Sex and the Ivy

Which is the Best Geek To Date?

Filed under: Dating/Relationships — Elle December 30, 2007 @ 10:56 pm

It’s audience participation time!

Received an interesting piece of reader mail yesterday:

Dear Lena,
Nerds come in many [mental] types. I for example am an engineer, my friend a music [composition] nerd and many more computer scientists. I would like to know if you would share your opinions on a possible breakdown of experience you have had with men of different mental strengths in a general sense as to tell us who is better: Art nerds, Engineers, Law, Sciences, Med, etc. I don’t know you’re full experience but I hope it could prove an interesting resolve for this topic. Thanks!

I sent out an email to like 80 of my closest friends asking for their opinion on the matter, and I wanted to see what my readers thought too. So my girls and my boys who like boys, take a moment to respond to my stereotype-affirming poll and leave a comment explaining your preference. I expect this to get feisty! After I get a substantial response, I’ll reveal my own fave geek in a follow-up entry.

By the way, categories are not mutually exclusive but just pick one. I tried to cover the spectrum without falling into career-oriented categories. I’m also defining “geekiness” as a near-unhealthy fixation with something. For example, a doctor might not be a “science geek” if medicine is just a profession to him, but a lawyer who takes on the tobacco industry could be considered an “activist geek”. Think: has the geek given up crucial aspects of life (money, hygiene, social interaction) in the name of his geeky passion? Does this geeky pursuit define a huge portion of who he is?

Remember, this is about dating, not mating — though bedroom know-how certainly factors into relationship material. And geeks, please refrain from voting for yourselves! Instead, you can comment below about why you think your breed of geek is super neat. And yes, I do plan on having a survey about geek girls.

Quotables: Fountain of Knowledge = Fountain of Youth

Filed under: Quotables, Rody — Elle December 29, 2007 @ 6:08 pm

An amusing conversation with one of my fave ‘07ers. Happy birthday MSM!

Me: “He’s 27.”
Rody: “Okay, that’s old.”
Me: “But he’s a student! That’s like …”
Rody: “Perpetual youth? Kind of.”
Me: “The academic version of age-defying moisturizer.”

Where It Stood, Where It Stands

Filed under: Depression, In Retrospect, Life, Morning Afters — Elle December 28, 2007 @ 7:51 pm

First off, check out this Sex and the Ivy-related point and counterpoint on Gadfly, a blog written by “a bunch of people who went to Harvard and now have many opinions.” Full disclosure: I am acquainted with both writers and the author of the defense is my very tall and Canadian hubby on Facebook, though I assure you there was no prodding on my part.

Second, I’m too busy with papers and writing projects to write a proper entry, so here is a piece I wrote a little over a year ago about the last time I came apart at the seams. It is very fitting for the current situation, but I dare say that I am doing better this time around than the last. (Well, at least I’m not completely ignoring my friends.)

“At a place where everyone delivers without fail, how do you tell people you just can’t deal?

On Thursday evening, I had my life under control. I went to office hours. I went to makeup sections. All my assignments were done. My TFs didn’t hate me. My iCal was organized. My email had under 100 messages. I changed into a cute outfit to kick off the weekend. I saw Vix for coffee. I made my dinner date with Nate. I met HN and Rody at the Fogg, followed by a gay mixer at the law school with CK. I boozed and schmoozed and met lovely people. Someone called me “fabulous.” Life, around 10pm, was pretty fabulous.

Flash forward several hours to Friday morning. I woke up hungover, topless, and missing a few crucial memories from the previous night — namely, the violent outburst that rocked Mather’s thin walls. By noon, I pulled myself together … mostly because I had to. I saw my therapist. I made it to mentoring. I met my committee at Toscanini. I had dinner with JB. I went to Death Cab. I came home to a party, drank generously, and then called it an early evening after the subject of my aforementioned tirade called it quits for the fifth time in as many weeks.

I was piss drunk and pissed off. By 4 a.m. I was also awake, answering the first text message I paid attention to all night since passing out. I should’ve slept past it, not called back, not answered the door, or for that matter not done a whole series of things leading to a monumental error in judgment.

