Last year, before Thanksgiving break, an upperclass student explained to me that first years aren’t fair game until after the federal holiday celebrating mass genocide and racism. He squeezed my hand and sighed that first years are too new to college, too new to living alone and too new to hookups in an environment as weirdly claustrophobic (er, intimate… it’s time to go home) as Kenyon. Then he made out with me, but whatever. Interesting concept, right? With one whole year of hindsight, I feel confident in giving advice about issues surrounding the first Thanksgiving home. So snuggle in, first years and nostalgic upperclass students alike. Let’s talk about the phenomenon known as the “Turkey Drop.”
Way back in the fall of 2009 I was a dumb, achingly sardonic senior in high school. Pitchfork was reviewing The Decemberists (what a Dad Band, amirite?) and Fleet Foxes, Animal Collective (another Dad Band) and Grizzly Bear. My best friend was tragically still into the Red Hot Chili Peppers and I was tragically still into Adam Johnson*. He was a year older than me and totally dreamy. It was his effeminate mannerisms, powder fresh deodorant and skinny jeans, you know? Adam and I had been casually hooking up for a few weeks at the end of the summer and we had continued to casually hook up through his fall break and my visit to his small liberal arts school. We were by no means dating or exclusive or in love, and I had recently made out with eight people in one night and told him about it, and we were both pretty obviously not solely interested in the opposite sex… but I was still a little surprised when we stopped kissing over Thanksgiving.
This is where the dumb part comes in, my friends. How did I not know about the Turkey Drop? Turkey Drop is the perennial event where all college first years dump their boyfriends/girlfriends/significant others from home. This is a thing. I see you, first-year girl crying in the stairwell on the phone. I know who you’re talking to. I know what you’re doing. Let me tell you now, no matter how many of your tears flood the non-smelly Mather staircase, you are going to break up with Ted who goes to Dartmouth and who is an anthropology major with blue eyes and rich parents. It’s going to happen. It’s unavoidable. People change, man. College actually changes people. We all grow and learn and raise our alcohol tolerances (remind me to tell you about the time I blackout propositioned a stranger for group sex during the second week of school my first year…) and speak profound things about economic theory and that changes us! It’s totally okay for that change to lead to a breakup. In fact, it’s potentially necessary.
I had a friend with grand plans to transfer to Hampshire to study with his high school boyfriend. I remember humoring him, reassuringly announcing that Hampshire’s “check/check plus/check minus” grading policy was valid and just as competitive as Kenyon’s (LOL). But I was lying. He knew I was lying, too! Eventually, he let college change him and he broke up with his boyfriend and he’s still here and happy and “studying hard” and even dates new, hotter boys sometimes.
Turkey Drops happen. Your high school sweetheart may come out (hey “Adam”!) and you may come out and you may even change your major 17 times before junior year, but that’s fine! It’s all fine! You’re fine, I promise. Thanksgiving break may be vaguely traumatizing but that’s all part of the “learning, growing, changing” process. (And if it gets super shitty, feel free to leave me questions about how to make things better in the comments!)
Okay, speaking of traumatic T-Day breaks, onto the commenter asking about how to talk to the fam about your significant other: I literally have no fucking clue. As this is my first break home with Slampiece (there you go, editor/dictator/friend), I’m in the same boat as you. Usually, when family members ask me if there’re any boys/girls in my life (I know, so progressive), I try as hard as humanly possible to avoid the question. My 25-year-old cool cousin was concerned that I was spending my college years celibate because I never publicly acknowledged that I had ever let my lips touch another human’s. How could I explain that I never answered because replying that there were 7+ boys/girls in my life (Facebook message me for the real number, I’m no fool) probably wouldn’t have gone over so well?
My mom has actually met Slampiece and my dad knows about her and so does my little sister and my grandparents and, I can assume, my aunts and uncles and cousins and their dentists and their dentist’s moms and dads and sisters and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. Fuck. What do I tell them when they ask me, “What do you do together?” Are they asking about the intricacies of lesbian sex? Is “smoke dope” an appropriate answer? Will they think it’s impressive that she can slam six beers in two hours? Do I tell them we quietly complete our homework together? Fuckkkk. Maybe I’ll have a real answer to this post-break?
Now let’s do comment question #2!: “I am a questioningly bi girl. I’ve had a fair share of Old Kenyon sleazy dance floor make-outs with guys but I think I’m ready to start hooking up with girls again (I did in high school). How do I know which girls are into Old Kenyon make-outs with other girls? I’m not ready to come out yet or have a serious emotional relationship, I just want a party hook up or two.”
Oh wow, okay! I actually feel totally qualified to answer this question as both a co-leader of the Queer Women’s Collective and a Old Kenyon DFMO pro. First, I think you should come to a Queer Women’s Collective Meeting (if you would like to be on the anonymous QWC dislist, please email queerwomen at Kenyon dot edu and we’ll add you, except only if you use the real punctuation). These meetings are completely anonymous, and the girls who attend range from questioning to gold star lesbians. QWC acts as a friendly community and hosts informative discussions but is also an awesome place to see what girls at Kenyon are potentially interested in making out with other girls. Second, take a look at this queer guide to Kenyon (you’re gonna have to scroll down to find the Kenyon section). Third, take a look at this girl-gaydar improving blog. Also, please don’t feel any pressure to come out or be in a relationship or anything. I functioned for over three years with an ambiguously defined sexual orientation and no emotional relationships. You do you, girl.
Holy shit, this was a long post! I hope some of this helped and that y’all have incredible Thanksgiving breaks and get to blaze with your aging hippie aunt before dinner and don’t need to speak to the rest of your weirdo neo-conservative family. As always, leave anonymous questions in the comments or email them to me at hafterr at Kenyon dot edu (except use the real punctuation etc. etc.).
*This name has been changed, duh. Also, my girlfriend is not actually named Slampiece.
B.H. is a sophomore sociology major from Narberth, Pa. She is a co-leader of the Queer Women’s Collective, but is totally into the straights too. She is hoping to study abroad in Narberth, Pa.