And Grinnell gets weirder

So, my plan for next year was to live at EcoHouse in the spring and some dorm in the fall. I needed someone to switch out the room with – so that I’d be living in it in the fall and they’d be there in the spring. When I sent out an email to all the people going abroad in the fall, I got a letter back from the organizers of Food House, a project house like EcoHouse but devoted to food (cooking it, getting it locally, growing it) instead of ecology. They needed one extra person in the fall. So I agreed to that. However, the project houses hadn’t presented their proposals to Housinge yet at this point. When Food House did that, they didn’t get the 12-person house they wanted, but rather the 7-person house. I volunteered to be cut, because shortly before that, I had gotten an email from an EcoHouse person who had just gotten an internship that would extend from summer into the fall and leave a vacancy in EcoHouse in the fall. I offered to fill this vacancy. The interesting part is that that means I’m living with the person who would’ve been her roommate, Elissa.

This is possible because this year Grinnell decided to make some areas of campus gender-neutral, and all the project houses are included because they only have one bathroom per floor. Gender-neutral means they don’t ask the genders of the people applying to these rooms. It’s meant to accommodate people who choose not to identify as either of the two widely accepted genders, but it also means that in project houses we’re free to do pretty much whatever we please regarding rooommates. She and I are both cool with the whole thing. She sent me an email asking if I would have problems with various things, such as clothes strewn about, and I didn’t, and she had no problems with any of the things I came up with that I might be liable to do, such as strew clothes about and have a pretty large snake cage. We’ve got a double with bunct beds and windows facing west and south for lots of sun. We both agree that it’ll be fun and interesting.

[Note: Shortened, 2017.]

File under: gender, college


Anonymous

History

I can’t believe you will have a female roommate. What has Grinnell come to? Ha. When your grandpa and I were at Drake not only did we have separate dorms, but the men were hardly allowed inside ours. And we women had hours. We had to be in by 10:30 on weekdays and 1 AM on weekends. If we were late we got late minutes, and after 15 late minutes we got campused. Grounded to our rooms for a weekend night. Grandpa used to kiss me goodnight in front of the dorm at 10:30, and by 10:31 he was at Peggy’s Tavern guzzling beer with his fraternity buddies. It’s a wonder he ever got through college. I always thought it was unfair for the girls to have hours when the boys could stay out all night if they wanted. Our old Dean of Women would have had a heart attack on the spot if she ever thought men and women would room together.

Well, if you’re OK with it, I am too. You will find out what having sisters is like. Grandma

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Anonymous

History

It’s alright grandma. The worst that could happen is you become a great grandma! just kidding. Sheesh!

Gender neutral is everywhere now. Heck even in the 90’s the bathrooms in the Portland hippie areas were unisex.

I predice survival!

Dave

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Anonymous

History

Well, Cammy could use a playmate. kidding, kidding. (everybody else look away…….. Nat only …….GOPHER IT!)

Na, seriously though, Tracy and I are so happy you will make the Crowduck trip again this year. You are the perfect age for babysitting! And, since we know you’re broke, we figure you’ll do it for nickles… Canadian ones at that. Ha Ha.

Okay, Dave predicts survival, I predict that the femanina roommate attacks him before it’s all over. I mean that in a good way. I bet she falls for you, ya big lug ya. The fact is you are a lot like I was, that is, shy around girls. I was terrible at knowing when girls were interested, and even worse at making a move once I knew they were. I’m serious, ask Tracy about our first date. It’s a miserable story about a guy that was clueless.

Oh, and Ann, things are good. you’re good and don’t forget it. your compassion for your kids is testimony as to just how great a mother you really are. We all love you.

Dan

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Chuck

History

I’d like to hear that story. Tracy?

For now, it appears that Elissa has a boyfriend, so things will be a bit less weird. Hopefully I’ll have a girlfriend soon too (still working on it!), so if we’re both directing this sort of thing toward an outside party, the potential for Very Awkward Situations will be reduced.

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Anonymous

History

Are you able to leave your car at Manito-wish to rendezvous with people going up to Crowduck? Just a thought, so you don’t have to make the drive up to Crowduck alone. That’s a buncha gas.

