I would argue that most professional graduate students out there, especially by the time they hit year 3 or 4 of graduate work, would agree that prolonged ventures in grad school kill a bit of your soul. That’s why I call all of my projects my little horcruxes. Like any graduate student out there that has been in grad school so long they have indeed relinquished part of their soul, alcohol is a good friend. I’m in no way saying that we’re all hard-core alcoholics; I’m not even saying that I am; but we all get by with a little help from our friends. And sometimes our friends are wrapped in Jack Daniels, Jose Cuervo, PBR, or <$10 bottle of wine labels. Lately, my preferences have moved to Balvenie, Oban, McCallums, and Hendricks labels, but habits I can’t monetarily support is the subject of a separate post.
Recently, I took a group of teenagers camping and rafting. Understandably so, it was an alcohol-free trip. I was pretty confident in my ability to handle myself without a drink for a week, though I had never done it while also being around 11 teenagers. As another precaution to ensure appropriateness around kids, I also refrained from taking any smut along. Now, I’ve been out of the closest for a while now about my love for romance novels, especially during the summer. I don’t even get embarrassed when I have a guy ringing up my smut-tastic purchase at the bookstore or feel like I need to slip in a Churchill biography or collection of scientific essays to distract them (though self-checkout at the library is an amazing thing for those shy of their smut habit). However, I just didn’t feel that it would be an appropriate topic for conversation if a kid saw what I was reading. Consequently, I took book that had graced the best sellers list for a while this year…and I’m still not really sure what it’s about.
The last days of any period of self-denial are the toughest. It’s why when I was doing fieldwork in the Arctic a few years back and we were living on dehydrated food (plus something that could only be termed as “meat stick” along with crappy Kraft cheese by the kilo, which hardly qualify as food), we weren’t allowed to talk about real food until at least 2/3 of the way through the trip. The second to last night on this last trip was trying on the Beer-O-Meter; after all, I hadn’t been on a river without beer since high school. But the last night is what took me by surprise. I missed smut. Horribly. And this is saying a lot since I have notoriously horrible taste in romance novels. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying anything on the order of Smut > Alcohol, but…a girl’s gotta get her fix.
And just for the record, I did buy beer before I bought smut upon my return.
Lastly, here’s a project I deeply lament not being a part of: "Smart Bitches Trashy Books". After all, a good beach read is nothing to be ashamed of - even in higher education. It's why the tower is off-white and not pure white.