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Facebook ‘poke’ leads to awkward one-nighter

Monday, April 3, 2006

A March 31 “poke” on led to an encounter over the weekend between two seniors that “can only be termed an extraordinarily awkward one-night stand,” according to participant Ethan Gold ’06.

The chain of events that led to the uncomfortable, no-strings-attached sex in Eva Larson ’06’s Young Orchard dorm room began last Friday. Sitting at her Rockefeller Library carrel, Larson, a modern culture and media concentrator who stayed in Providence over spring break to finish her senior thesis on “Deconstructing the Meta-Narratives of Postmodern Celebrity Weeklies,” was procrastinating on

Larson came upon Gold’s profile and “felt an instant attraction” to his picture, in which the San Francisco native is wearing an “artfully frayed” Amoeba Music t-shirt. Larson told The Herald she was “somewhat perplexed” by Gold’s interest in “spiritual ecology,” though she ultimately overcame this initial reservation.

After seeing that Gold’s spring break plans included “forties in the stacks,” Larson decided to click the “Poke Him!” link “just as sort of a joke,” she said. Gold’s reciprocal poke led to a series of events that culminated in Gold discreetly tip-toeing out of Larson’s dorm room Sunday morning following blundering sexual intercourse.

Gold, a religious studies concentrator working on his thesis, “Representations of the Ear th Mother in Kabbalah and Rastafarianism: A Comparative Study,” told The Herald he received Larson’s poke while writing in his Barbour Hall suite. Gold said he clicked “Poke Back” out of “basic Facebook etiquette” and because he thought the brunette – pictured on her profile wearing black eyeliner and low-rise jeans – was “kind of cute, though not really my type.”

Larson’s original interest was amplified by Gold’s reciprocal poke, and she became all the more intrigued after she noticed Gold’s membership in “People Whose Conversations Devolve Into Discussions on the Meaning of Life” group. The pair’s relationship quickly escalated when Larson decided to click “Send Ethan a Message.”

She wrote: “how’s the thesis coming? i remember you referencing it in our ‘exploding the modern’ section last semester. wanna blow off some steam tonight and maybe, like, have some beers in my suite or something?”

Gold told The Herald his message back to Larson, in which he agreed to meet, “may, in hindsight, have been ill-advised.”

At midnight, Gold called Larson to let him into her room. Sitting on opposite ends of the common room couch, the two seniors shared a six pack of Stella Artois and commiserated about their thesis stress. At 1 a.m., Larson invited Gold into her bedroom to “see some of my books,” according to Gold.

But when the conversation turned to late cultural theorist Michel Foucault’s interpretation of religion under late capitalism, Gold and Larson found themselves at an awkward impasse.

“I was shocked when he said he believed in ‘a greater spirit,'” Larson told The Herald yesterday. “I mean, how was I supposed to respond to that?”

Unsure of how to move beyond the topic of God and religion, copulation of the most “awkward, perfunctory variety” ensued, according to Larson.

“I just wasn’t that into it. I don’t know she just seemed so… nonchalant,” Gold said. He added he was particularly put off by Larson’s insistence that the two listen to a “weird” mix – featuring bands like Cannibal Ox – for the entirety of his stay.

Gold crept out of Young Orchard, shoes and shirt in hand, after Larson drifted off to sleep following an abrupt end to the tryst.

The next day, however, Gold was surprised to discover that Larson had invited him to be in an “It’s complicated” Facebook relationship with her. Gold declined.

“It seemed to come out of nowhere. We weren’t even Facebook friends before this, so it was rushing things, in my opinion,” Gold said. He thought about adding Larson as a friend with the friend detail “We hooked up in 2006, and it was awkward,” but thought better of it, he said.

A friend of both seniors defended the weekend encounter.

“This was not just an anonymous, ‘meet me on the corner of Thayer and George at 10 p.m.’ hook-up, like something out of a Daily Jolt forum,” said Eric Brown ’07.

“I think Ethan understands Eva a little better than that,” he added, citing Gold’s awareness of Larson’s long-time devotion to Broken Social Scene, a band listed under “Favorite Music” in her Facebook profile.

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