The only word I can think of to describe how I feel when I read HerCampus Duke’s articles is schadenfreude. For your convenience, I’ve compiled all that I’ve learned this semester from their tips on how to be a well-adjusted Duke woman.
Tip One: You can’t just go to the gym.
If you’re struggling to get to the gym, then “looking good,” can be your “motivating factor.” And by looking good, HerCampus doesn’t mean accruing the increased musculature from working out—they mean that being attractive WHILE working out “is not an opportunity you should pass up.” Especially since the gym is where people go to “see and be seen.” So throw on some waterproof eyeliner, mascara and Lancôme concealer to look “natural, but still put together.” Moreover, make sure you don’t get “too matchy-matchy,” by wearing pink on pink or, Hashem-forbid, black on black. After all, the idea is to “look effortless, not to be lazy.”
Tip Two: You can’t just go to the library during finals.
Without protein bars, tinted moisturizer, cream eye shadow or makeup remover wipes. Keep those items “24/7 in a grab bag” when you’re heading to Perkins.
Tip Three: Going to Shooters when you have a midterm is not off the table.
If you are incredibly indecisive like I am and gotta get down before your exam on Friday, then HerCampus can help you think through your options with their helpful, “So I Have a Midterm on Friday, Should I Skip Wednesday Night Shooters?” think-piece.
Tip Four: The 40 percent rule is generally key.
On Halloween, “it may be tempting to bare it all (we’re proud of our bodies!)” but one must ensure the level of exposed skin is appropriate. “It’s been proven” (By whom? Nate Silver?) that “guys respond positively to a 40 percent level of exposed skin,” so “skip the lingerie” and “invest in a catsuit” instead. Because nothing says empowerment more than choosing to go as Cat Woman rather than Hefner’s latest wife. Not just because Cat Woman is so stealthy, but because if you bare more than 40 percent of your skin, “you risk looking like a tramp.” (As you must be already able to tell, I’m abiding by the quote-40-percent-of-their-content rule.)
Tip Five: There are very, very few boys left to choose from.
So few, in fact, that HerCampus turned me on to the possibility of dating my best friend (“How Close is Too Close: Would you Date Your Best Friend?”). Unfortunately, my best male friend isn’t attracted to women, but HerCampus didn’t think to include that in their analysis. Alternately, I could dare to go for that frat boy, Floyd, who “discussed feminism with me in a positive manner.” But beware of the “perils of crushing on frat boys, even the ‘good ones,’” so when I find Floyd inevitably making out with “some chick,” I can chalk it all up to his “intrinsic take-all mentality.” It’s slim pickings out there, but rest assured that somewhere exists the “mythical non-frat-boy frat boy.”
Tip Six: Give the “Nepali” in your friend’s education class a chance, because she or he might just have an awesome story.
College is about making “lifelong friends,” and “broadening our horizons,” so you’d be missing out if you’re not at least, like, aware of those people outside of your sorority whose families subsist off of $1 a week. Once Recruitment is over “it becomes infinitely harder yet easier to make friends,” so wait until February to reach out to them.
Tip Seven: Don’t report sexual assault.
“Males in our age bracket just have a higher sex drive than we do,” reads one article. “Just because you go with a boy to his formal, it doesn’t mean you’re obligated to hookup with him, right? In theory, this should be true, but he’s paid for your transportation/meal/hotel room and we live in a barter society.” Given that we’re told we have to barter our bodies if invited, “it shouldn’t be surprising that roughly 25 percent of girls at Duke experience sexual assault,” because “these boys tend to be more experienced or may have greater expectations when it comes to sex.” But “by no means should you report every incident that makes you feel guilty as a ‘sexual assault,’ either. We all remember what happened in the lacrosse scandal.”
Tip Eight: “Define your OWN ‘Duke scene.’”
Even though I emerge from every HerCampus article convinced that “much of our school’s social scene consists of frat parties and Saturday night Shooters,” (perhaps perpetuated by the presence of Shooters in every piece), it’s entirely possible to “disregard what some people say and define our school by your own terms.” Though that advice came from the electrifying post “How to Thrive as a Taken Woman in the ‘Duke Scene,’” I’m going to take these pearls of wisdom, since they’re so fungible, and apply them to my life.
Tip Nine: Ignore everything they just told you.
Because in the article “Dear Freshmen Girls,” they tell women to, please, not “feel like you have to fit a certain mold,” “work out every day” or “dress up to go to the library.” Especially since there’s no “cookie cutter mold of a ‘Duke woman.’”
Samantha Lachman is a Trinity senior. This is her last regular column of the semester.