Sex and the Ivy


Filed under: Philadelphia — Elle February 22, 2007 @ 3:56 am

Reader Poll: What are you giving up for Lent?

There’s no better time to embark on a self-improvement plan. Despite the show I’m producing in mid-March, I vow to work out regularly, stick to healthy food, stop dating assholes, and make great plans for Spring Break.

I’ve already gotten several inquiries about my Lent-imposed abstinence. I haven’t decided if I’m ruling out all sexual activitiy — but let me put it this way, I’m not really interested in any locally located penises anyway.

Also, I’m giving up mood swings. Therapy has been surprisingly effective in preventing depressive relapses. This weekend, I freaked out for the first time since December and wrote this spiel:

It’s Monday and I’m in Philadelphia. My luggage is checked at a hotel on 34th and 8th in Midtown Manhattan. My rationality is somewhere on Staten Island. If this weekend had gone as planned, I’d be back in Boston in time for dinner this evening. But I rarely act according to plan (even my own), so instead I’m sitting in a coffee shop by the Penn campus — several hours late for the Greyhound that’s supposed to take me back to New York. I fault my wanderlust and impulsiveness for this situation, but I’m pretty sure that a unhealthy dose of idealism also went into it.

Last night, I nearly came home a day early — the smart, reasonable thing to do. If I left the city by 8pm, I could have even arrived on campus in time to party with Adia. But as I was about to purchase e-tickets to Boston, I glanced at the Philadelphia page and on a whim, bought those instead. I reasoned that I would regret not coming here while already so close, that a month would be far too long to wait for my next visit.

I am almost certain that this will either be the second of many trips or the last. All-or-nothing thinking, my therapist would call it. I would argue that a place that makes me feel worse than Harvard is not too far removed from hell. But in all fairness, this sinking feeling in my stomach has been building since my Thursday night arrival to New York, so Penn is perhaps just a chance backdrop to an already-present melancholy.

There are two reasons why I’m at Penn and I’m beginning to think that both of them are ridiculously idiotic. Maybe I function under some sort of unique, convoluted moral system, because these seem to be reasons that are valid only to me. No one else in my position would view them as motivation to travel 100 miles in the opposite direction of their desired destination. Which leads me to wonder — for once — what in the world has gotten into me.

I can already feel my heart retreating. I can already feel regret — of a different sort than aforementioned — building. I am already anticipating the unsteady busride home, the all-encompassing numbness, and the daily dorm room static waiting for me in Cambridge.

I don’t know what I’m complaining about. As depressed I was getting into Philadelphia, things didn’t turn out nearly as badly as I expected. And since coming home, I have seen nearly all my best friends at college in the past 48 hours. Life is good.

10 Responses to “Lent”

  1. Ny Says:

    im so glad to hear, Lena. :)

  2. cecily Says:

    i’m not giving up this year, i’m adding practices. i’m trying to do some reading, like finishing the chronicles of narnia…and eating more fruits and veggies, because i don’t really do that at all…

  3. McFad Says:

    I’m giving up profanity, racial slurs, and insults

  4. dj kammy kam Says:

    i’m giving up being single. how bout that.

  5. jessica gold Says:

    Once again… thanks for coming to visit. I appreciate it more than you know.

    Hugs and kisses, thinking of you and hoping that your Lenten vows are helpful!

  6. Ryan Says:

    I gave up cereal, and my boyfriend accused me of giving it up just so I’d have an excuse to cut carbs. He might have been right.

  7. MWR Says:

    a place that makes me feel worse than Harvard is not too far removed from hell.”

    A line worthy of at least a T-shirt, if not an entire halftime routine by the Harvard Band.

  8. T Says:

    Trying to give up masturbation for lent… but it’s not working so well.

  9. KS Says:

    Giving up porn, taking up going to church on Sundays. It’s gonna be a long 40 days, I know that… I’m just curious which one will become tiresome first.

  10. JHHL Says:

    Once again, I’m giving up masturbation for Lent. In 2004, in addition to this, I very publicly gave up Mel Gibson movies for Lent (and I haven’t viewed my DVD of “Chicken Run” [the only Mel Gibson movie I've ever seen] since).

    Giving up masturbation for Lent is interesting. I’m, ahem, “not holding my own,” but sometimes it’s, ahem, really hard.

Leave a Reply