Dear Beej,Halloweek is coming up, and I can’t wait.With all the partying, HalloWhisCo, not tomention un-sized Almond Joys, it’s by ar my avorite college holiday. However, I’ve come across a bit o a dilemma—as a 20-year old single male, I’m at a loss or what to wear to so-cial events to make me seem the most appealing to the opposite sex. I’m not talking about some-thing to make me look more attractive (well,not exactly), but a costume that says something along the lines o “It’s Halloweek, I’m DF.” I eel like it’s easier or girls, since fshnets have a universal popularity. But do you have any sug- gestions or a male equivalent? Sincerely,Dressed to Kill, Down to F*ck P.S. Since Halloween is on Wednesday,which weekend is Halloweekend?
Dear DK/DF,First o, I’ll rerain rom acknowledging your comment about the “universal popular-ity” o shnets, as well as your attitude that“it” is “easier” or girls. Tat being said, yourquestion is not totally invalid. Although, inour heart o hearts, we might desire to honorour childhood impulses and dress as Pikachuor Squirtle, so oten we check this impulse with the sobering adult thought, “Who would want to *ck a Pokémon?”Here, though, is where we veer astray.For do not orget, this is Halloween, a nighto possibility and reversal, when saints dance with sinners and angels be grinding on de-mons. In the end, is a girl going to get withyou because o an alluring costume—do theclothes really make the man? Or are we all just too drunk to notice?So, though what you wear won’t be a de-ciding actor in attracting a partner, be sureto consider the physical implications o any attire. Whatever garb you choose, keep inmind, “I might be having sex in this.” Largeconstructive elements such as cardboard,ace-obscuring masks, or easily-transerablepaints all provide challenges—and some-times even literal barriers to physical contact.Feel ree to let your reak ag y and dressas Squirtle—but perhaps leave Squirtle’s im-penetrable shell in the closet i you’re looking to get some.One more thing to consider: morn-ing-ater Halloween can be quite the walk o shame, whatever you choose todress as. But since this is unavoidable,start pumping yoursel up to walk themarch o pride.Happy Halloween, kid,BeejP.S. Tis weekend.P.P.S. Almond Joys suck.
thoughts from the other side of the podium
Te clusters o desks remind me o being in rst grade, joking around with my bestriend while we lled out worksheets in cray-on. Now, though, I’m ar rom being a rstgrader. Instead o whispering and laughing,there’s shuing o paper and beeping timersin this classroom. I sit at one end o the room,my desk stocked with legal paper, a timer, anda pen. I’m about to begin judging at a policy debate tournament in the Bronx, even thoughI’m only a college reshman, and my ownmemories o debating at tournaments like thisone are resh.One high school policy debate team romMassachusetts sits to my let, intently review-ing their work and studying an online entry I wrote describing my personal philosophy ondebate. An excerpt: “ruth claims are not con-ditional. An economy impact and a cap bad K contradict. I you read a DA with a warming impact and security, the a can weigh a warm-ing add-on against your security K.” You cansee that debate has its own jargon lled withshortcuts to explain complex theories appliedround ater round, a language that can only beully understood with years o practice. As we wait or the other two judges andthe competing team to arrive, I think to my-sel that the pair o debaters in ront o mereminds me o mysel a mere year ago. Tey’reanxious but happy. Tey’re one o 32 teams(out o over 100) to advance to the nalelimination rounds at this tournament, butthey know they have to make it much artherto attend the national championship in thespring. Te team consists o a boy and a girl,occasionally speaking quietly to one another. As I watch, I see that even in the subtletieso their movements, they are in sync as they prepare. Tey pass papers back and orth, takesips o water at the same time, and sketch outa diagram o their plan or advancing theirarguments. Ater studying them or a mo-ment—and, I’ll admit, taking out my phoneto text my ormer high school debate partnerBrian—I realize that I know the girl romsomewhere.“You’re Emily, right?”“Yeah,” she replies, without looking uprom her computer screen. “We went to7-week together two years ago.”I immediately remember her; we weren’triends, but we were in the same class at a 7-week summer camp where debaters aretaught by the best coaches on the national cir-cuit. Te elite debate community is small—the kids I attended camp with were the sameones I saw at tournaments and traveled acrossthe country to visit on vacations. Debate cer-tainly attracts a type, though it isn’t always thestereotypical too-large-suit-wearing nerd thatcomes to mind. It’s mostly competitive aca-demics who aren’t good at sports.