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How much is too much?

Published: October 20, 2006
Section: Opinions


Within the theater community, there is a certain tradition. If you have a tryst with someone within the cast or outside of it (sorry, rounding the bases with a steady boyfriend/girlfriend doesnt count), you are then expected to bring in doughnuts and hot details for the rest of the cast the next rehearsal. Ive seen this happen on more then one occasion. I cant help but wonder at what point this tradition of sharing how great a kisser someone is becomes over-sharing?

This is just one of the many examples which have, of late, been appearing more and more across campus. The pastime of making what happens behind closed dorm doors very public is becoming extremely popular. Most people enjoy dishing about what a great time they had the night before (and they enjoy it even more when theyre drunk), but when does the discussion go from friendly chatter to the front page of the National Enquirer? How much is too much?

Another issue with simply telling one person about the hot guy/girl from the PhiPsi/AEPi/ZBT party last Friday is what happens when that confidential friend hits a place like Usdan. By the end of the day, all of the student body knows the who, what, when, where, and how of the hook-up (with embellished details, of course). Even if you dont discuss it with friends or acquaintances, there is still the other half of the partnership to watch out for. Keep this in mind: people talk about what happens after meeting someone and getting a little friendlier with that person. Soon, an entire floor/residence hall could know anything and everything that happened that night.

In a period where reality television shows like The Bachelor and The Real World lets complete strangers in on the romantic lives of people who, like many here at Brandeis, just want to find somebody to love, is it really so surprising that everyone just has to know everything about who is making out with whom? However, these shows have pushed the need for knowledge (and control) to the breaking point.
Another culprit of making sure peoples personal lives are out there for everyone to see is a favorite website of many, The Facebook. In a way similar to MySpace, The Facebook (especially with the addition of News Feed), is the one-stop tell all source of information about everyones social life and, of course, relationship/hookup information. However, there are ways to keep your life a little more private online. You can remove relationship stories, wall postings, and other things from the News Feed, but also consider the fact that you cant remove the same story from someone elses feed even if you were involved in it.

Due to factors such as the ones stated above and others, keeping personal things just that – personal – has shifted dramatically, as junior Lily Kowalski observes daily: I have found that one cannot usually go through a conversation with a friend without mentioning something about a boyfriend, ex-girlfriend, a hook-up, or that hottie in your English class. Things that had once been considered private and personal are now being splashed out in mainstream conversation – there is no distinction between talking about whats going on in your classes and who you hooked up with over the weekend.

The underlying statement of all this is simple. So simple in fact, its amazing it isnt repeated more often: There is a line between private and public life. When do the stories go overboard? When do the tales become TMI? How many people need to bring in doughnuts (or feel compelled to do so)? You tell me, Brandeis: How much is too much?