I have found that the idiom “the walls have ears” applies weirdly and surprisingly well to university life. Last year in my freshmen dorm, I could hear everything my neighbors did or said. If they were listening loudly to an album (Vessel, by Twenty One Pilots) I would join and sing along through the wall. But this year, in the hobbit hole I live in (Perkins), I can hear everything my neighbors do, say, and think. Even more importantly, I can hear every time they have sex.
Who designed the buildings I have lived in? They clearly forgot one very key component of harmonious living: putting systems in place so that you don’t hear your neighbors doin’ it. And let me tell you: this affair, nay, this social experiment, is a university-led conspiracy with the purpose of ruining my life.
I won’t recount the tales of last year, where I had similar experiences of unwanted eavesdropping since Keeney, I guess, *is meant* to be a ~magical place where (loud) sexy times should happen~. Jameson specifically will always be a magical space of loud music, gross restrooms, and pee or poo on elevators. Also loud neighbor sex. The only thing that got me through my time in Keeney The Sex Club was reminding myself that it would all be over soon. I thought that all of that thirsty-freshmen-making-loud-noises thing and disrupting my solo Game of Thrones marathons was just that – a freshmen thing. I dreamed of the day when it would be eleven to midnight on a Friday, and I, a sophomore with a concentration, would stuff my face with popcorn while my computer laid on my chest. I wouldn’t have to put headphones in because I would know that the moans came from Daenerys and Drogo (tbt) and not Chad or Matt or Sam and that girl from EmWool. And my partner, who I would have respectful-noise-level but really great sex with, would be hanging out somewhere else because they understand I need my alone time.
What a naïve dream. Sophomore year was nothing like I thought it would be.
It started a few weeks into last semester. My next door neighbors would make the occasional sex sound. It was fine. I remember thinking Perkins is close. Perkins is a community. Like a third of alumni find their partners in Perkins. It’s all finee. I let it slide.
By Halloween, my neighbors were having regular sex. I’m never in my dorm, since it’s practically in Pawtucket and I usually need to be on campus, but I somehow managed to sadly listen in on an average of 2-3 sessions (sexssions?) of loud moaning followed by various episodes from Seasons 1-3 of The Office (U.S.).
This experience was awful for many reasons. First, I had an almost-hook up around this time so I was just frustrated that my neighbors were regularly fucking and then watching Ted Cruz spill chilli everywhere while I was watching Jane the Virgin all by myself.
(Oh, Jane. We are so similar. We’re both empowered Latinas. We both like writing. We’re both not having sex. Except Jane chose to not get laid even though all the men in her life are painfully beautiful. ¿Porqueee??)
The second reason this experience was awful is because I began watching The Office again and procrastinated everything I had been assigned until Thanksgiving.
After we got back from Thanksgiving break, my neighbors went at it hard and at really random times. I was trying to fix my schedule in order to be in the room at times they wouldn’t be in theirs, but it was to no avail. They had no schedule. They were unrestrained. They lasted through finals, and every day I got closer to making my new year’s resolution “buy a vibrator.”
After winter break, either my neighbors had a huge fight and had less and less sex, or I had finally learned the art of timing. I was ecstatic. I no longer felt like I was the loser neighbor who never had sex, and whose only disruptive “noises” were screaming at her laptop when Netflix got too exciting and playing one song (Carly Rae Jepsen or Justin Bieber, probably) for three hours straight at full volume. They had joined my ranks! Haha! What’s it like to have weird sexual energy all the time?! Victory!!
And then my neighbors upstairs started having loud sex.
I couldn’t (and still can’t) really hear their personal visceral animal sounds, but holy shit do their mattresses make noise. I mean, I know Perkins is as old as time and the bed springs are no exception, but I didn’t know these mattress springs doubled as safari calls.
It was awful. It was awful because the bed spring sounds would last way longer than the people next door ever did (oops, sorrynotsorry). For a time, I thought it was perhaps just a carefree youth high on marijuana jumping for joy, for hours. What a good time he was having. I quickly found out it was indeed sex because they always finish with excitement, like when you get to the end of a roller coaster at Six Flags. Then the people next door started having sex again.
Now the upstairs people and the next door people take TURNS. The daytime is for the people next door, while the night time is for the marathoners upstairs.
Meanwhile, I am still on the lookout. The most action I’ve had this semester was at the bouncy boob castle at the Museum of Sex in New York, followed by placing a temporary tattoo of Ariel the Disney Princess on my friend’s left breast for Spring Weekend.
My neighbors downstairs are the only hope I have left. Maybe they aren’t having sex either, and the sounds of me doing nothing are the comfort and reassurance they deserve.