A Day at Wittenberg or, Michele’s Big Day Out and What She learned during it

Last summer we had a Korean exchange student stay with us for 3 weeks before she started her exchange year at Wittenberg U near Dayton, OH.  As it turns out, her semester is just about over and she will be leaving before she has a chance to come visit us again, which I am kind of bummed about because I was not a very good host last summer, being too busy to spit, and I wanted to make it up to her.

This weekend her dance club was having a recital so I went up early in the afternoon and we went out for an early dinner at a Korean restaurant she knew of beforehand.

A:  Somi and the Case of the Horrible Roommate

Somi changed roommates mid-year since her first roommate went back home. As it turns out Roommate #2 is something of a bitch. She started out the semester by bringing her then-boyfriend in for sleep-overs.  Somi asked her politely to not do that any more since it made her uncomfortable, as it would any reasonably normal human being.  So Roommate #2 stopped for 2 weeks before she got a new boyfriend who she then started ‘sneaking’ in when she thought Somi was asleep. When Somi asked her RA what she should do, the RA told her that Roommate #2 had had to change roommates mid-year because she and her first roommate weren’t ‘getting along’, that Somi should just try to talk to her again and that there wasn’t really anything the RA could do to help her.  Now, I am not so naive as to think people did not have sleepovers at Taylor nor do I think Korean college students are any less sexed up than American ones. BUT, I think the other parties were/are at least more discreet in their pursuit of the sexy time. 

It is just plain mean for this girl to take advantage of Somi’s innate dislike of making a scene to satisfy her sexual urges or need for night-long cuddle sessions or whatever it is that is motivating her. Not to mention that her clothes and other possessions formed  a sea of flotsam in the room and that when Somi pushes back the piles (seriously, piles. I have never seen such a mess in my life, seriously), the Roommate throws a fit because she ‘can’t find what she’s looking for’.   Somi reports she is glad there is only 1 week left for her to stay here.

Her summary of US college life: party culture and rampant sex.  And this is the lesson she has learned about Americans.  Swell.  

Combine that with all the loser Western men who live and teach in Korea because they can’t hold a job here and have no problem in dating their students who are half their age and you just really can form a great view of American culture, can’t you?

B:  The Dance Recital

I have never been to a college dance recital before.  I wavered back and forth between boredom and thinking how young all the girls looked with their stiff, gawky aping of gracefulness and their unsullied optimism about life in general.  Mid-west OH is maybe not the best place to look for high quality caliberof dance.

One performance piece was a dialogue + dance that was introduced as having ‘adult content and language’ before the whole show went on. Well, living where I live and hearing the music (and I use that term loosely) that blasts from the cars that go by, I just assumed that this meant some kind of rap/dance performance with lots of profanity, since that has been a topic in the news recently.  Hee! I was ever so wrong. It was a dialogue/dance about young women’s sexuality and I was very surprised how conservative it was as it was a lament for virginity lost before sex and their sexuality was really understood and a cry for commitment as opposed to the hook-up culture that seems to be so popular on campuses these days. I didn’t think there were any girls that age who thought that way anymore and one usually thinks of the arts community at a college as being much more liberal than the other parts.

The ‘adult language’ included the word ‘hymen’. That does not seem so much adult as technical to me. 

Anyway, it made me feel quite kindly toward them whilst wondering at the same time if their feelings of guilt and longing for purity were not really the viewpoints thrust upon them by a patriarchal, archaic society and wouldn’t they be much happier if they shook off the chains of the artifial and puritanical constructs that bind them along with moldly ideals of monogamy and sanctity since that is apparently what most college cultures these days seem to be advocating, if the news articles are any guide to college life.

Personally, I hope they cling to their ideals of wanting to be valued for being more than just a vagina on legs and seek for more than just being a biologically-driven creature willing to give it up to any jerk with a penis.  There’re more than enough guys willing to press their advantage as much as possible and maybe the ideals of prizing virginity stem just as much from a female sense of self-preservation than any male-derived concept of protecting their possessions.  Certainly females have more to lose biologically speaking through a frequently-met variety of partners while on the male side it works to their advantage, spreading out their genetic material to as many repositories as they can or, ‘sowing their wild oats’ (which is somehow a term of indulgence and affection and little thought is given to the ‘fields’ that those oats are sown in).  But all that is a far bigger topic than I will address tonight before bedtime, that is for sure. 

Anyway, it was a fascinating look at one segment of women’s college life, altho I do not know if it was representative.

And beware of being a poor, innocent Korean girl who’s roommate has to have a bedmate.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. nikkip
    Apr 29, 2007 @ 21:52:19

    uggh! i feel so sad for somi. i had an odd experience sort of like that at taylor–something i’ll need to tell you rather than write for all to read on your blog. but yes, i feel very sad for somi.


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