Notes for my Lifesitter

by Wendy MacLeod '81

Dear Professor,

If you are to "be" me for a day, we have to address some fashion/grooming issues stat. There is no way you can walk down Middle Path with your eyebrows looking like that. And if you don't do something about those "natural" legs, you're going to be invited to pledge a fraternity. Sarah G. (not Sarah T.) is good on brows. Sarah M. is the go-to girl for waxing. Sarah F. is awesome on style. You'll just have to fill out a brief questionnaire.

My friends are awesome so they will be super-nice to you even though you're not me. Turn to them in any crisis--break-ups, bloating, highlights gone wrong.

Feel free to raid my closet. Look for a pair of jeans with a high spandex content; they're very forgiving. (I hope I don't have to remind you to wear a thong. You can't have those spinnaker-sized Granny-undies peeking out.) It's fine to wear a hoodie and Uggs to class, but on the weekend you have to make an effort.

Always apply make-up before going to the KAC, even if you're just going to swim laps. Everybody in the sophomore class will be looking down at you from the Stairmaster so don't get caught doing the Nadal butt-pluck. Wear swim goggles if you must, but don't wear one of those little Speedo swimcaps that make you look like a pinhead (not to be racist against pinheads or anything). I know you were alive in the sixties but PLEASE don't be caught naked in the sauna. That's just scary.

Okay, Facebook. Please don't embarrass myself. Don't agree to be friends with just anybody who "friends" you. Leave the religious and political affiliations blank. Or, if you must fill them in, just say that you're "spiritual but not religious" and that you think Obama is hot. Only post flattering pictures of yourself, but if you find any pictures of Katy G. looking like the cow that she is, upload them. (N.B. Do not believe her when she says that your boyfriend is not her type.)

In the winter, Middle Path is a nightmare, because if you slip on the ice the entire campus will witness the debacle. Always step off Middle Path when your cell phone rings. You might kill some of the zillion snowdrops that were planted at the south end, but at least you'll avoid the Death-Star stares of the seniors who remember when no one at Kenyon even had cell phones.

You will notice that I haven't spent much time on classes. That's because these take up a very small portion of our mental space. You should spend a lot of time studying but you should spend more time complaining about the studying you have to do. You should be able to squeeze all your work in between dinner at Peirce and drinks at the Grill. When in doubt, highlight, but stick to a single color. Otherwise, your textbooks start to look like the Gay Pride flag. If you take notes in class on a laptop, it's easier to YouTube or shop online when the professor gets to the "fact stuff." If there's no wireless, you'll still be able to take the red eyes out of your i-photo pictures or make slideshows underscored by Coldplay.

If you need an extension on a paper and it's a male professor, vaguely allude to menstrual problems. If it's a female professor, suggest some problem with the patriarchy that impeded your research. Or explain, in painstaking detail, how you were plagued with a computer software problem until her eyes glaze over in boredom and she gives you an extra week.

As for me being you, I'm thinking all I'll have to do is wear flax and sensible shoes. I'll go to class and blah-blah-blah about whatever comes into my head. I'll drive a Prius from Middle Ground to Ascension and grade papers by randomly circling stuff in red pen and giving the student whatever they got on their last paper. I'll sit in my/your office during office hours and look attentive. If anybody has any questions about their future I'll suggest they do something "meaningful." If me/you gets really bored, we can always go online and order "new" clothes from those middle-aged, elastic-waist catalogs. If there's anything else I need to know text me.

Omg. I almost forgot! Stick to the salad bar. :)

Wendy MacLeod is the James Michael Playwright-in-Residence and a professor of drama.

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