Just the Tip: Desperate to find a punk like me

Just the Tip returns this week with a questions from one student who struggles with Georgetown’s suit-and-tie culture and another who suspects her friend is bulimic.

Dear Emlyn,

I’ve found the people here at Georgetown to be great, but also pretty stereotypical. They all seem very similar in terms of their chosen college experience. At home, the people I typically hang out with are those that represent the punk lifestyle. As you probably know, there seem to be very few people here who really can go out, party, and give off an “I don’t give a fuck” attitude. My friends go to colleges where people host semi-talented bands in their townhouses and act like rebels when they’re done with work. I have yet to find that here. I just want to be able to do stupid college student things, act totally insane if I want to, but the party scene here seems to always be same and at least partially controlled by proper social behavior. This is the only time in my life I’ll be completely free to do whatever and lash out when I want to. Where’s the college experience of pranks and insanity my parents talked about? Do you know anywhere at Georgetown where I can find my like-minded punk kids who can really dispel the social constraints every now and then?

Sincerely,
Punk and Disorderly

Hi Punk,

I’m sorry that you haven’t found much of a friend group that you feel you fit into. Georgetown students aren’t all the same, but judging by the sheer volume of Nantucket reds tucked away in dressers and closets across campus, we’re certainly not the punkiest group of students that ever was. There’s a Juicy Couture 10 minutes away from campus and I’m pretty sure punks avoid that shit like the plague.

But bravo to you for sticking it through! You seem awesome and I’m sure there are tons of people who are a little bored with Georgetown social life and would love to hang out with you. You’ll just have to work a little bit to find them. I hope that you’ve met a few accepting friends, and there are several pretty eclectic groups that you might feel at home in—try writing for the Voice, getting a radio show on WGTB, or making friends with some theater kids.

If you’re really not feeling the campus vibe, don’t feel trapped socializing with future billionaires on the Chilltop. Try hanging out at the Black Cat for concerts and comedy shows. Find concerts in the area that interest you and post in your class’ Facebook group to see if anyone wants to come along or carpool. Maybe hit up a random friend at American or GW to see what their parties are like. Apply for a quirky job off-campus to meet some people – rumor has it that Baked&Wired employees throw crazy parties, and somewhere like Dischord Records (a sort-of mecca for DC punk music) or Crooked Beat Records in Adams Morgan might be where you’d find tons of likeminded folks. Good luck!

Dear Emlyn,

Recently, I was talking to one of my friends at a party. We got talking about weight and she said something along the lines of, “It’s okay, I’ve only made myself throw up once so I’m not bulimic or anything.” This person has talked about her body-image issues in the past—about how she’s so fat and exercises all the time and is jealous of other people being skinny. This girl is not even close to being fat. In fact, she’s really pretty, but she doesn’t seem to think so. We’re not very close friends, so I don’t know what, if anything, I should say to her. Is this a cry out for help? What should I do?

Sincerely,
Indecisive

Dear Indecisive,

Thanks for this question—I’ve been doing a lot of research on this topic because I’ve had a few experiences similar to you. Lots of the studies differ, but the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 25 percent of college students suffer from a clinical or near-clinical eating disorder. The average onset age range for unhealthy behaviors like this is 18-20, so universities are literally teeming with people that are struggling with or trying to control their weight. Pretty scary stuff, but the bottom line is that it’s all around us, whether you notice it or not. Like masturbation. Or people who like CSI.

It’s quite possible that your acquaintance was making light of a serious problem she has, but I guess you never know. If you’re really concerned, maybe reach out to one of her closer friends and ask them to keep an eye on her—that way, you will have done something to make sure she’s all right, but it will be in the hands of someone who knows her a little better and can get make a few more observations. Keep in mind that approaching someone about an eating disorder is REALLY tricky, trickier than doing anything on fucking Windows Vista. Saying certain things like “You’ve looked really skinny recently” can actually be a trigger for those suffering from an eating disorder rather than an opportunity for them to talk about what’s been going on, so make sure that you ask this girl’s friend to read up on how to have ‘the big conversation’ if it comes to that.

If you have questions about eating disorders or struggle with one yourself, go to http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/ —they have a help line, a chat helpline if you’re uncomfortable speaking with someone on the phone, a support group locator, and more.

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Image: Punk & Disorderly / Warner Bros. Entertainment

5 Comments on “Just the Tip: Desperate to find a punk like me

  1. “there seem to be very few people here who really can go out, party, and give off an “I don’t give a fuck” attitude.”

    It’s true Georgetown is seriously lacking in the poser punk department.

    But seriously, do flannel and skinny jeans not give off an ‘I don’t give a fuck’ attitude?

  2. It doesn’t sound like your interested in punk, it sounds like you want some anarchic rage. If you do like punk, go to shows at Fort. Reno. There are a decent amount of punks who seem to hang around in that area, too.

    As for doing really stupid stuff, im gonna get on my high horse an say that is a shit entitled attitude to think college is a time to do whatever you want and lash out when you want to. To the extent possible, I would separate that from your college experience, and have those experiences in another traunch of life. There are plenty of floors to wake up on, and charming gents willing to share a bit of black tar, neither of which as much to do with college.

    I apologize for the chastising, its just that i am like super super wise and important and stuff :)

  3. Dear Punk and Disorderly,

    The theater groups are also like 75% Nantucket Red. Even the weed smoking kids are some degree prep. We’re fun but not what I think you are looking for.

  4. Yeah! Don’t be friends with us! We’re all the same!

  5. Hey there,

    I know the feeling well, but you can always seek out campus organizations that traditionally attract more alternative types, namely wgtb, solidarity committee, united feminists, etc. Crooked Beat and the Black Cat are great places to hang out but you should also check out the DC Showspace tumblr for regular postings on house shows around the dmv: http://inyrbasement.tumblr.com/ Hope you find what you’re looking for!

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