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Be My Suite-heart

By Ruth Miller

opinion columnist

We may attend MIT, but we’re still college students. We produce enough hormones that they literally ricochet off a wall and we calculate the force of impact. With all the hormoaning and calculating, love/lust can strike any time, any place. Eventually someone’s hormones strike a fellow resident and the inevitable happens. That inevitability of inter-floor dating.

Thus the term “floor-cest” is coined, linking this party for two with that famous export of a certain region (cue fiddle music) to illustrate how weirded out the neighbors are.

Floor-cest is the cute first cousin of suite-cest (or wing-cest), which is invariably worse. The smaller the number of people available to be weirded out, the more weirded out they get.

Zero sum residential living.

So why would anyone do this? How could someone forsake their neighbors for their animal urges? The obvious answer is that they don’t particularly take the wants of their neighbors into consideration before following their hormonal urges. This isn’t exactly intra-crime family dating, but the case does stand that it can be incredibly uncomfortable for everyone else.

Let first me qualify the term “dating.” Everyone has their own idea of dating, but most can be placed on something I’ve dubbed the Miller Dating Continuum: ranging between ‘life consuming’ and “stealth.”

Couple A: Andrew meets Crystal. Andrew begins spending time with Crystal. Andrew begins spending so much time with Crystal that his friends start to think he has changed. Eventually he stays home from an awesome trip to Nassau with his other friends to be with Crystal. Andrew’s idea of dating Crystal falls into the “life consuming” portion of our continuum.

Couple B: Jason and Susie are friends. Jason and Susie decide to pursue a more romantic relationship. Their dates are few and far between, and neither of them is fond of public displays of affection. After a few months, mutual friends are surprised to find out Jason and Susie have been dating. This style could be referred to as “stealth.”

The key here is balance. Andrew can be happy with Crystal. He can also be happy with his friends though, else he wouldn’t have chosen to develop the friendships with them that he has. Jason and Susie’s friends are happy for the couple and can accept a reasonable decrease in the amount of time they spend together. Both these styles make the people dating happier, but at a varying level of expense to their other friends.

In the case of floor-cest, the roles of the players we’ve previously defined as friends apply more strongly to neighbors. Andrew’s friends can get as pissed as they want, but to Andrew’s benefit, they don’t live with him. Neighbors can’t escape any residual weirdness of a relationship.

Floor-cest should be regarded closely by the associated style of dating. Back in high school, when mutual friends started dating each other, it would be weird at first and we’d haze them for it. But if they continued to have their own lives, we’d eventually we’d get used to the idea of them dating. They would either break up so we could haze them some more, or they would stay together and make each other happy.

Strong voices of the “no suite-cest ever” argument often don’t take the issues presented by the Miller Dating Continuum into account. If a suite couple leans towards the “life consuming” end, I pity their neighbors who shall know no solace. The suite essentially loses two residents, who now only live as shadows occasionally lurking in the bathroom or public areas. I am strongly inclined to agree with the case against this sort of dating. If a couple stays near the “stealth” side, their relationship with each other and the rest of the suite doesn’t visibly change. The floor isn’t inconvenienced, but the couple might not get all they want out of their relationship and this isn’t fair to them.

If a couple can compromise and maintain a healthy relationship with each other and the rest of the floor, then why not date? Let’s face it -- we all have a need for human contact and however noble that form of contact might be, it can make the people involved a lot happier.

I’m not saying conjugal visits during finals week would be appropriate, but we all know what it’s like when a good friend of ours starts a new relationship at the center of the dating continuum. They’re excited, happy, and easy to get along with. Aren’t these good qualities in a suite-mate?