In defiance of dorm room fluorescent lighting, my two male acquaintances and I had the room softly lit with strings of Christmas lights and paper lanterns. We cracked the window to let in the some cool evening air and lit incense to clear the room of any hint of eau de college male.
I curled up in the standard comfortable but-ugly brown corduroy armchair amidst a flood of pillows no desk chair for me tonight. The musical background was provided by the trance-like techno of DJ Shadow.
The central attraction of the room for someone like me who equates food with love, was our fondue. We melted chocolate first, unwrapping the foil and dropping each piece into the pot with a satisfying thunk. Thanks to the bounty of Stav Hall, we had apples and bananas for dipping.
No romance is complete without a good drink, so sparkling grape juice and plastic cups were produced while we waited for the chocolate to melt.
We drank and talked until the chocolate was heated, and then we dipped and enjoyed our fruit, discussing the finer points of fondue etiquette. (Is it impolite to let the fondue fork touch the side of the dish?).
Content just to eat, we abandoned the talk about manners fairly quickly. In the world of pleasure, it doesnt really matter what is proper, as long youre enjoying yourself.
After we scraped the last of the chocolate from the pan, we washed it out and prepared for the next course crusted homemade bread with a roasted garlic cheese fondue. I was no longer going to have sexy breath, but I was going to be well fed and contented.
Meanwhile, we started the nights entertainment a little Charlie Chaplin. I confess, I am sometimes guilty of the its in black-and-white so it must not be any good prejudice, but this was just the sort of relaxation I needed a simple, lighthearted comedy, unapologetically unsophisticated, that really made me laugh.
We feasted and we giggled, and as the night drew on, I did what I do at the end of a romantic night: I got sleepy. We finished the last of the fondue, and the movie ended.
We put on a recording of Scheherazade, Rimsky-Korsakovs piece about the eponymous Arabian princess who charms the Sultan with her stories, and got ready for bed. That is, the two roommates I was visiting brushed their teeth and changed into their pajamas, snuggling into their respective beds, while I camped out on the beanbag on the floor with a spare blanket and the extra pillows.
So, I enjoyed my very first sleepover with boys my mom never was too into the idea of co-ed sleepovers after a thoroughly pleasurable evening. There can be great sex with no setup, and there can also be a perfect setup without any sex.
For those of us who are shy and single, we learn to accept having a great time with no physical follow-up. And I can say from experience even situations that sound more erotic than my night of fondue, like the potentially orgiastic naked parties, can be awkward or even slightly boring if there is nothing happening besides nudity.
While sleeping on someone elses floor is not the same as spending the night in a partners arms or being able to stare unabashedly at other womens breasts, it has its own appeal. After all, this night I did not have to face any of the trade-offs that come with physical gratification or vulnerable nudity.
The sacrifices we make for sex can be small, like loss of sleep or missing the occasional 8 a.m. class. But we also face very real worries, including performance anxiety and pregnancy scares, which apparently increase at St. Olaf as we enter the stressful holiday/finals season and women stream into the health center for pregnancy tests.
There was no fiery passion that night, but I was content. I even had to grin at my fantasy of the romantic possibilities: As the boys fell asleep, I wondered whether they were going to snore.