“A boy goes up to the girl—it’s never the girl by the way—and asks her to leave,” Miranda McEvoy ’13 said. “They’ve probably only exchanged texts before, but never face-to-face conversation until basically that night. Then people clap you out of the Greer.”
Many students feel that Greer culture is not conducive to healthy relationships.
“I think that before you build a relationship you’re supposed to be friends with the person for it be healthy, but I don’t think Deerfield goes along with that,” Tally Behringer ’14 said.
New senior Claire Goss spoke about her initial reaction to Deerfield relationships. Goss said, “Before I came here, I thought relationships would be closer because people live together, but people don’t really get together, they just hook-up.”
Goss and Behringer are not the only people disappointed in the way the Greer scene affects relationships at Deerfield.
“Deerfield dating is overrated,” Allison Dewey ’14 said. “You can’t have a friend of the opposite gender without people thinking you are together. It’s so frustrating. It’s hard to have a long-lasting relationship here.”
Relationships at Deerfield may be difficult to maintain, but according to Nicky Rault ’13, it is not an impossible feat.
“I am a big fan of the Greer and the social structure it provides,” Nicky Rault ’13 said. “I think its organization is very helpful for younger students and those new to dating. I think you can easily create long- lasting relationships, and move from friends to more than friends.”
The term “hook-up” has always had multiple connotations, and at Deerfield it is heard often about the Greer.
“Hook-ups at Deerfield do not prepare us for the outside world—once we leave Deerfield, we won’t know how to flirt, and boys won’t know how to initiate relationships,” Allie Hrabchak ’15 said.
Cate Wadman ’13 added, “It’s not real life,” while Vanessa Avalone ’13 said, “Hookups at Deerfield become about status.”
Chris Ortega ’13 commented on the negative aspects of hook-ups: “I think that they contribute to the instability of relationships on campus,” he said. “It seems like, for lack of better words, one-night stands. You usually don’t see these Greer hook-ups lasting long.”
Although “hook-ups” can be short-lived, Nolan Bishop ’13 explained his view on low-commitment relationships.
“Getting experience without worrying about a long-term relationship can be good,” he said. “There are ways to have relationships that don’t involve serious commitment, but the Greer is not the way to achieve that.”
Conner Romeyn ’13 mentioned the positive social aspect of the Greer, but said he was concerned about “Greer-made” relationships. “I don’t mind the Greer scene; it can be a great way to meet people, but hook-ups that start there can feel contrived and uncomfortable,” he said.
One thing that can make couples leaving the Greer uncomfortable is the previously mentioned tradition—discouraged by Deerfield staff and faculty—of clapping couples out of the Greer.
“I think people are clapping just to make it awkward,” Ortega said. “I don’t know why [the couple] would be embarrassed. They know they’re going to get clapped out. If they don’t want the attention, they could just go out different doors.”
Luke Madronal ’14 explained why clapping in the Greer has become accepted practice: “It’s about [what’s done by] leaders on campus. If you are a new student in the Greer, and a table full of older girls and guys clap out a couple, it becomes cool, and then the norm.”
Rault shared a personal anecdote in favor of Greer clapping. “I’m a fan of clapping people out of the Greer—as a new student being clapped out the Greer, I thought it was awesome.”
Some people view the applause as demeaning.
“I feel degraded when people applaud,” Behringer said.
“Clapping people out of the Greer is based around the immature idea that you’re applauding your buddy if they’re ‘gonna get some.’ That clapping sets some sort of expectation for what’s about to happen [between the couple]. It builds the pressure,” Bishop said.
He added, “There’s so much pressure at DA associated with the Greer relationship that people feel pressured to have a relationship fitting that formula.”
Sometimes the “formula” for a couple includes a third party who executes the “set up.” These set-ups at Deerfield can be over-utilized.
Allie Roberts ’16 said this leads to “people becoming co-dependent on other people to set up their relationships.”
Sarah Sutphin ’13 hoped fewer people would depend on set-ups.
“Though set-ups can be successful, I think they are silly and somewhat cowardly,” she said. “If we all had more open attitudes towards relationships in general, then people would be more inclined to make the connection themselves.”
The Greer offers food, big TVs, comfortable seating, and space for weekend events.
“But it is not just a place—it is a major player in the Deerfield social scene,” McEvoy said. “Once we recognize that Greer culture influences our relationships—platonic and otherwise—we can begin to evaluate how it contributes to Deerfield social life.”