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Fall frenzy pits girl against girl

It's the first week of classes, and already my friends are scoping. We're not looking for the best history course or even that coveted sale at Uniquities. Instead, these five days are a different kind of shopping period--the fall feeding frenzy.

Once a year, Duke girls start smelling blood in the water. Their sixth-senses magically stick to that special someone--the cutie in art class, the guy she almost hooked up with before, or the friend who finally started working out. It's open season in the Gothic Wonderland, and from the packed Stairmasters to the crowded parties, preparations are underway.

"So what do you think?" asked a friend as a truckload of guys honked and waved. She'd picked one out as a potential weekend endeavor and wanted a second opinion. Before I could give her my stamp of approval, a gaggle of freshman girls stomped into his section. Instead of laughing at the TRL wannabes, my friend turned totally white.

"Forget it," she said. "I don't have a chance."

This is the problem with the fall feeding frenzy. Sometimes, it feels like a navel-baring, mascara-smearing, Britney-besting showdown. And that's not cool. We already compete for grades, dorm rooms and Blue Zone parking places. Do we really need to battle for boys?

It's easy to get caught up in the race for a hot evening activity, especially if that project has shaggy hair and a sneaky smile. But jockeying for the perfect position (preferably on top of your crush) can make a girl feel shaky, and sometimes she can even get mean. We've all done it--whispering about skimpy outfits, "accidentally" spilling our drink on someone, even blacklisting others from friendships because they have nailed the guy of our choice.

"You must hate me," said a girl to me last year. And even though I stared blankly at my Jimmy Choo sandles, I did. I had been dumped for her the year before, and the wound was still fresh in my gut.

She was my scapegoat, shouldering the blame for breaking my heart--something she obviously didn't do. And I had been so obsessed with hurting her, I didn't deal with the girl who was really hurt--me.

The fall feeding frenzy is a great time to meet new people, test out old crushes and perfect your walk-of-shame. But it's just a weekend--not a race, a competition, or an opportunity to shoot up on self-esteem with a bedfellow you never thought you could land.

Today I saw my crush, sitting on a bench and surrounded by girls. The heartthrob waved and smiled, but not before my claws came out. "Busy, aren't we?" I sneered before glaring at the flock of highlighted, wedge-heeled honeys and walking away. I know I'll crash into him this weekend. But next time, I'll just smile and wave. If he doesn't scrape his way through the crowd, I'm walking out the door to find a better party.

The fall feeding frenzy has officially begun. But let's remember something important: We're Duke girls. We have class, we have style, and we're way too smart to fight over guys--especially if it means taking each other down. And anyway, there's a lot of food out there. Dig in, have a great first weekend, and don't forget to floss when you come home.

Faran Krentcil is a Trinity senior and a senior editor of Recess. Her column appears every other Friday.

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