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COLUMN

Warning Signs

Andrew C. Thomas

I always look forward to the beginning of the school year with mixed feelings. Apart from the impending agony of new classes and expenses, there’s always a mix of interesting experiences that each student feels on returning to the river’s edge.

The experience most evident to me, however, is shared by many male upperclassmen. Freshmeat, freshman fever, give it any name you wish -- in the end, the idea is the same. The opportunity of a new, large group of girls arriving on campus is -- pardon the possibly misogynist pun -- too much stimulation for many men. This time can cause them to act crazier -- and more deviously -- than if they simply had spring fever.

Fortunately, there are several warning signs of this condition that girls can watch for.

The “Sketchy Guy Lean.” Watch for this technique at parties and gatherings. The man places his forearm flat against a nearby wall, leans against it and tilts his head slightly forward. With this position, taller guys then appear to hover over their targets. The effect, so I’m told, can be both enticing and creepy at the same time. Do NOT confuse this for a state of mild inebriation, unless you detect that subtle, telltale hint of alcohol on his breath -- or he misses the wall entirely and falls over.

The “Carefully Rehearsed Bad Pick-up Line.” While I’m sure the majority of people don’t take this seriously -- at least, for the sake of common sense, I hope they don’t -- it can be a sneaky way of winning false trust, much like a hungry puppy dog. While it might not win complete trust -- in fact, I doubt it ever would -- it can often disarm a person and open them up to the real sludge. Thankfully, its success is limited -- I know only a limited few girls who would hold their beautiful bodies against this particular specimen.

The “Dog-Eared Facebook.” While this sign cannot usually be detected immediately, it certainly is a tell-tale sign of a predator. A Freshman Facebook in the possession of an upperclassman usually means either that they haven’t moved beyond a kindergarten need for a book with pictures, or they’re trying to get in the meat market through the back door. A facebook that looks like it’s gone through a good deal of use suggests either that he’s sharing with friends, or has turned it into his personal Bible. I know I can’t blame people for being superficial -- I’m equally guilty of it frequently enough -- but I look upon anyone with skepticism who makes this choice based on a black and white picture and two randomly chosen interests.

The “151.” Come to think of it, the act of getting girls drunk -- and quickly -- with spiked drinks (thanks to the wonders of Jamaican rum and grain alcohol) is far too despicable for the average horny guy -- and occasionally wades into murky legal waters. In no way do I wish to associate this behavior with the general population. (You all know who you are, anyway.)

Gwyneth Paltrow was recently quoted as saying that, in the pursuit of women, (American) men go for the female jugular. I’m always amazed by the persistence of the male upperclassman population in the hunt. Not to say that this pursuit is any less strong than at some other times of year -- in general, it’s just so much more entertaining to watch it in action. I hope that the freshman girl population will take this baptism by fire in stride and come away from it with a little experience -- and an improved understanding of seasonal male tendencies.