You’ve heard a lot of exciting stuff about the Hookup Culture here in the realm of tertiary education. You’re trying to get in on that, but how? You know you have to find love, but how? You want to prove to the campus that you’re a hero and a Casanova god, but how? Well, the answer is simple: the oldest trick in the book. Find a date and bring them a flower. But, be careful: sometimes you don’t know what you’ll reap when you sow. Plant a seed and let it grow:
Laurel: You wake up, looking into eyes you don’t recognize. You take them to Panera for breakfast and shitty coffee. You suddenly find that you’re short about a dollar and, while the clerk looks away, smash the tip bowl to the ground. Everyone turns, unable to believe what they’re seeing. The clerk looks at you wearily, “did you do this?” No, you don’t know how it happened. You scramble to pick up the coins and slip a few away to supplement your insufficient funds. Your date flashes you a look full of regret and sadness and your love is dim and fleeting, a match lit in the wind and rain.
Violet: You’re in the cute Art Major’s dorm room. You throw down the single violet you bought. As you grope each other hungrily, an elbow bumps the play button on the stereo and one of John Mayer’s 2003 singles begins to play. You ignore an uneasy suspicion in the pit of your bowels. Between vigorous make-out seshes they show you their artwork: shapes and colors flash dangerously, and suddenly that’s all there is. The artist’s face becomes a post-modernist contortion of ovals. Oh yeah, you remember, I’m dead. Unreal. . .
Ivy: I’ll see you in hell ;)
Lilac: You arrive at a dingy Spelman apartment, a rusted metal “54” hanging precariously from the door. Waiting for your knock to be answered, you stuff the bouquet under your arm, fish your phone out of your pocket and read over the text that beckoned you here: “meet me superman 54. cant wait 2 see ya ;)” A smell of pheromones and sweat slugs you full in the face as the door swings open. It dawns on you quickly that this is one of the “naked parties” you’ve heard about as a hulk of pale flesh replaces the orange door, suddenly blinding you. You are pulled in, quickly becoming lost in a tangle of limbs and genitalia. Where have your clothes gone? A dubstep remix of a Trent Reznor solo cut shakes the subwoofer. You black out and wake up naked on Poe Field.
Iris: You lounge in a public park, having a picnic. A field of irises surrounds you. Contemplative, you and your friends write poetry aloud. The strangers within earshot look shocked, never having seen such pretentious, shitdick human behavior. Your fingers creep over those of the one who has caught your eye, who smiles shyly. Unreal. You look into the horizon, your eyebrows furrowing. A darkness creeps over the sky, and you are enveloped in the inky blackness. All at once, your surroundings have changed, and a new location unfolds itself wildly before your eyes. “THE D-BAR!” you realize with a horror that clutches at your throat. You look around and realize everyone has gone, look down and see that your fingers clench only dust and ash.
White Rose: You end up in Cottage, surrounded by hulking figures. You hear a banjo begin to twang in synchronization with an electric guitar. All at once you realize that every last pale-faced person is naked, and the sound you perceived as drums was all along their swinging dongs slowly beginning to collide, building into a cacophonous rhythm: primal and deeply human, like a tune you’d known but forgotten long ago. “ROCK ME MAMA LIKE A WAGON WHEEL!” you shriek. You don’t know where the words came from, but your date embraces you with eyes full of tears.
Red rose: Your date blindfolds you and leads you along a path that smells fragrant and clean. You’re expecting an exciting surprise. Your footsteps suddenly begin to echo long in cavernous environs. You can see through the threads of the blindfold that the sunlight has been choked out. You smell wood varnish and hear the muffle of birds chirping behind windows. You sense the presence of many. A rose is slipped into your hand, representing the blood of the Virgin Mary, and voices all around you begin to sing of Him. “Keep it #alternative,” your date whispers in your ear, with breath so close that you feel the moisture on your skin. . . Congratulations, welcome to the Catholic Church.
Black rose: You follow your date down a dark passage. You are surrounded on all sides by hooded figures that hoist you high above a golden hearth. The two of you are exalted with the blood of a virgin and you make passionate love in the darkness. Congratulations, welcome to the Catholic Church. This is the only option that leads to sex.
Azalea: Love blooms wildly, because bitch, you’re in the 212.
Venus Flytrap: You stumble drunkenly into Frist together, arm in arm. After she looks at you with pleading eyes, you put her two pizza slices and fries on your prox and go home alone as she laughs with her roommates.
— AKJ ’15. Illustrated by KGR CA ’17.