Sex and the Ivy

Quotables: Stating the Obvious

Filed under: Quotables, Sex — Elle September 30, 2006 @ 10:47 pm

In a panic over what to wear …

Me (running around my dorm): “FUCK! FUCK FUCK FUCK.”
Allie: “No, that’s what you did last night, hon.”

For the record, I totally got some — and at Harvard, too! Clearly, a miracle. At least I can blog about something topical now. Sex and the Ivy is supposed to be about sex and the ivy, and until approximately 24 hours ago, I hadn’t actually hooked up with anyone at Harvard this term. About time, don’t you think? I mean, it’s October.

Sophomore year has finally commenced.

Men Suck. Harvard Men Swallow.

Filed under: Dating/Relationships, Men — Elle @ 10:20 pm

At Harvard, one out of ten likes other men. I know more gay guys willing to go shopping with me than straight guys willing to take me out to dinner.

This is really depressing. And I’m even a cheap date. Really.

Now let’s address the issue of men who suck. A few random anecdotes (about a few random people) from the past week demonstrating how much I hate the social scene at this school:

1. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl hook up. Boy and girl like each other. Boy cancels on her repeatedly due to extracurricular commitments and is in general an unavailable fuck.
2. Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Boy meets other girl at a certain sketchy final club and hooks up with her. Boy wakes up next to girl he’s not in love with and pushes her out of bed at 5 fucking a.m.
3. Boy meets girl. Boy tries to hook up with girl while drunk. Girl says no. Boy tries again. And again. Boy guilt trips girl for not hooking up with him. Boy can cry me a river.

And my personal favorite: Girl meets boy. Boy piques girl’s interest. Girl doesn’t hook up with boy while they’re drunk because she thinks that would be a real shit idea. Boy doesn’t get it, assumes she’s not into him, and gives up.

I know people read this thing, so enlighten me. What is wrong with Harvard? Our school is the place where virgins go to die virgins.

Thank god I lost it in high school.

Elle in the Press

Filed under: All About Elle, Blogging — Elle @ 6:07 pm

“The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”
– Oscar Wilde

THE HARVARD CRIMSON: Frosh comper from FM interviewed me yesterday for an article about Sex and the Ivy. She was a lovely gal :) Girl totally got investigative — despite my use of aliases, she’s gotten a hold of Kammy Kam and CK (via Facebook stalking of course). FM comes out later this week.

HUSTLER MAGAZINE: I’m going to be published! Mom will be so proud. I’ve just completed my first professional freelance assignment. I wrote a campus feature for Hustler magazine. Will be appearing on shelves in early December. Who wants to raid the porn section in Out of Town News with me?

THE NEW YORK TIMES: According to a friend, I appear in a photo accompanying this article from The New York Times. I was representing The Harvard Crimson at Trojan’s roundtable discussion about sex in college. Let’s hope the camera didn’t add weight.

The media and I are currently best friends. The public and I, on the other hand, have a weird relationship. Word is getting out about this website, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I can no longer expect anonymity nor can I blog without consequence. It’s not like my identity is a well-kept secret anyway, but at this point, I might as well start signing posts with my real name.

I’ve received several complimentary emails, Facebook messages, and comments this past week. They make me really happy. Privacy issues and all, I love that people read my ramblings. Makes me think that I could actually write a marketable memoir someday.

Calling All Harvard Males!

Filed under: Men — Elle September 29, 2006 @ 5:50 pm

Every girl in my blocking group wants to hook up with someone tonight. Boys? Step it up.

The Purge of Purging

Filed under: All About Elle, Facts and Fiction, Life — Elle September 26, 2006 @ 5:32 pm

THE last time I purged was junior spring of high school. I was in Seattle attending a journalism conference with my newspaper staff. After a sickening meal of McDonald’s ice cream and apple pie, I excused myself from the rest of the group and locked up my insecurities in the bathroom of a Sheraton suite. I bent down on my knees, lifted the toilet lid, and reached down my throat with two fingers. But nothing came out. After the third unsuccessful attempt, I gave up, sobbing as I clutched the porcelain rim.

I was 16 then, and I never tried to throw up a meal again.

I returned from Seattle, the incident forgotten in the span of a week. I completed my best academic semester of high school that June and spent a dizzying summer interning at E! Entertainment, volunteering for John Kerry’s presidential campaign, and coaching high school debate. I entered my senior year refreshed, inspired, and unstoppable. That fall, I amped up every extracurricular commitment, became a National Merit Scholar, and was accepted to Harvard before most of my peers had even finished applying to college. If I died at 17, my life would’ve been complete. I forgot about scales.

At the same time that I found validation in letters from Cambridge, I started dropping weight. The editorship of the school newspaper took its toll on my health. By June, I was overworked and underweight at 113 pounds, but for the first time since puberty, I was happy with my body. For the first time since puberty, I was happy with every single aspect of my life. I was even getting along with my mother. But once you’ve purged, it never leaves you. You begin to believe that it is actually an option, as if the reality isn’t that you have troubling body image issues but that you’ve found this incredibly effective way to keep the pounds from adding up. Even so long after the fact, it was difficult to keep the thought of throwing up from creeping in every time I consumed a large meal.

