By the time I checked into my residence hall at the start of fall semester as a freshman, I had only my older sister’s tales of fierce female bonding as the basis for my expectations. So as I lugged my bags up the stairs to my new abode, my mind was already filled with premature daydreams of future reunions between me and my then-faceless hallmates at age 40, at which we would be drinking white zinfandel and complaining about our husbands (we are also always dressed like Jackie O. at these gatherings for some reason).
So while my sister’s recollections about dorm life were mostly accurate — people tend to grow meaningful friendships with their floormates — the same-sex nature of her floor allowed for the omission of one crucial aspect of college resident life: intra-dorm relationships. Or, in less euphemistic terms, floorcest.
Given the familial bonds that are quickly forged between same-floorsies in college residence halls, engaging in floorcest — as the name implies — is for some reason often tacitly understood to be nearly as taboo as incest, even if it is still legal in all 50 states. With Valentine’s Day sneaking up on us in less than 24 hours, it seems appropriate to ponder why exactly every college-related blog, site and magazine condemns Mr. Room 112 as forbidden fruit.
In actuality, I have a friend at State who enjoyed a great relationship as a direct result of breaking this rule of thumb. What was intended to be a casual fling slowly evolved into a steady relationship, and subsequently, she essentially moved out of her dorm room and into his, and they even — violating all sorts of residence hall rules — adopted a kitten together. No joke.
And the fact that they lived on the same floor actually provided a plethora of advantages for them. Contacting one another was never a problem. Neither ever felt like they weren’t spending enough time together, either. Cheating? Virtually impossible.
But inevitably, as months progressed, they grew apart. Their love-kitten was awkwardly left unwanted in a no-pets-allowed residence facility and, unbearable to imagine, their living situation forced them to run into one another on a regular basis. (Not to mention that each time one of them had a date or new person of interest visiting, they engaged in all the activities of a person harboring a fugitive, glancing about nervously to see who may have noticed.)
With the tale of this awkward breakup, the reason that intra-floor relationships are so vehemently advised against becomes stunningly clear. At our age, I think it’s only natural to abstain from situations that will result in us having to see our ex-significant others after a break-up any more frequently than never.
I’ll be the first to admit that in my high school days I much too easily avoided socially maladjusted post-break-up encounters by simply and maturely refusing to visit the same locations that my ex frequented. This would often result in a short self-enforced hermit phase, but if it kept me from having to see my crazy ex, so be it, right? Unfortunately, this suave military tactic of mine proves inapplicable with intra-dorm relationships.
Oddly, however, from my perspective, the forced cohabitation — a situation that seemed ludicrous enough to be worthy of a sitcom — facilitated the rebuilding of their friendship after the breakup, just as it aided the closeness of the actual relationship while it was still healthy. Weary of Jerry Springer-like brawls that would break out anywhere (i.e. on the way to the bathroom, while doing laundry, while making Easy Mac in the kitchen at 2 a.m.), they were forced to learn to let go of old grudges and work out their problems through rational conversations.
And though they never held hands and skipped through a field of poppies together again, they were able to ride the elevator down from the 12th floor together without exchanging passive-aggressive comments or deathly, Botox-worthy glares. It was as if they were almost like mature college students.
So if the only reason we can give for not dating within a floor is that it will make for an awkward breakup, then maybe it’s time for us college students (and all college-related advice sources) to let go of such a juvenile approach to relationships. Besides, college is all about working through new experiences and situations that challenge and develop you as a person. So, go on, take a risk. Call Mr. Room 112. Knock on his door, even — just because you can.
Asst. Editorials Editor Catherine Cai is a College freshman from Atlanta.