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Milkshakes and mistakes

Fro-yo and/or Loop milkshakes are the new long-necked brewskie.

Not to rub salt in a still-open wound, but we no longer have a congregative, affable campus bar. Like Potter and his cloak-clad cronies, we too could gossip over butterbeer and firewhiskey from the comfort of leather club chairs.

But I’m just shy of 20, afraid of getting ALE-d and lacking in the Photoshop know-how necessary for a really kick-ass fake ID. Even if there were still a Hideaway, it’s doubtful as to whether or not I could get away with sipping a leisurely afternoon cocktail. Ergo, when The Girls and I kick back and chat on weeknights, it’s over frozen dairy products instead of soothing crème de menthes or cold $2 drafts.

Act I, Scene One: Dinner at the back round table in the Loop. I void the lull in the conversation with a statement of fact.

“So my little sister just found out that her high school boyfriend cheated on her while they were together.”

Silence fell over the table.

The rasping of spoon-on-Styrofoam friction was the only sound.

Then someone piped up.

“Yeah. Mine cheated on me with a freshman girl. He never even told me. I overheard him telling his buddies in our student lounge.” Eventually, she said she caved under the pressure, seeking out the little twerp and asking her if it was really true.

Frozen yogurt being tongue-numbingly frozen—and not quite the social lubricant that alcohol is—my response was a little stilted. “Doood, thaa’s just wong,” I said, drooling Oreo chunks.

But the conversation didn’t die out with my faux pas. What followed was a mini-Oxygen Network documentary, my head swiveling around the table to look each testifying girl in the eye. One Southern beauty’s long-time beau made a sloppy drunken mistake that resulted in a temporary and tear-filled split; another girl’s high school boyfriend “did more than just kiss” a baker’s dozen of other girls while they were together.

“At the end of it, I didn’t even care that he’d cheated,” she said, popping her spoon back into her mouth. “But with all those people, I just wanted to know so I could get tested.”

If you think these girls are high-maintenance divas who’ve driven their partners to philander, think again.

They’re funny and laid-back, they’re confident and socially celebrated, they’re a jaw-dropping brand of beautiful. Yet three out of the assembled five had been cheated on. Do your math, Pratties, because that’s 60 percent.

And as much as I wish we were the superior gender, women cheat, too. What gives?

“Hormones,” said one friend over the phone. “Hormones, proximity and alcohol. Bing bang boom.”

Fair enough. Maybe you’re intimidated by your partner’s confidence, by her out-of-your-league looks, by his I’m-two-years-older importance. Maybe having a minor-league side dish is, for you, the reassurance you crave. But are pleasures of the flesh are too tempting to overcome, even when you’re perfectly sated in a relationship? Is monogamy too much to expect of humankind?

I hope not. If it is, then we’re no more highly evolved than any other creature on this planet. We so pride ourselves on the wide-ranging abilities of the blobby pink mass stashed between our ears. But failing to harness those cognitive abilities, failing to comprehend the moral implications of violating a commitment is just sad. Besides, if you hate him, can’t you break up before you cheat?

If I knew the answer to any of those questions, I’d probably have had something better to say to my sister Clare besides “HE DID WHAT?!” I’d probably also be making millions as Dr. Phil’s cute new sidekick.

No such luck.

Sarah Ball is a Trinity sophomore and editorial page managing editor for The Chronicle. Her column runs every Thursday.


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