September 17, 2007

Still don't believe finals clubs are bad?

Harvard senior seeking female companion - 22
Reply to:
Date: 2007-09-17, 3:37PM EDT

My final club has a reunion this fall, and my relationship of two years ended disastrously earlier this summer. I have an invitation for myself plus one, and am willing to show you a great time. It is a private party, in an extremely classy setting. There is no real way to describe how ornate the club is, but I guarantee that it will be the most upscale experience of your life. Think back to your high school prom, take away the terrible music, and multiply the experience by ten.

You must be white, 5'6" - 5'9", young, blonde, attractive, and intelligent. You must be in school, preferably Tufts or Wellesley but BU and BC are acceptable (definitely not MIT).

You should be able to hold a conversation, know when to be quiet, and polite in all your behavior. I have seen unruly guests embarrass members before, and I hope this won't be a problem. This event is black-tie, and I am willing to procure an evening gown for you.

I hate to sound so harsh, but I have expectations to live up to. No Black, Asian, overweight, or unattractive women please. Ages 18-22 only.

Picture required.

Racist, sexist, classist, elitist... and if it's a "bad joke," i have no idea what part is supposed to be funny.


spork said...

I think it's probably a joke. Not that a lot of the final club guys
aren't racist sexist [insert adjective] pricks... but I'm guessing
this post is not from one of them.

bat dor said...

I dunno, spork, this might be the view from the outside, but it looks believable to me.

What I find difficult to believe is that there exist women who both (a) meet his expectations and (b) would actually deign to spend an evening in the company of such a jackass.

His last relationship ended disastrously, huh? I almost feel sorry for him.

garçon-fille said...

I know this is going to sound bad, but if you just remove the physical characteristic requirements (i.e. the racist parts), I don't think the ad is unreasonable. Sure, it's elitist and somewhat classist, but didn't we already know that about Finals?

All I'm really reading here is that this guy is a racist, which is bad - don't get me wrong - but I don't think the ad is a very valid commentary on Final Clubs as a whole [not that I would know, since I've never been invited to one].

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's easy to label social injustices as evil, but they're not: they're just unfair.

emily2 said...


I am SO sending that to Gawker.

wannatakethisoutside said...

I disagree with you garcon-fille with regard to what happens when you remove the physical characteristic requirements.

When describing the other person the only non-physical attributes he describes are ability to hold a conversation, ability to be quiet, and polite. Oh, and that she has to go to an elite college. How is that not sexist and classist at the very least in addition to the race, class, and gender-related problems of the "physical requirements"?

emily2 said...

the original post is gone. i'm sad. it was so funny.

now, i think it's fine to post exactly what you want in a dating ad. if i posted in an ad stating that i want an "androgyous/feminine female. i'm short, and i prefer someone under 5'7, prefer brunettes to blondes, no males! and i'd like someone college educated." would someone accuse me of being sexist, classist and anti-blonde? well, if so, then guilty as charged! but the beauty of craiglist is that you can find exactly what you want without PC filters.

my reaction to this particular post was that is was entertaining in its pompousness, and the poster's massive levels of insecurity shone through ("i have expectations to live up to"). like, dude... who cares, man? it was perfect fodder for the "douchebag" feature on gawker, and now the post is lost forever.

garçon-fille said...

I think it's possible that you are still reading into the ad a bit too far. You could absolutely be right, but I simply see things differently.

I never claimed that this person was not elitist (I reiterate, it is already well known that Finals are an elitist institution), and it's abundantly clear to anyone who reads the ad that his actions are racist. However, that may not be his true intent: he may have no problem with girls of other ethnicities or physical characteristics, but he caves in to unfair peer pressure and acts in a morally reprehensible manner. His actions are wrong (as are the imposed expectations), and he may not be strong enough to escape the cycle.
Or he could just be racist.

However, rampant racism may be a problem only in the context of that particular final club and its membership. Racism and other negative values could also have been passed down from previous generations of Finals members, who control the club's funding and who lived when racism was ubiquitous (but still wrong) in the U.S.--it really wasn't that long ago--and may therefore be dependent upon the particular histories of that specific final club or even of all Finals at Harvard. But if a new final club managed to be born of the current generation, it would be quite possible for it to hold different standards. There is not sufficient evidence to proscribe final clubs as an institution based only on this particular advertisement. That's a bit like pointing at the (likely) unhealthy gay hookup culture thriving through boredatlamont and saying, "Still don't believe gay networking is bad?" Even elitism is hard to get around, as a plethora of economic, social, and cultural factors play active roles in keeping classes separate and keeping elitism thriving (once again I believe this is unfair, but I see little to be gained from merely vilifying it).

Insofar as the other qualities are concerned, I still don't think he's being unreasonable. I know that if I were going to a formal function and I needed to take a date (not that I would look for one on craigslist, or online at all for that matter) I would not want my date to be excessively loud, or rude, and I would not want them to get drunk and make a scene (just as I do my best not to be loud, rude, and/or drunk). I would also not want to take someone with whom I could not converse--it would be boring. And in that context sex and gender are completely irrelevant.

emily2 said...



icarus said...

i feel like we should get a link on gawker! but good work. :)

emily2 said...

update: with 10,000+ views, it was the most viewed article on gawker. how funny and, in a strange way, how sad.