Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Transgenderism was just a red herring

When I told my mother I would be sharing an apartment with two men, she shrugged. "Hey, it's your uterus." Happily, I survived the year with my maiden virtue intact and with a new appreciation for the arguments against mixed-sex housing, which, apparently, my alma mater may soon adopt. Haven't these people seen When Harry Met Sally?

That was a bit glib. To tell the truth, I don't entirely sign onto the Harry-Sally Thesis: I think it's perfectly possible to become the sort of man who can have female friends; I just don't think it's desirable. Consider what it would take: A cultivated indifference to sexual tension, a reduction of gender dynamics to routine rather than ritual, the "Buddy Christ"-ification of Eros. We're already under enough pressure to think of sex as "banal rather than sublime" because "it hurts less that way." The Yale administration doesn't need to egg us on.

As Eve Tushnet put it: "We're just roommates," says the last man, and he blinks.

(There's another model for mixed-sex households, the one that relies upon sexual tension: "We choose to live together because it is dangerous and uncomfortable." I'm not necessarily opposed to that model—you can tell by the title of this blog that I like playing with fire—but these mad tempters of fate can take their business off-campus. One doesn't want such behavior to become ordinary.)

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