Since then, I’ve been dropping the ball on basically everything. I have not really left my dorm room at all — not for work or class or meetings. Cumulative time spent outside of Mather since Saturday night? Four hours. Four non-Mather hours in four freaking days.

My goal is to get my life back on track by tomorrow evening. Starting with class today.”

– “Day Four” November 8, 2006

Several of my friends have expressed pretty serious concerns about my, uh, mental state, so here’s an update: I wrote my therapist Anna a very lengthy email last night, basically saying that I only have about a week left at home and I need to stop fixating on everything that’s arisen and concentrate on my work (plenty that I’m behind on) and actually go out with my friends. I think even my mother is a bit alarmed by the fact that I’ve more or less stayed in bed for a week. It’s not crippling depression; I think I’m just really … tired. It takes a lot out of you to get angry at someone, to get over being angry, to get angry all over again at someone else, and then to get over that. And that doesn’t even take into account the horrendous bureaucratic maze I’ve had to make my way through in terms of police and lawyers, etc. All in all, the past few days have been altogether draining (additionally so because of another unexpected, unneeded crisis that erupted on Christmas night).

It’s also really frustrating because the people who best understand the insanity that’s been going on are my friends from school, specifically my blockmates, who are all over the place. I’ve been calling Tiffanie nonstop because we’re in the same time zone (she lives in Irvine) and this isn’t really healthy. Even my ex-boyfriend from high school told me the other night to shift my mindset and pay attention to what’s in front of me, not what’s thousands of miles away. “When you’re home, you should leave everything you have going on in the East Coast on the East Coast,” he told me. And that’s fair, though I feel in this situation, it’s an impossible request to ask of me, since I can’t reasonably divorce my thoughts from the people or the events or the relationships that have all changed quite dramatically over the holidays. The timing sucks. I’m not coming home again until June at the soonest and I can’t even devote myself completely to California.

In any case, I lack the emotional and mental energy to really be productive. On the bright side, I finally have time again, which is nice so I guess I just need to get my mind somewhere peaceful. I am finishing crucial forms at the moment, trying to concentrate on papers, and embarking on a first step toward a potentially great project. I am only beginning now to return all the emails I received last weekend, so if I have yet to get to yours, my apologies.

I don’t know when or if I’ll blog again about anything significant until mid-January nor do I really want to write about any of my current romantic interests. There are a couple guys I’m casually seeing (or like five, haha, depending on who you ask and whether you count non-Bostonians) but I haven’t discussed the blog extensively with any of them nor do I care enough to write about them or even ask if I could write about them. I’ve been going at a snail’s pace with guys lately and been altogether reserved (sexually and definitely emotionally). I’m really excited about one person in particular , but … I don’t know. I don’t think I’m opening up very well for someone who plans on making a career out of introspection. I guess I’m just really caught up in being me and dealing with my issues without anyone’s help. Even writing to my therapist was a HUGE leap and her job is to help. Relationships require that you let the other person in. In a way, having a ton of drama that none of my friends or family can fix for me has made me more determined to forge ahead on my own and it is very hard to revert back to my old mindset. I guess we’ll see.

Quotables: Weiner With Coke Please

Filed under: Quotables — Elle @ 3:46 am

Frosh (talking to my friend): so I had the weirdest dream last night and you and lena were in it. [redacted] were having a joint party and apparently all their rooms are right next to each other and you and i were sitting down chatting or doing something else and lena was like “you two come”. we ended up going outside to a hotdog stand where there was a drug dealer, and then she went to the bank, took out 6k and then bought 600 grams of coke from the hotdog stand man. so apparently coke is $10. and then she poured the coke into a box and just put her face in the box. i don’t remember what happened after that. i feel like we did lines and then we had a threesome/makeout session with lena.

On The Best PR Stunt I Didn’t Pull

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elle December 27, 2007 @ 7:14 pm

NOTE: I very rarely comment on IvyGate anymore so anything you see posted there under my name is most likely NOT written by me.

Dear Internet (and by “Internet”, I mean ridiculously cowardly anonymous critics),

I’d like to thank you for turning me into a cold, hard bitch (or as the non-misogynists like to say: “strong, confident woman”). After a year’s worth of your constant battering, I’ve pretty much conditioned myself to not give a damn what anyone — including my sometimes-prudish classmates — think anymore.

