(Subjective) Truths (Sort of) Universally Acknowledged

A Tale of Love and Friendship…and Victorian Literature

Things I Like: The House of Babes


Hi everyone! How are you? Keeping your head above water? I just finished my last paper today, hurray!!! I need to give it a last read-through, but then I can send it off…and start plugging away at my thesis. (Which I am excited about, but I am also excited about BBC miniseries and sleeping in and going to the gym and working on my novel. Decisions, decisions…)

Anyways, I was planning to write a different post entirely, but then this happened:

I was minding my own business, getting ready for my shower, when I entered the bathroom and saw a pair of legs. “That’s so weird,” I thought. “No one ever sits on that stool. Well, whoever it is, they’ll have to move, because they are not getting a private viewing of my shower-songs, complete with interpretive dance.” (Fyi, right now, I’m really into jazz classics.)

So I go in, thoroughly prepared to tell this person off. And then I realize that this person doesn’t have a face. Of all the things to notice, I don’t know why I noticed the face, but I did. This elicited a very ladylike yelp a loud screech that brought half the girls running.

Katie and Isabel started laughing and, after she had assured herself that all was fine, Cornflower decided to laugh at me too. I had, dear reader, been caught in the middle of Katie and Isabel’s prank war.

I wasn’t on campus this weekend, but apparently, that’s when it all started. I’m a bit fuzzy on the details, but I think someone tried to wrap someone else’s door with cellophane, and then Isabel stole Katie’s pillows, and there was some other pranking in between…the point is that Katie and Isabel have waged war on each other, and we housemates have served as collateral damage. There’s a tally on the kitchen whiteboard of who has outdone who, but I couldn’t get a good picture of it, so alas, you will have to use your imagination. Suffice to say that there is a lot of contention about whose prank is the best, and there are many opinions to be had (sometimes different opinions from the same person, just to keep things interesting :P).

I know I’ve talked about my co-op before, but I haven’t devoted nearly enough time to this lovely yellow house and its bright sparkly members. I live in 302 Wait, Cornell’s female-only co-operative housing option. Co-operative living is still technically under the banner of Cornell housing, but we are responsible for keeping the house clean and many of us cook for ourselves. It’s a fun time, as you can probably tell 😛 The above anecdote is the first of many that I am sure I will be sharing with people for a long time to come. There was the time that a collection of statues that spelled out “JESUS” made the rounds from bathroom to bathroom, doorstep to doorstep, in a strange but hilarious re-enactment of the Nativity. The time that Laura and Caroline hosted a “Halloween banquet” that served as a thinly veiled excuse to bake ALL THE BAKED GOODS and name them ridiculous things (“graveyard muffins,” anyone?). Anyways, I could go on and on. Oh House of Babes, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

1) Let me eat cake!: Right now, Julia’s carrot-peanut butter cake is baking in the oven and is seriously tempting me to forgo my no-carb, no-refined-sugar rule. But I should be used to this exquisite torture by now, no? It’s an unusual day when someone isn’t cooking/baking something delicious and amazing that they are more than willing to share (as long as I don’t nom it all…which, let’s face it, I might very well do!). I have been inspired by so many unique inventions made right here in the HOB (black bean brownies are my new fave!) and my cooking skills have definitely benefited from living with such culinary masters!

2) Struggle-bus = snuggle-bus: We all have those days where a professor announces that a paper is due four days earlier than you thought, the slow cooker voms all over your kitchen counter, and you argue with your parents. All you want to do is scream into your pillow and swear out your poor defenseless house keys that JUST WON’T FIT IN THE LOCK! And that is when the lovely Babes come to your rescue, showering you with food, blankets and huggles. Some of my best college memories are of me sitting on the couch with my housemates, watching a movie and knitting. Snuggling is a part of daily existence here. And scientific studies show that hugs make you 200% happier. Science!

3) I am a Victorian damsel: As soon as I saw this house as a second-semester sophomore, I knew I just had to live here. Despite the grey linoleum on the kitchen floor and the hidden drafty nooks and crannies, the house resonated with Victorian rambliness and wonderfulness. My room is beautiful and has the loveliest view of the sunset…and did I mention it’s a single?! I would write more, but I think my room deserves a post of its own.

4) Pets: The newest member of our little family is Gandalf. No, not the wizard, sillies! He wouldn’t make a very good pet. Gandalf is the name Laura gave her new bunny, a black lionhead who apparently has a foot fetish? (Incidentally, it wasn’t until after Gandalf’s christening that I realized Laura and I were total Lord of the Rings nerds, and then we nerded out and it was AWESOME.) Caroline has the sweetest rat named Anjou, Cornflower has Magic, Hilary has Maya the birdie and Kelly has guinea pigs Stella and Bella…and of course, we cannot forget about the “sexy beasts,” aka Caroline and Laura’s three beta fish! We didn’t really have this many pets last year, but I am very glad we do now…it’s nice to cuddle after a long stressful day! (See point #2).

And finally…

5) The sisterhood begins at home: Audre Lorde’s excellent 1984 essay “The Master’s Tools Will Not Dismantle The Master’s House” gives some of the best advice I have ever received as a feminist and as a woman in general: “For women, the need and desire to nurture each other is not pathological but redemptive, and it is within that knowledge that our real power is rediscovered. It is this real connection which is so feared by a patriarchal world. Only within a patriarchal structure is maternity the only social power open to women. Interdependency between women is the way to a freedom which allows the I to be, not in order to be used, but in order to be creative. This is a difference between the passive be and the active being.” Lorde advocates for the building of a common understanding, a solidarity network between women of all socio-economic and racial backgrounds that allows us to transcend the harmful effects of misogyny, patriarchy and consumerism. And while I know this is a huge claim to make, I really do feel like I’ve found that here. We all come from very different places and have very different beliefs, but these differences are our strength, not our weakness. These differences elicit compassion, curiosity and acceptance of who we are, rather than ridicule or outright isolation. I can say anything to my lovely Babes and they will still accept me for who I am. It really is in this house that I learned the difference between “be” and “being.” And for that reason, I will continue being me for the rest of my life.


But in all honesty: I love you, Babes!! Can’t wait to have one last semester (and a lifetime’s worth of friendship) with all of you.

4 Comments to

“Things I Like: The House of Babes”

  1. December 17th, 2013 at 12:05 AM       Kt Says:

    love this post! very eloquently written!

  2. December 17th, 2013 at 5:34 AM       CF Says:

    Fun as always and a very happy vacation filled with BBC dapper gentlemen and heaving drama.

  3. December 17th, 2013 at 6:42 AM       Boogie Says:

    Holy crap, that stuffed person was freaking TERRIFYING. I’m glad you didn’t have a heart attack because I would have!

  4. December 17th, 2013 at 8:21 AM       Klaske Says:

    Ha ha *hugs*
    Babes FTW!

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