As with living with a woman, um, good luck, especially with privacy issues and all…and what if this thing turns out to get romantic and then ends, then what? That can get uncomfortable. Just my .02. It can work but you know we women are hard to live with. Hopefully this will be platonic and you’ll feel like she’s a sister. At least that would be easiest. Seems in situations like this rules of “we’re all platonic here” are made, but then someone is attracted to someone, and pretty soon you’ve got a little Peyton Place going on there. Just to let you know these things happen. Trying to name everything “gender-neutral” does not neutralize these things that happen.
MOM

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Anonymous

History

Also, what about the times that Elissa and bf want to be “together”- that leaves you where? Just sayin’. I just remember being in college and having a roommate and these issues coming up.
Mom.

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Chuck

History

I’m pretty sure platonically is how we’re approaching this whole thing. Neither of us (as far as I know, at least) are actually gender-neutral, so that’ll lend a certain flavor to our rooming situation, but I think we’re both mature enough to handle living with each other. As for when she wants to be with her boyfriend, I don’t see why that would be any more awkward than when a male roommate would want to be with his girlfriend. I don’t deal with that much this year because Aaron and I are both bachelors still, and last year was a bit of a special case what with Jeremy, but it’s been managed successfully many, many times in this college.

Incidentally, Jeremy is no longer at the college. The Registrar obviously doesn’t put up a notice where his online profile was that says why he’s not around anymore, but my informed guess (and Ben’s too) is that he probably flunked out.

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Anonymous

History

So, you’re still sleeping commando?

It sounds to me as if you’re courting unnecessary complications.

Bear in mind that once you’ve watched sausage being made, you’ll never look at it the same afterwards.

Dad

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Anonymous

History

WELL, WELL, WELL. THIS WILL BE THE PERFECT OPPORTUNITY (AFTER LIVING WITH A WOMAN FOR A TIME) TO FIND OUT IF YOU WANT TO BECOME A LIFETIME BACHELOR. JUST A THOUGHT. G.Pa

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Chuck

History

Are you two suggesting that living with a female is going to make me go gay? I sincerely doubt it.

Oh, P.S., I’ll ask the people at the camp if there’s somewhere I can leave my car for two weeks. I’d imagine there’s somewhere - if not at the camp, then in town or something.

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Anonymous

History

Oh no, I neither said no insinuated such a thing. It is just that I know a couple of people in my life who are definitely not gay but who are and I believe will remain bachelors. Gay has nothing to do with it. They decided this after living with a woman—I think. GPa

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Chuck

History

Well I mean, you’ve been living with a woman for fifty years, Grandpa, and you seem quite married. Plus, lots and lots of guys grow up with sisters.

By the way, Mom, I got word back from the Manito-wish people that I can leave my car in their lot while I go to Canada. Who’s picking me up from there? Whoever it is, I guess I’ll have to give you their location:
http://www.manito-wish.org/about/location.html

What day will I be getting picked up?

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Anonymous

History

Who lives with who in college is just an exercise in bill paying. Some people have names on some bills and they get paid, proving legal residence. Apart from that where people actually spend the majority of nights is entirely different.

If you woke up one morning with a man, woman, ___ , all sleeping on the couch would the shock value register above 0.2? I thought so.

Dave

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Anonymous

History

Nathanael, it will be Grandpa and I who will be picking you up. Sometime between now and then we’ll coordinate our schedules and find out how to get there, etc. I am so glad you will be able to leave right from there to go to Crow Duck. It might help if you have a chance to wash clothes, etc. right before we get you, but if you can’t, there’s a laundry in the motel in Kenora where you can regroup. You will maybe be sharing a room there with Uncle Howard, Grandpa’s brother. We’re getting him in Duluth like last year. Hope you don’t mind, because it saves money.

I’m going to go look up the date. It’s Wednesday, July 8 we’ll be staying the night in Duluth, so sometime that day we’ll get you. Grandma

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Chuck

History

I thought Crowduck started on July 17th. I figured you’d probably pick me up in Boulder Junction the 15th, we’d stay the night around there somewhere, cross into Canada on the 16th and stay in Kenora that night, and then go to Crowduck the next day. Was I completely wrong on the dates? I told Manito-wish I could be there until the 15th, but I can most likely correct that if I need to.

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