Still, I find it hard not to respond when people accuse me of fabricating the entire nude photo scandal. Uh, not even sure what to say other than: 1) no, this is not a well-orchestrated PR stunt, and 2) you guys are insane and need to recover your faith in humanity. A few points of clarification:

1. I post entries retroactively quite often. The last entry I posted on “Sam” went up in November and was written over my sophomore spring break.
2. I’ve never claimed to be an authority on relationships. I tend to attract attached men and psychos, and in this case, both. Having my ex post nude photos of me doesn’t exactly up my “everywoman” quotient. Carrie Bradshaw, I am not.
3. My willingness to post photos of myself doesn’t warrant an utter invasion of privacy. Just because I’m okay with posting a suggestive seasonal image of myself doesn’t mean I’d be equally cool with naked photos that are totally out of my control. Check out Objectify This for a more thorough explanation of why the “she asked for it” theory doesn’t hold up.
4. The comments on my site are not organized by “positivity of feedback”, at least not by me. I use the Disqus commenting system which has a built-in ranking system for people to digg or bury comments. The critical statements probably rank lower because most of my readers are supporters rather than detractors.
5. IvyGate approached me about this, not the other way around and if there are naked photos of you floating around, I’m sure your response time would be swift as well. I told Maureen from IvyGate that I’d much prefer for them to not write about this since attention is what fuels Sam. To say that I “allowed” them to post an entry and images of me is a gross misinterpretation of how journalism works. Permission was never mine to give.
6. Ever hear of IPs? Bet you anything that the IP to the links left on IvyGate and the IP matching the user who uploaded the photos came from Philadelphia.

Besides all of the above, can we please take into consideration the enormous burden this has placed on me the past week? I have three papers to finish and instead, I’m calling the Philadelphia police department on a daily basis and scouring the web for lawyers in Cambridge. I’m home in California with my friends and family and my number one concern at the moment is how to take legal action against someone even though I’m only 20 years old and it’s not like I took a course on suing psycho exes. It’s fucking Christmas. Gee, who wouldn’t want to be doing this for their holiday season?

Yes, Internet, I write explicitly on my blog about sex and get personal with my columns about relationships but when did brutally honest prose translate into a fabricated sex scandal? Yes, when it comes to landing an agent and a book deal, all publicity is good publicity but gee, maybe someone’s vindictive little scheme just backfired and karma’s on my side. And hell yes, I’m shameless, if by “shameless” you mean I refuse to feel bad or ashamed or embarrassed just because my society has some major hang-ups regarding sexually liberated women. Unless you know what it’s like to be a girl in this world, fuck your ideas about what being female should entail.

You seem to think that your put-downs and slurs ought to affect me but I am not going into hiding just because you hurled “whore” or “fat” or “bitch” from behind a computer screen. “I saw Lena Chen acting slutty on the shuttle!” “Lena looked really fugly at dinner today” Uh, do you have any idea how CREEPY you sound? If you truly loathe me, stop posting stalkerish “sightings” of me online or at least leave your name if you’re so proud of your observations that you must declare them to the world. I’m comfortable enough with myself and the way I live my life that I can share my thoughts and experiences without caring what people think. I can sign my name to a controversial opinion; how many unidentified commenters can do the same with their derogatory remarks that are so easy to sling at me from behind the guise of anonymity?

Oh and one more thing: I go to a school where half of last year’s workbound class chose the road more often taken (i.e. financial services). My detractors point to my reputation as evidence that no employer will ever hire me. What a shame, since there’s nothing more I’d like than to perform discounted cash flow analysis for the rest of my young adult life. The fact that Googling “Lena Chen” leads to this website means that my blog has effectively saved me from a fate in a cubicle worse than hell itself. So what if going corporate isn’t an option? I’ve wanted to write since I was 8. I wanted to go to journalism school before I got into this place and was brainwashed into the cult of the Ivy. So if all I’ve gotten out of this blog is the clarity of knowing that I should be doing what I love, then I’ve already learned more than anything four years at Harvard could have taught.

In conclusion, Internet, you can either man up and disagree with me to my face or you can take your warped ideals and shove it up your unenlightened ass.

Hate on someone else,


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