Gender Studies Department Announces NU Teach-In Series’ New Game-Spitting Seminar
EVANSTON—A controversial new initiative sponsored by the Gender Studies department intends to revive customs long thought by intellectual heavyweights to be part and parcel of outmoded gender concepts. Though it may be difficult to imagine now, there was once a time when women had to fend off the attentions of men on campus, who would approach them, signal their interest, begin a conversation, and finally ask them out to some form of social gathering. The women, it was reported, would say yes or no, depending on if they liked the guy. This endured until seventies-era student cohorts began to realize that was all structured gender oppression and the tyranny of the male gaze.
Yet thanks to a generation of virtual reality, declining public life, increased social isolation, and a general slowing-down of American childhood development, those dark days are long over, leading many to question why Gender Studies wants to reverse all that.
“Um, well, nobody was getting any—on any kind of regular basis,” said Gender Studies archivist Sybelline Peters-Garcia. “And we were contacted because of our award-winning work on gendered interactions, and, well, we, um, had a frank conversation about the last time we saw somebody get hit on.”
“We date the definitive end of these practices back to what I call Late Grunge, roughly 1995,” recalls History Professor Jordan Severinsen.
Since then the prevalence of secondary means of achieving intercourse—namely, getting drunk and falling on top of someone—have virtually replaced the archaic custom of the “hit-on.” Remnants of these ancient practices, however, still plague present-day college students. “You had clueless women thinking they were ‘sending signals’ no guy could hear, and clueless guys wondering what they had to do to ‘get a piece of that pie,’ with both parties locked in absolute silence and terror, glancing at each other over the computers in the library,” Peters-Garcia continued. Interestingly, queer students will not benefit from the initiative, as same-sex interactions seem to have preserved the rudimentary elements of how to cruise.
“Once we realized that we had a backlog of research here, mostly written by angry feminist undergrads in the seventies and eighties, it was a no-brainer,” she said. “We know what hitting on people used to look like. Now, they desperately need to figure out how to get the goods. We are just putting the two together.”
The commentary on these male displays of interest, frozen in countless densely worded papers, will be interpreted with the help of Performance Studies students into skits, interpretive dances, and a series of ultra-realistic, step-by-step examples. Workshops have already begun.
“I—like—you,” says one male participant, who wished to remain anonymous, during a recent roleplay.
“Good,” enthused doctoral student Antoine Sellers, “Now tell her something nice about her.”
After an agonizing ten second delay, the participant continued, “You—are—funny.”
“We might…get along?” said his female counterpart, who also wished to remain anonymous, unless he wanted her name, which he should have asked for, unless he didn’t want it—did he?—as both looked away, and then at their group leader for confirmation.
“The teaching goes both ways,” said workshop coordinators Lisa Gerards, “You have no idea how many of these girls have no clue when they are being hit on. By the same token, we need to teach these valuable ‘hitting-on’ skills to women as well, as it becomes apparent that the species could die out waiting on these dweeby studs to get a move on.”
Though higher level activities, such as sharing dinner, dancing more or less facing each other, and mutual offers of back rubs, are scheduled in the series, the program is still in its tentative stages. “We don’t want to scare them away,” said Sellers. “No one should have to think that full engagement with another human being is the ultimate goal. None of us is ready for that world.”
The new university president, Morton Schapiro, at first pledged financial support and commended the initiative, thinking it was intended to curb gender-related violence or increase equity in leadership support for women students. Finally cognizant of the actual nature of the workshops far too late, Schapiro was reticent: “Are you serious? They don’t know how to what?”
Defending the use of funds, Gerards had this to say: “Think of the children. Or, rather, not any. Ever.”