The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Sex and the CU | Am I a creep? Am I a weirdo?

Natalie Schneider
Sex and the CU

Around October of last year, I was walking from fraternity house to fraternity house. I made my rounds in the hopes of experiencing the age-old freshman initiation: a frat party. Yet, after hours of getting shoved around, ignored and excluded, I began to wonder, “Why are these parties such a big deal?”

I trailed in the back of my friend group, looking around at the dozens of other groups roaming the streets. We stopped occasionally to ask other frat-goers which manor was hosting the best rager. I studied everyone closely. 

The girls were dolled up with sparkly tops. They looked put together and — beyond anything — they were cold. The fall temperatures that night had dropped and left many partiers shivering as they exited one house to enter another. The Shein tank tops were no match for the weather.

I suddenly felt underdressed and uninformed. I had not known to sacrifice valuable heat for the perfect frat outfit combination, which appeared to be a lavish top with a miniskirt. I had on a black tank top with a pair of jeans and, in my mind, I was no match for frat party veterans. 

I looked at these girls and I was nothing like them. They were in the know and confident. The party scene manifested self-consciousness within me regarding how I looked, how I acted and who I could talk to.

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As my insecurities began to grow, I walked through the door of the last party of the night. I watched each of my friends get hit on by different men and, one by one, they all turned to talk to someone. 

With my back against the wall of the house, I waited patiently for a dashing young man to offer me his hand in a passionate dance to the extensive discography of American rapper Keith “Chief Keef” Cozart, but no one did. After some time, I grew tired of standing in the frat floor mystery liquid, so I gathered my group and we left.

My friends and I sat in a parking lot adjacent to the house as I listened to their tales of romantic whimsy. I stared into space and replayed the night. Had I just not had the opportunity to court a fraternal man with one of my tasteful jokes? 

I tried to convince myself the opinions of these random men did not matter, but to no avail. Confusingly, I felt like I was 14 all over again. I was back in my awkward stage of not feeling enough for men. 

My friends continued to complain and make fun of their romantic flings, speaking of how they felt grossed out by getting hit on. The conversation left me with a guilty conscience asking, “If I know most of these men don’t have pure intentions, why do I feel left out? Why do I long to have someone approach me to only reject them in the end?”

Yes, most of the time it’s gross to get approached by an incoherent, blubbering man with a backward cap and a polo on, but I couldn’t help but wonder why they would not choose me. I almost felt resentment toward my friends for rubbing it in my face.

I weighed the possibilities. Am I unattractive? Uninformed about party culture? Do I present myself as standoffish or unhappy? Is my personality too niche? 

Admittedly, I have always been underground; I would often get the phrase “Wow! You’re actually pretty cool” when I pursued men. Still, my appeal to specific markets of people had never halted me from getting romantic attention in high school.

The questions circled my brain at every party during my freshman year, but as I grew knowledgeable of all the subcultures at the University, I came to an epiphany.

I am not unattractive. There was a reason I couldn’t see myself in any of the girls at the frats. There were reasons why I didn’t enjoy the music or the chaos at certain events. Greek life just wasn’t my scene.

Instead of frat parties, I found house shows. I walked into the backyards of Urbana houses and heard familiar music, saw familiar faces and felt comfortable. People talked to me and we shared Spotify profiles instead of Snapchats. Finally, home.

There was nothing wrong with me; I just wasn’t catering to my audience. I didn’t mesh well with the crowd that associated with Greek life, so I found areas of campus where I would blend in.

Sometimes, to feel appreciated, you have to find your scene. That could take some time and patience. It is important to remember that not being desired by one group does not mean you’re objectively undesirable — each individual’s standard of beauty is subjective.

Explore campus, experience new things and travel to unfamiliar places. You may eventually find the people you’re looking for.

Thank you for reading — until next time.


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About the Contributor
Lillie Salas, Features Editor
Hello! My name is Lillie Salas, and I am a sophomore majoring in journalism. I have been working at The Daily Illini since my freshman year. I began as a staff writer in features and then had the opportunity to be promoted to features editor during my second semester. I am so honored to work with such an amazing staff and I look forward to working with the Champaign-Urbana community to share our stories. For any inquiries, contact me at my email below.
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