arises, you can quell the storm of forbidden desire with the knowledge that there is a whole garden of other fruits to pick.
If you’re the type of risk-taker who decides to participate in “club-cest” anyway, at least consider holding off until halfway through the second semester and be sure to have some honest, open communication with the other person as well as with yourself. That way, you still have a chance to enjoy your club if things head south.
Emily Gardner is a Confusion Corner columnist who thinks raising awareness for the endangered Japanese giant salamander is more fun than kissing fellow club members.