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Wearing headphones while walking to class is an excellent way to observe the natural habitat of Fordham’s finest without the intrusion of awkward social interactions. While Fordham may be officially classified as a medium sized school, social media has shrunk it to the size of my nauseatingly cramped Catholic high school. There are a multitude of people whose names I don’t know, who I’ve never talked to, but by God, I’d recognize them anywhere because of a friend pulling up their Facebook pictures to accompany a torrid tale from weekends past.
Every time I actually leave my dorm to leisurely stroll about campus, I encounter at least three of these not-so-rare subjects. It seems as if I’ve been burdened (and enlightened?) with more information than I ever thought I would need on people who are relative strangers to me. So to the guy I pass on my way to Keating every other morning, though we’ve never talked before, Dude, I know you’re a furry.
*Quick crucial intel provided by disturbingly knowledgeable middle schoolers of urban dictionary: The furry fandom is a subculture interested in fictional anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics. Examples of anthropomorphic attributes include exhibiting human intelligence and facial expressions, the ability to speak, walk on two legs, and wear clothes. A furry likes to get freaky and fuck whilst in costume. If you’re two consenting adults, more power to you. To each their own! Feel free to sub any other fetish in place of this, it was chosen to demonstrate a point. RELAX.*
Slumping in a caf booth on a Sunday morning with a burnt bagel sadly frowning from the table, my friends and I discuss in detail what exactly went down the night before. It’s a strange ritual that accompanies most of our discussions of college hookups; an unwritten tradition to talk about “the guy from Howl” by pulling up an obligatory visual aid so that your pals can know who you’re referring to (or perhaps, in attempts to justify your actions). After attentively listening to a friend recount a night of tragedy in which she lost one of her absolute FAVORITE earrings, I found myself in an all-knowing state (a God like quality I possess; omniscience).
Now when I’m behind one of these guys in line at Beer Cave Dunkin and he’s taking forever to order a Coolatta, I know that not every action he performs takes him a record length of time.
Has this led to a form of unfair prejudice? The silent judgements formed behind the safety of my cheap Urban Outfitters sunglasses? There is a cruel reciprocal justice to this. For every silent story you know about the private life of the person who cut in front of you to get the last plate of fries in the caf, there are countless people on campus who see YOU and think, “Oh yeah, that’s the person who did that.” So it may be wise to not be too hasty to judge, as the cyclical rumor mill on this ever shrinking campus is always churning out some wild tale to enthrall us on Sunday mornings.
On a personal note, I know that I at no point soon will stop telling the morning-after stories, or quietly, subconsciously, judging people based on the gossip I hear. Within the safe haven of social media it’s easy to lose yourself in an artificial world. Suddenly I’ll find myself, with red eyes, chuckling to myself over the comments on a stranger’s picture from 2011. It’s a social media stalking blackout, and 9/10 college aged students are highly susceptible to engaging in one (The odd one out is a good and decent person, and will probably hold the door for you even if you’re uncomfortably far away).
It’s unavoidable that at some point, your picture will be shown as a reference point for a story being told. The only course of action to take is to build a thick skin and decide to not give a shit. Ignorance is bliss, and in the long run, the opinions of an asshole like me passing you in the halls aren’t going to hinder your ultimate success at Fordham.
I dream of a day that I can meet someone for the first time without shuddering over the overwhelming flood of backstory on them and the dirtiest deets of their personal life. What follows is a transcription of such an encounter that displays who we are without having to go back years on Instagram (and accidentally double tap DAMMIT).
“Hey, I’m Maddie.”
“Well howdy there, I’m Matthew, and I need to wear a full Tony the Tiger suit for sexual intercourse or else I’m flaccid as fuck.”