Slutside: any seat facing away from the main flow in traffic in Val, aka towards the windows/walls/corners.

Antonym, Creeperside: seating facing the traffic. A vantage point from which an individual or group of individuals can rate and discuss people walking in at any time of day.

See also, Creeper Panel – a group of people all sitting creeperside, sometimes without slutside companions.

Slutside: where sluts sit.

Slutside: where I, freshman year, sat in shame at every meal. Where I sat in fear that I would see someone I had hooked up with and my stomach would drop and I would have to flee the cafeteria for fear of literally vomiting on the table.

Slutside: a term introduced to me by my friend-with-benefits/boyfriend-on-a-good-day when he noticed that I always sat, self-consciously, facing away, shielding myself from the glaring, (seemingly) all-knowing eyes of my peers. He laughed but he wasn’t kidding. “Of course, of course you sit slutside. You would.”

Why? Because the hook up scene on this campus isn’t always so funny and neither is the drinking scene. Remember those shirts all the RCs wore during freshman orientation? “Don’t be a Hot Mess!” They told us, over and over again that we were freshman and we were dumb. Everything we did was wrong all the time and it was, mostly.

Normally, I spend my weekends at Zu, Marsh, Garman or on occasion Smith (which actually has a pretty decent crowd from time to time) but two weekends ago I made my semi-annual trek to the shitshow that is parties on campus. It reminded me of everything I hated about being a freshman, it reminded me why I was so happy, on returning to school this year that I could finally wash my hands of that stigma, make new friends, find a new scene, and move on.

I made a lot of very poor, very public choices my freshman year. I won’t go into the details (this post is already TMI) except to say that my RC felt obliged at several parties to tell me that a) there were people in the room and/or b) was I sure I was okay.

Quite simply, I wasn’t okay.

This campus, especially the socials, didn’t feel like a safe place for me to be. I don’t need to describe the feeling, do I? We all remember that casual ass-tap from a stranger and the unknown genitalia approaching you, faceless in the dark of a social suite, as if that was a totally normal way to introduce oneself. I could have avoided the socials all together and holed up in my room on weekends or, better yet, found an alternative social scene. But I was a freshman, and my friends wanted to go to the socials so I went too.

So there I was, stuck navigating my wobbly way down that steep hill from frosh quad to the socials. I was scared. I hated those nights and so… I sort of made a show out of them. And then I got a rep.

The first person to call me a slut at Amherst was a girl. I was in the line for the salad bar. I was wearing one of those wrap dresses and, yeah, it was low-cut. I knew that. That’s what made it sexy. “Sweetie, I don’t know if I would be wearing that if I were you. Especially considering what a slut you were last night.”

I had never seen this girl before, much less spoken to her. I was speechless, silenced and condemned.

Eventually, I discovered a group of senior boys who were nerdy. I figured that even though they were kind of lame, (I mean one of the boys really had a shelf of his room devoted to Magic the Gathering and he had met his girlfriend on OKCupid when he was 19…) at least they were seniors. And they were safer than trying not to get assaulted in Stone. The nerdy seniors lived in Weiland, so I started to spend my weekends there. Which was almost better.

The fact is, though, that freshman are the lowest hanging fruit, still as skinny as they looked graduating high school and still a hint of tan from their summers.

It doesn’t really matter how you cut it, senior boys and freshman girls aren’t a good scene, in the same way that freshman girls and socials aren’t a good scene. Freshman girls, in general, just aren’t a good scene. We were shoved into heels impossible for these hills. We wore dresses so tight that we always felt too fat for them, so low that we spun around those sticky rooms, grazing those grasping hands and always, our sixth sense trained downwards, making sure that we hadn’t spilled out of our tops, hadn’t exposed ourselves. Checking, adjusting, always.

And then there was Val. No one ever seemed to remember that some of us came to this campus as virgins. I did. I wasn’t ready for being in this constantly hyper-sexualized environment. So when I saw a guy that I had made out with on the dance floor the night before, I couldn’t deal. It made me sick. I sat slutside.

Returning to campus this year, I took my rightful place at the other side of the table. The senior boys were gone and I made new friends, many of whom, incidentally, hadn’t been on campus the year before. No one I hung out with seemed to actively recall the horror that was freshman year. No one really cared anymore. Yes, there are still occasional awkward glance in Val, but they aren’t so mortifying, and they weren’t so frequent.

The weekend before last I attended Night of A Thousand Beers in Weiland. It was messy. I felt like a freshman. On Sunday morning, I regressed to my seat of shame, full of not only the embarrassment of slut-seating and running into the wrong people, but also disappointed in the elliptical nature of my behavior.

This time wasn’t the same though. Okay so maybe I hooked up with a rando (or two?) but… It’s 2012 now and I don’t do this every weekend anymore; I’m older now and Slut Walk happened. People poured into the streets of major cities in all around America to protest victim-blaming in sexual assault cases specifically, but more broadly to take a stand against the way women are held to a double standard: that we are simultaneously required to be sexual and then ridiculed for it. It’s okay to be a sexually explorative, experimental, sometimes kind of crazy if that’s what I want out of a night.

The morning after a stupid night out, I have just as much of a right to sit facing out, being open and social, as anyone else. That word is mine now. Just like the wonderful women of Slutwalk, I want to reclaim my seat.

Fuck slutside. Fuck my ex-sort-of-boyfriend and the girls in the salad bar line and on the [fill in the blank]X team. After all, it’s just breakfast.

xoxo featurecreature

PS If you think you know who I am, you’re wrong. If you think Im the only one who feels this way, then try to actually make it to the Women of Amherst show next year. I do not represent the views of every writer for she-bomb, or every woman at Amherst, but I do know that I am not entirely alone in the experiences and thoughts expressed herein.