“And I went to 7-week with Brian thissummer; you should tell him I say hey,” re-marks her partner.I eel uncomortable not remembering theboy’s name, but I do remember his style andthe arguments he requently ran. Debate islike that; you have to know a little bit o ev-erything—not just about policy, philosophy,and argumentation techniques, but also aboutother teams and judges. I remember being a high school reshman and watching the de-bates o one o the other judges on this panel(he’s now a college senior) and being amazedat how much he knew about the technicalprocess o wind power. But now, ater my own our years o debate, I know exactly how many military personnel are in South Korea and how a quantum gradiometer unctions.Finally, the debate is about to start. Teother judges in the room had judged me justa year ago, and I’m intimidated to be judging with them. While my personal success meansI might be more qualied than others whohave also just graduated rom the high schoolcircuit, I don’t have nearly as much practice asthe other two judges.Te debate covers a wide variety o topics,rom transportation inrastructure, to genderbinaries in international relations. Fortunately or me, the round isn’t too difcult to decide.Te choice takes only about 15 minutes o consideration ater the almost two-hour de-bate is over, even though I’ve routinely seendecisions take more than hour. Deciding a debate isn’t about who you eel is right: It’sabout making a “correct” decision according to a given methodological ramework. At theend, the judging discussion hinges on abstracttheories o decision making, comparing onto-logical and empirical methods o justication.Empirical decision making—displayed by theteam rom Massachusetts—wins. What is interesting, though, is not whatthe decision was or how it was made, butrather how easily it could have been dier-ent. I’ve had debates on everything rommilitary policy in the Arctic to the impli-cations o the world actually being at andcontrolled by the Illuminati. Debaters mustknow a little bit about everything and haveresearch on twice as much. It’s not uncom-mon to create a le with over 500 pages o research and analysis on a single topic withina ew days.Nevertheless, the daunting amounts o work become worth it when the competitionsbegin. Te intellectual stimulation, the com-petitive aspect o the debate, and the amazing community make it almost as eervescently un as being a rst-grader with a container o bubbles.
Illustration by Adela Wu
LAUREN SULKINcontributing writerBEEJunqualified
Dear Emily, My housemate is generally easy to live with,but she has a terrible habit o stealing my ruit.It’s never blatant—a banana goes missing here and there, or a bunch o grapes—but it drives me insane. Sometimes, I look orward to bit-ing into a juicy Honeycrisp all day, only to fnd that she’s eaten the last o my apples. Am I being ridiculous to care about this? Is it more trouble than it’s worth to bring it up? What should I say i I do? Constantly Reserving Oranges in Private Spots
Have you considered purloining her veg-etables? For maximum eect, Emily suggestscarving a cross-section out o an eggplant,then careully returning it to its plastic wrap-ping. O course, this is likely to prompt all-out warare which (heavens orbid) mightescalate to include dry goods. So, darling reader, gird your loins or battle!O course, we’re not all made to wield a paring knie. You may be numbered among the select ew who preer domestic elicity toconstant low-grade tension. (Emily, on theother hand, nds constant low-grade ten-sion to be a powerul aphrodisiac.) I the idea o creeping into your dimly lit kitchen lateone Monday evening and denuding her pre-made salad o cherry tomatoes doesn’t send a risson o pleasure down your spine, perhapsyou ought to choose an alternate route.Is it absurd o you to be irked? Oh, dar-ling, absurdity is so subjective. Emily’s petpeeves include: insufciently steeped tea leaves, waiting in line, and the existence o bread-and-butter pickles. Would it be wiseto grit your teeth and allow your ruit to bepilered? Perhaps. But i you’re gritting yourteeth so hard that you’re developing lockjaw,it may be time to consider a tactul remark.Emily would like very much to believethat you are capable o having an adult con-versation about this with your housemate. I not, ply her with liquor and wait until thethird bottle o Cabernet to tearully “coness”how deeply this is aecting you. Failing that:“I read on the
website that the sugarsin ruit are a leading cause o weight gain.”
EMILY POST-etiquette expert