by Lily Poorman
Coming to Fordham, I was excited to personalize my own dorm and see how others would do the same to theirs. After the first few days, I thought I’d seen the best of dorm ornamentation, but it wasn’t until a week into the semester that I really came to understand what true dorm decor looked like and to appreciate it in its most genuine, uncut form. Since then, my perspective on decor as a whole has been completely transformed and I’ve begun to question my personal decor choices as well as those of my friends.
Decorating a college dorm or apartment is an integral part of the “authentic” college experience. It can be a move-in highlight, a form of expression and a way to make your “home away from home” feel like an actual home. It’s traditional for students to put up posters of their favorite bands and films, pieces of art and pictures of friends and family. Some students choose to string up lights, set up lamps and install massive fans angled at their beds. If you have more room, furnishing your apartment can make your living space more comfortable and inviting.
However, the pseudo-frat culture of certain off-campus apartments taints this joyus shared experience that many Fordham residents take pride in. Picture this: You and your friends arrive at an off-campus party. You walk down a flight of stairs which lead you to the front door. When you walk in, you’re greeted by a long, dimly lit space. The room you’ve entered is sterile, but not in a clean way. You look around. To your right, there are three doors, closed and caution taped off. To your left, there lies a ping pong table laden with three empty red solo cups. As you walk further into the room, you see there’s a fourth door on the right. It’s left open: I see it’s the bathroom, barricaded with caution tape. Across the room on the left, is a brown reclining chair. An empty twelve pack of Natural Light Naturdays Strawberry Lemonade Beer replaces the area where a coffee table should be. This is the extent of the inside of the apartment.
POV: Male Off-Campus Decor Traumatizes and TerrifiesUnfortunately, the crowd of people outside leaves you without a clear picture of what decor adorns the exterior. All that’s clear is that there is some sort of soundproofing agent inside the apartment. When you’re outside, the sounds are deafening, but when you’re standing in the living space it’s completely silent. You want to explore; you’re intrigued by the minimalist approach that the interior decorator took, but the only place left to survey is the bathroom. However, you know waiting in line will be worth it, so you use this time to study the amenities of the home, taking a seat on the recliner. It’s warm and moisture-laden, but you don’t get enough time to fully take in its charm before the bathroom door swings open. When you enter, the heat and buzzing of the fluorescent lights embrace you. Looking around, you try to take in every detail, though there aren’t many. There is no toilet paper, no hand soap and (molded to the shape of the sink) a beige, wet hand towel. Your mind can’t even register what the shower looks like and you block out the memory. Your eyes now pan to the dual functioning mirror-medicine cabinet, which in all its glory, floats seamlessly above the sink. Your reflection, however, is blocked by a massive sticker of Buzz Lightyear, everyone’s favorite animated toy superhero and main character in the film franchise Toy Story. The sticker not only masks your reflection, but also seals the doors of the cabinets shut. Now you’re intrigued; what is in the cabinet and what could this sticker of Buzz Lightyear, your favorite animated toy superhero, be hiding? Against better judgment, your curiosity makes you peel back the sticker and open the cabinet revealing a green baby bong. Good thing they locked up this little bong. It’s probably worth a lot of money. You close the cabinet, leaving the bong inside, and re-seal the Buzz Lightyear sticker to the mirror. A few weeks have gone by since this night, but the memories have been fresh in your mind since. Now, you’re obsessed with brutalist, post-war era-inspired design and every time you close your eyes you either see Buzz Lightyear or a baby bong. Consequently, you’ve lost friends, changed your entire style, and you are doomed to be eternally consumed by the esoteric act that was that apartment.