Parietals. The word oozes innuendo, exclusivity and awkwardness. Teenage relationships and hook-ups are uncomfortable enough; throwing in a suspecting faculty member and giggling girls or boys yelling encouragement makes the involved parties (or victims) cringe with shame.
Why all the pomp and circumstance? Why the romantic stigma around parietals? Why does the dorm feel so different, so much more laid-back, after curfew when all the couples clear out, the pajamas come on and the quirkiness of our student body can be heard through bursts of violent laughter in every dorm? Can we not mimic that casual vibe during parietals?
The discussion around community hang-out spaces has been so centered on public areas that we may have forgotten the most quintessentially youthful hangout space of all: bedrooms. Taft’s student handbook contains the following clause: “The purpose of Interdorm Visitation is to allow students to visit friends of the opposite gender in a comfortable setting, analogous to visiting in the living room of a family home” (Taft School Handbook).
Where is this emphasis in the Deerfield handbook, or more importantly, in the Deerfield lifestyle? The closest boarding school friendships are cemented in the dorm rooms we call home, so let’s stop treating them like sacred kissing ground.