By Molly Bramble, Contributing Writer
I should begin by saying that most Friday nights since I’ve attended Asbury, I have made myself scarce in Glide- Crawford. I’ve had a job since the second week of freshman year when I walked up and down Main Street, ending up as an employee at Tastebuds (#throwback). Fridays were popular pizza nights.
I would get off of work around 9:00 and walk back to the dorm, flour caked on my hands from tossing dough, and clothes reeking of pepperoni. I would walk onto my hall, more than ready to wash off hours worth of pizza, only to hear giggling down the hall and a door propped open — a sure sign that I really shouldn’t be trying to take a shower for the next two hours. Most times, I would do it anyway because I figured that the involved parties were consumed enough with the novelty of open dorm that they wouldn’t venture out onto the hall in the time it would take me to walk between my door and the bathroom. But there were certainly a few unfortunate incidences.
I came to resent open dorm for one major reason: for one night a week, it seemed that my personal space was being invaded. But Molly, why does this have anything to do with you if you didn’t participate? Well, that’s just it — by bringing men onto my hall and into the community that I have with the girls on my hall, I am implicated by default. This is our living space. I can’t do everything that I would normally do, dress how I would normally dress, or even speak how I would normally speak on my hall when the safe boundary of same-sex dorms is removed, even if only for a few hours.
The real question that I pose is this: Why does anyone need to bring the opposite sex into their living space? My mom used to say something very strange to my sister and I as we grew up being left home alone for hours at a time: “You can have boys over, but they are not allowed in your room,” to which we would respond, “Mom, anything we can do in our rooms, we can do anywhere else.” I don’t say this to begin the debate on how many inappropriate things go on during open dorm, because honestly, if two students really wanted to get into trouble they could go somewhere else to do it and have a much easier time. But this lesson growing up did set a precedent for boundaries in my life: my living space, where I spend my most vulnerable and personal time, does not need to be shared with everyone.
I’ve lived with no boundaries and I’ve lived with too many. I’ve gone through seasons where I have spent too much time with the opposite sex, and seasons where I couldn’t spend one-on-one time with my most honoring brothers because of the boundaries that I needed (not wanted). I’ve come out into a beautiful middle-ground where I find Jesus meet me, helping me discern which physical, emotional, and mental spaces that others are welcomed into. But I will make a definitive claim that may not be too popular: you really should have different boundaries for opposite-sex friendships than you do for same-sex friendships.
That being said, same-sex fellowship is one of the most precious gifts that the Lord has given me since arriving at Asbury. Growing up with a majority of male friends, I believed that living in a dorm of hundreds of women would be suffocating. But over time, I came to realize the absolute necessity of healthy, same-sex friendships and the intimate space shared with your hallmates. Some of my most memorable and beautiful memories will be from sitting on 2G with incredible women, talking about things that I wouldn’t have any business sharing with my guy friends, no matter how wonderful and honoring those men are. Sure, one night a week isn’t going to destroy hall fellowship — but is it building it?
I came to resent open dorm for one major reason: for one night a week, it seemed that my personal space was being invaded.
I would challenge avid open-dormers to venture out, and instead of getting excited for the times when the rules don’t apply, ask why the rules are there in the first place. Why do we have same-sex dorms? What is good or upbuilding about having a space set apart for yourself and other women or men to share exclusively? I’m not saying it’s wrong to participate in open dorm, or even to anticipate Fridays with excitement for open dorm; but what can be gained from considering, maintaining, and being excited about the beauty of those boundaries set in place for us? Upon further exploration, I’ve found the spaces within the boundary lines to be the most sacred.