By Binston Swongo (Edited by Anna Lipari)

Dear Binston Swongo

First of all, I’ve never had any romantic or sexual aspirations towards any of the prospective students I’ve hosted over my three years here. They’re nervous kids, no matter how cool they try to act, and the power dynamic between a prospie and their host makes it totally inappropriate to hook up. It’s never the prospies. It’s their parents.

I met Cheryl yesterday when she and her son came for an admitted students campus tour. She’s tall and gorgeous, with chunky blonde highlights in her hair and a purposeful stride. Her bold confidence drew me to her immediately; though her son hung back, she pinned me to the snow-swept sidewalk with her icy blue eyes and introduced herself with a firm handshake before launching into a barrage of detailed questions. “Do you know how my son can get credit for both AP and IB classes?” she asked, and butterflies rose in my stomach as I stammered out that I wasn’t sure. 

I think she returns my attraction. “You’re a bright young man,” she told me at the conclusion of the tour, after interrogating me about my major, my roommate, my work history, my GPA, and my opinion on the food in the dining hall. Each question laid bare another segment of my soul, but I didn’t mind. I wanted nothing more than to be utterly exposed before her, to throw myself at her feet (clad in sensible new-balance sneakers) and beg for her praise. “I think my son could really learn a lot from you,” Cheryl told me, and every part of my body swelled with joy.

I’ll be seeing her again tomorrow for the second round of activities. Then she’ll be gone with the snowmelt, and I may never get a second chance. Would it be appropriate for me to make a move? 



Dear Lovestruck,

Listen, buddy, I should really warn you off of this. You may both be consenting adults, but that doesn’t prevent awkwardness and humiliation that might arise if you proposition a prospective parent. Is Cheryl married? Are you going to invite her back to your weed-scented dorm room? On the off chance that she really is attracted to you, what will you do if next year you find yourself tutoring the student whose mom you had a secret tryst with? It’s probably a very bad idea.

But there’s a lot of misery in the world lately. Sometimes, when I’m walking back home late at night through the biting wind with hours of homework to get through before I can rest my weary bones, when the news is full of violence and injustice and all the flags are hanging half-mast against the washed-out gray sky but I can’t even remember what new national tragedy I’m supposed to be mourning, when my bank account is empty and my post-graduation job prospects are grim, and rent is $3,000 a month for my studio apartment with two roommates, an asbestos problem, and no doors or windows–sometimes I despair at the state of it all. Sometimes I have trouble knowing why I’m even supposed to keep plodding onwards. But then I see something beautiful. A soaring eagle. An early spring crocus, squeezing up from the frozen ground. A mother carrying her child through the snow. And I think, damn. That’s hot. 

My friend, it would make me very happy to believe that tonight, amidst all the stress and apathy, one singular, eccentric Grinnellian is having the time of his life with a sexy, overbearing MILF. 

Go for it. Godspeed. Please use protection. 

-Binston Swongo

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