By Brittany Butler
Senior Features Writer
Throughout my two years at Asbury University, I have heard people complain about the “awkward” couples who inhabit the dorm lobbies and student center in the evenings. I have been told that the Glide-Crawford card door is notorious for couples in embarrassingly-passionate embraces (acting as if they are parting for life instead of eight hours) and that the street side of Kresge is the most popular make-out spot on campus.
But after living in Glide-Crawford for almost five semesters and working evening shifts at the Glide-Crawford desk for three, I have yet to witness any of this behavior. Where are these “awkward” couples? I assumed I wasn’t looking in the right places — I spend an hour maximum in the student center during the week, and I’ve only been to the street side of Kresge twice.
Yet, due to both the frequency and the number of complaints about immature and inappropriate couples, I decided to look into the situation. I interviewed nine people: three males and six females, of which five are single, two dating and two engaged. I asked them for concrete examples of unseemly PDA and advice for the people who struggle most with discomfort around couples.
Single senior Noah Malcolm, who works behind the student center steward desk in the evenings, says that, although he has heard of couples lying on top of each other on the couches, he has yet to see them. “Honestly, I haven’t seen snuggling that makes me uncomfortable,” he said. “Even my boss, Tyler, who has worked here for a long time, has only had one situation where he’s had to break a couple up.” However, Malcolm did admit that his tolerance for public affection is fairly high. “Some people are more sensitive,” he said.
Junior Nolan Hodge has seen behavior which made him feel slightly uncomfortable. “Mainly, I think of the student center when I think of people being too couple-y,” he said. “I’m currently in a relationship, so it’s hard for me to say, but I think of things like a girl lying down with her head in her boyfriend’s lap.”
Yet, Caleb Wheat, engaged senior and spiritual life assistant of Davis, disagrees. “I don’t think of couples in the student center being too close to each other,” he said. Wheat is mostly annoyed with couples who are loud and “act ridiculous.” He recounted one couple who chased each other around the furniture, or couples who have public conversations about particularly personal things. “I’ve seen single people be annoying in the same way, though,” he said. “It’s not just couples.”
While the student center seems to have the worst reputation for awkwardness, the lobbies of the dorms are also known for excessive PDA. But out of the nine people interviewed, I couldn’t find anybody who had actually witnessed a kissing couple barricading the card door or overly-enthusiastic snuggling in the lobby of Glide-Crawford.
Hodge said he couldn’t think of a time where he had seen inappropriate behavior in the lobby, and single junior Emily Hellstrom, current resident assistant (RA) and evening desk worker of two years, says she has never witnessed anyone “making-out at the card door” and has never had to approach a couple in the lobby during her shift. “I have seen people kissing each other goodnight,” she said. “But it was just saying goodnight. I think most people respect each other at GC.” Wheat, who sits with his fiancé during her desk-working shift from 10 p.m. to midnight on Thursday nights, also said he has never seen anything inappropriate.
Opinions about Kresge were varied. Senior Meredith Robison, previous Kresge RA and current desk worker, has never seen a couple inconsiderately kissing in front of the doors at night. When she started dating her boyfriend this year, her friends told her that she couldn’t be “that couple,” so she tries to be aware of those around her. However, she has yet to see one of “those couples.” “Clearly people are just saying goodnight,” she said. “I can’t personally think of a situation when I saw a couple being physically close in a way that made me feel uncomfortable or annoyed.”
Nine out of nine students interviewed said that the best way to avoid discomfort around couples is to ignore them. Seven out of nine said that they would suggest approaching a couple if they were behaving in an unholy way in a public place, especially if this behavior had occurred multiple times. Five students suggested single students try to imagine what they would do if they were in a relationship. Eight students agreed that complaining about relational behavior is unhelpful to the person feeling discomfort. “Just remember,” said Hellstrom, “they’re not trying to be offensive.”