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Out From Under The Button: Carlin Graduates


For the past nine months, we at UTB have been lucky to have our columnist Carlin grace this blog with her wit and wisdom. She graduated with the rest of the class of '09, but we convinced her to bid adieu with one last post. From now on, you can visit Carlin at her new personal blog.

When I was in elementary school, we were asked each semester in my nine years of attendance to fill out a five page self evaluation. I was asked, beginning at the age of five, what was my favorite class? What was the best thing I’d learned? What kind of a friend was I? What kind of a student? What were my strengths? My weaknesses?

I would fill these out pretty meticulously, with the knowledge that not only would my teachers be seeing them, but eventually my parents would too, so what I was really evaluating was the person I wanted them to see me as. Not that I was lying, exactly. But I wanted to be seen as a leader, as creative. A wonderful friend, and wonderfully liked. Smart. Good at everything I put my mind to. When transcripts were added into the equation, I wanted to be seen as engaged; involved in every club, every advanced class, and eventually, rewarded with the perfect boyfriend and wardrobe (I got him, and dumped him two months later for being too boring. The legacy of my wardrobe, however, continues).

Though I haven’t been asked to fill out one of these evaluations in about eight years, I’ve recently found myself thinking about the way we present ourselves, in contrast to the way we actually view ourselves when we strip away the Greek affiliations, social cliques, Facebook, and general Penn-isms. I carried these aspirations of self-preservation with me through college, and added in the edgy flavor of sexual deviant and potty mouth with a rockin’ closet.

The truth is that despite my writing (and passion for the topic), I don’t actually hook up with that many people. I care too much. I read somewhere (and by I read somewhere, I mean Carrie Bradshaw once said) that women produce a chemical during sex that makes them invested, emotionally. Worse, still, as my friends can testify, once I start hooking up with someone, I want it, literally, all the time; all hours, any location. Don’t even try to get me to pay attention in class. But it’s because of that, that I really like to be with just one — and to maybe get a dinner or two out of it so that I can actually get to know the guy. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my one-nighters, and though I take them for what they are, I actually can’t stop myself from wondering, despite all signs pointing the other way, “what if…?”

I can’t help thinking in terms of labels and perception: in four years of hooking up, I’ve covered three sports teams, three senior societies, five fraternities (including “non” frats and a handful of GDI’s), two performing arts groups, and roughly fifteen areas of study in all programs but Nursing. How do I see myself with a soccer player versus a Friar? A hipster versus a Jappy (whatever, guys can be Jappy) investment banker?

As a way to continue my writing beyond Penn, and to hopefully branch out from my own label,  the “friendly libertine,” I have started my own blog: carlinrichadelson.wordpress.com. I do hope you all visit and comment frequently, but of course, don’t stray too far from the Button.