BURLINGTON – Colleges across America are experiencing a significant reduction in opportunities for the traditional intermingling of the various genders. Dances called off; mixers postponed indefinitely. There is a general sense of romantic malaise that has hit the campus.
“The relationships (wink) are what you come to college for,” explained coed Margo Lippo, a sophomore at the University of Vermont who hails from Virginia. “If I wanted an education I could stay home and read books!”
“It’s impossible to know if I am attracted to any of them,” laments Justin Mankle, who describes himself as a “frustrated freshman” at St. Michael’s College in Winooski. “It like that song my grandmother used to talk about – it ain’t in their eyes! I mean, I can understand not being able to wander around campus topless, you know, especially at a religious school; but this is ridiculous.” Mankle points to the mask covering his nose and mouth.
The pent-up frustration is felt and expressed by homo, hetero and trans students alike and is generating an increased number of young people seeking mental health assistance. “I don’t know how long we are going to be able to sustain this level of distancing and mask-wearing,” says a concerned counselor at Champlain College. “Forget about kissing, making out, or other more intimate expressions of affection. These kids can’t even shake hands with each other!”
The University of New Hampshire at Durham recently posted disturbing photos of students slow dancing – six feet apart with arms around imaginary partners. Four male students had to be taken to the University Health Center after they fell forward on their faces, so lost in the fantasy of the dance they forgot there was no one to lean against. The University has since banned all intimate gatherings.
Another side-effect of the current reality happens when those few students who do decide to flout safety guidelines take their dates home and remove their masks for the first time. Many college students are reporting that their partners are less attractive from the nose down than they had previously imagined. “I’ve taken three girls home,” complained local sophomore Hal Lowe, “and every time we settle down on the couch and take our masks off, it just kills the mood. At least that’s what they keep telling me.”
College administrators are concerned for the rest of the year. “I hate to think what it’s going to be like around here come Valentine’s Day,” said UVM’s President Suresh Garimella, who did not respond to the rumors the school may intentionally cause a power outage in mid-February.