This post was guest-written by Brady Furlich ’19
As I sit in Mod B across from a Tinder match that I only know by first name and self-written bio (he’s a vegetarian and into Jane Austen – English major, maybe? I’m not sure), I wonder what happened to the ability to flirt at Kenyon. At other schools, bars and various dining halls provide a perfect setting for snappy conversation and occasional eye contact across the room. Now, without Olin, Kenyon students are left to flounder at the hands of the mods.
I remember Olin fondly as a place to flirt, or at least check someone out. Each floor of Olin had its own benefits: first floor was more public (the atrium, perfect for being seen if working on a group project), while the third floor was perfect for whispering with crushes by the printer or water fountain, or even a quick kiss in the stacks. Second floor Olin was the peak of Kenyon flirting, in my opinion. Casual conversation wasn’t frowned upon like on the third floor, while the circulation desk, printers, windows, and Helpline all provided AMPLE opportunities to whisk by with a swoosh of a short skirt. I get teary-eyed just thinking about it. The various tables provided an open-office environment for studying, sure, but it also made it possible to approach that kid in your history lecture about whether or not he did the reading without seeming like a creep. What a difference a year makes – now I can’t laugh in Mod B (supposedly, the same volume level as second floor Olin) without getting glared at.
Now, you may be thinking – aren’t there literally a hundred of other buildings on Kenyon’s campus? Yes, there are. It doesn’t matter. Places like Peirce and Wiggin Street Coffee offer Lite Flirting at best. In Peirce, you’ve got to consider your crush – are they a New Side or Old Side person? Do they eat exclusively during extendo? Skip breakfast? Eat – god forbid – in Peirce Pub? It makes it nearly impossible. At best, if you play your cards correctly, you might be able to manage a walk-by in the servery or strike up a conversation in the Fusion line. By senior year, I like to think that I’ve mastered the Peirce walk – a sashay through New Side, straight down the middle, optimally with a friend or two by your side, laughing along the way (if you can do it in heels, major points), maybe stopping by a table or two to say hi and tell a joke, pretty much anything to get your crush to notice you.
Wiggin is equally so-so. Like Peirce, you’ve got to consider whether your crush has even set foot in the damn coffee shop. In my experience, the best luck I’ve had either occurs when you snag a booth (perfect when it’s crowded – they’ll want to sit with you) or a small table next to them (perfect for light conversation on your seminar reading or impending comps or literally anything – just guaranteed conversation). There is, however, always the chance that you A) won’t find a table and look clueless, B) will spill coffee on yourself, C) be stressed and want to avoid talking to anyone, or D) all of the above, which happened to me on a Tuesday afternoon in March 2018 and dashed all of my hopes with someone.
This brings me back to Mod B. While it does always have the feeling of first floor Olin in February, I can only have hope for my final months here at Kenyon. I do feel rather obnoxious chatting with friends literally ANYWHERE in said modular unit, and trying to wrangle a winter coat on without looking like your sleeves have been sewed shut is nearly impossible. I used to have hope in the simple act of jogging in to grab something from my locker in the hopes of making eyes across the room with that special person, but instead I found myself more often than not tripping into a table or forgetting which key opens my locker, leaving me looking like a first year with a lanyard.
Will there be hope for future Kenyon students? Have first years already broken the code on the mods? Is there some mysterious study space that everyone knows about that I just don’t? Is it the village study spaces? Do I hate myself for procrastinating on comps by writing 750 words on the inability to flirt on this campus? Yes, I do. And if Tinder boy reads this, wink at me next time we’re in Mod B together. Maybe then I’ll have hope.