Never Fear: GRADUATION

BY TEAGAN WEBB ’19

As I prepare to graduate this December, I have been reflecting on which relationships have been most sustaining during my time here. Although I have experienced some excellent sex and some great romances, I have been most grateful for intentional queer platonic intimacy. I love being tangled up in bed with my friends, kissing cheeks and holding hands as we watch holiday rom-coms with no tension.

Queerness often means that romance and sex are not off the table between friends. First year, most of my friends, and their friends, were unbelievably beautiful queer people. I thought naively to myself, “wow, I will never be at a lack for cute people to kiss.” But since there were so few assured platonic groups, there was no “girls night” where two people weren’t waiting for everyone to leave, no parties where the goal wasn’t to make out with someone. I’m not saying that nobody should have been kissing, just that by my junior year, we were all connected by a “spit chain” that had torn friend groups into pieces. Every Rockies party was a veritable “who’s who” of who had hurt one another. It is incredibly unstable to consider a majority of your support system as a potential partner given the right amount of singleness and alcohol.

It’s not sexy advice, but creating intentionally platonic space and skipping Rockies parties was the best thing I did for my anxiety all four years. Sexual tension and queer attraction are not bad; it is so exciting to be safe and able to date around in a queer community. It’s hopefully clear that not everyone who has ever kissed someone at a Rockies party is bad. But queer friends can be fetishized and make each other disposable in a way that makes living in a cohesive community really difficult. Valuing queer community beyond its capacity as a dating pool is a healing in itself. It’s offered me a kind of care that has made even this last year feel possible for me.

“Never Fear” is a sexual health column run by Teagan Webb ’19. If you have a question you’d like answered, send it to neverfearmhc@gmail.com.

Mount Holyoke News

Mount Holyoke News , Blanchard Campus Center, 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA, 01075