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    Annals of Interior Design: What Every Freshman Dorm Room Needs

    by Caolan

             I know what you kids are thinking. "What right has a a crochety, quarrelsome, unlovely schoolmarm, who has never known the thrill of going to the movies in a leather bustier, or the matchless rush of making ironical quips whilst watching a television show from the early 90s, and of whom I doubt very much that she has ever had an ounce of vitality or adolescent tenderness in her withered & cobwebby bosom, to tell me anything about how I should go about decorating my college digs? Surely her suggestions will be more in the way of prunes & prisms, or perhaps dyed ostrich feathers and japanned boxes, than in the way of current undergraduate fashion. Pooh! I refuse to read on! I'm going punting!"

             And, yes, gentle (if oddly priggish) reader: it's true that I've reached the hoary old age of 22, and that I've begun to lose touch with my bright college years -- but let me assure you that I was eighteen once, too, and although my memories of that time are dimmed with nostalgia, I think that they're mostly accurate. So sometimes I feel weirdly compelled to dispense advice to my little pre-college pals, & let them have the advantage of my wisdom. In this case, the compulsion came upon me as I was reading the web-log of someone whom we all know and love. We can call her Little Lottie. Little Lottie was talking about how she wanted to decorate her dorm room (when and if she makes it into college) with black-and-white posters of screen sirens such as Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. LL hypothesized that this would make her like those guys in prep school and in prison, which is kind of cool, I guess. But as I read her words, I felt a little pang in my heart: yes, LL's aim to be like a sex-starved prison intellectual was noble, but with the teeniest adjustment to her decorating plan, Little Lottie could achieve a much loftier goal. She could be like Me, when I Was A Freshman.

             It would be so easy! Little Lottie already had the most important part of hip coed decorating down: glossy, classy-looking black-and-white posters (GCLBAWPs).

             (I must interrupt my narrative a moment to say a few words about GCLBAWPs in general. Despite their amazing classiness, GCLBAWPs are cheap and abundant, available in huge profusion on every college campus between the months of August and October. The best place to find GCLBAWPs is in huge gigantic bins shoved together under some kind of awning; the best place to find these awnings is Anywhere. You'll find them crowded outside the building where you'll be registering for your classes, lurking in the depths of the bookstore where you'll go to buy your books, glowering over the salad bar in the cafeteria where you have gone to get some salad (or one of those make-your-own-waffles), chattering loudly in the streets where you'll attempt to meet up with your new super-best-friends-who-somehow-happen-to-be-your-amazing-roommates, and foaming all over the football fields where you will go to become the star quarterback (boola, boola.) And since your walls will be empty and kind of a weird color, since our President probably peed on them or something when he was an undergraduate, you will be eager to fill them with anything, anything; and since your roommates are not going to be receptive to you covering some mannequins with glitter and nailing them to the walls, you will want to compromise; and there the GCLBAWPs will be, glossy and classy-looking and black-and-white and inoffensive and inexpensive and entirely ubiquitous. [NOTE: Sometimes GCLBAWPs are not black-and-white; they are occasionally full-color, and sometimes you can replace the "classy-looking" with "cool-looking," especially if an optical illusion is involved.])

             Anyway, Little Lottie was on the right track, although one might point out that, given the ubiquity and cheapness and classiness of GCLBAWPs, it isn't really a matter of whether you decorate with GCLBAWPs, but rather a matter of which ones you choose. And though Marilyns and Audreys are undeniably classy, they might make certain roommates think you were, like, weirdly gay or weirdly into chunky blonde girls or something, and that would make things awkward. Rather than take a risk such as that, why not take a hint from a pro, and just get all the GCLBAWPs that I had in my freshman year dorm room, c. 1998? I admit that most of the GCLBAWPs adorning the walls of room 1656 were not actually selected or purchased by myself. Instead, they were purchased by my super-cool roommates, both of whom really knew how to party and were wicked smart. "Work hard, play hard," they used to say. And were they right. But even though I didn't pick 'em, I know what an awesome freshman year we had with those posters. We danced to Billy Joel, we read Nietszche at three in the morning, we made out with crew recruits who were still in high school, we made out with a bunch of other people, we cried when we didn't make out with anyone, we turned off all the lights and drank tequila and danced to "Ghetto Superstar," we threw up all over the adjacent bathroom, and we had panic attacks when we realized that the strain of our Ivy League education combined with our reckless consumption of grain alcohol and our constant wearing of tube tops and tight black pants was destroying our souls. It was amazing, and we totally owed it to our decor.

             So if you REALLY want to be cool, just tuck this handy checklist into your minibackpack anytime you leave your room, and within fifteen minutes you'll own the COOLEST set of GCLBAWPs on campus! (OR just print them off your computer to decorate a mini-dollhouse like my freshman year dorm!)




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