IT started when I sprouted to four-feet-eight. I was on the cusp of adolescence, the first to grow breasts, and considered the least fashionable of all my newly judgmental female peers. At 11, it is difficult to find refuge in your moral or intellectual superiority. When other girls weren’t criticizing me, I filled in the blanks. After learning about binging and purging, I determined that throwing up could be a viable weight loss approach. The problem with being precocious is that you discover things like eating disorders, sex, and drugs before everyone else, but stupidly, you believe you can handle it all because you’re more mature than most.

Not surprisingly, I couldn’t handle it. For years, my warped self-perception controlled my life. I was 12 when I first put fingers to throat. I so worried my boyfriend at 14 that he held my face, told me I was beautiful, and made me promise that I would never do it again. Four years later, my freshman fall hookup would give me a nearly identical speech. Showers were daily rituals. I stood before full-length mirrors, scrutinizing flaws before letting the water hit my body. And even today, I express an enthusiasm for scales incomprehensible to those unconcerned by matters of weight. For as long as I can remember, I was the girl who did everything and did it well, but like academics, my body was something I was never satisfied with, no matter what goal had been reached. I wanted to be skinny, and it seemed like it was the one thing I couldn’t have.

I hesitated at the checkbox for bulimia when I filled out my medical information for enrollment to Harvard. I’ve never been diagnosed with an eating disorder, so I feel uncomfortable laying claim to a disease which has inflicted greater pain on other women, those even less equipped to deal with their bodies than I am. But maybe there’s just not a name for the obsession of my youth. After all, the popular statistic is that one out of four American women have struggled with an eating disorder at some point in their lives. Yet even when I choose to tell my close friends, I find myself describing my experience flippantly because the lack of an official diagnosis makes my problem less real, less worthy of sympathy. So I fall back on lines, like the accurate but insufficient “I had a mild case of bulimia,” as if the disease that plagued me all of early adolescence was about as serious as the flu.

THE greatest irony about my struggle with weight is that the Freshman Fifteen saved me. As the New England leaves burned red and crisp with the season’s turn, my waistbands dug deep into my hips and my breasts spilled out of their cups. I began asking for larger dress sizes. I bought bras in every color. It was a gradual transition I barely noticed until I stepped onto a scale. I said offhandedly, “I’m gaining weight.” But then I realized just how much I’d put on. I was a size 4. I had stretch marks.

It would’ve seemed inconceivable months earlier. Overwhelmed by the stifling transition to Harvard, I didn’t eat the first three weeks of freshman year. My appetite fluctuated like my mood. Most of the time, I was energetic and upbeat; but other times, I felt inexplicably sad and desolate, unwilling to speak or even make half-hearted attempts at normality. I thought an apple made a perfectly good substitute for an entree, leading friends and roommates to wonder if I was anorexic. While fielding their suspicious glances and carefully-worded inquiries (”Is that all you’re going to eat?”), I almost laughed inside. I saw their discomfort before they even opened their mouths. They didn’t realize the worst was already over, that the habits they found shocking now were nothing in comparison to the paralyzing self-analysis I underwent at 13.

My problems never lasted past September. Though the climate cooled, I warmed to Harvard. By October, I ate well. By January, I was nearly twenty pounds heavier.

After the initial shock of realizing that I was no longer the svelte little thing who trounced onto campus a season earlier, I almost didn’t care that I was tipping the scales at a weight I would’ve deemed obscene a year ago. I was still far from heavy, so I doubled my wardrobe, solicited male attention, and realized that life went on. I had gained 18 pounds, one for each year of my life, and yet when spring blossomed, the world still stood. This was the final confirmation that I had not merely left a disease behind, but that I was finally okay with who I was.

I moved into Mather House two weeks ago. On my wall-length cork board, I have pinned up a series of eight pictures taken last fall. They are the result of my then-floormate’s VES project on Asian sexuality. I agreed to pose for her as a favor. Only later did I learn that the photos made their way into a student gallery at the Fogg. She shot me nude — my limbs plump, my hair unkempt, and my expression unafraid. Even when I was at my skinniest, I wouldn’t have been able to face the camera like that.

I remember the photography session fondly. As my floormate – usually soft-spoken — snapped away, she commented that she was impressed with my security. I hadn’t even realized it. I was secure.

There are differences now, subtle but enough that I trust my judgment more than I used to. This September, I found myself eating as little as I did a year ago. I stopped being able to recognize hunger pangs, an aftereffect of the havoc I wreaked on my developing body. It is always disturbing to realize that I must eat on schedule because I cannot rely on instinct. The cardinal rule of the inflicted is to never ask for help, because it is outside interference that impedes progress, so it was with a twinge of regret that I told my blockmates to watch me and make me eat if I didn’t do it on my own. But at least I asked.

I promised myself that sophomore year would bring the shedding of freshman flab. It is healthy. I could stand to lose some weight. I am down to the last eight pounds now, and they are slowly but surely peeling off. There is a scale by my bed — my first, borrowed from Terra — and I weigh myself daily. Sometimes I wonder if it is healthy to own a scale. I worry that I might slip back into old patterns of thought, and I don’t fool myself into thinking that I won’t. I am not repeating the same mistake I made at age 12. I am not invincible.

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