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November 6, 2008

by Ian McGinnity

We’ve all seen the emails that pop up every two weeks or so: “Per intercampus agreement, the following message is being forwarded from Scripps College Associate Dean of Students Staci Buchwald.”

Let me guess: Another sketchy male exposed himself to another innocent Scripps girl on another random corner in Claremont. Every time I see these emails, I can’t help but laugh quietly to myself, just a little bit, just for a second. No, I do not think that indecent exposure is funny; indeed it is a serious problem that threatens the security of the serene Claremont bubble in which we live. Plus, heaven forbid that some Scripps girls see happytimeplaces without thinking it's just payment for mooching someone's hooch.

But if you pull an Upton Sinclair and take a psychological step backwards by putting yourself in the grimy, socially backwards shoes of the perpetrator, the actual thought of committing this type of crime has undeniably comedic qualities.

Memories of the guy from last year who drove a car up to a Scripps girl and asked for directions with no pants on come to mind. Where in his life did he go wrong to the point that one day he just decides to hop in the car naked from the waist down and roll around with the windows wide open? Invariably freeing, perhaps, but definitely awkward.

Does he listen to music while he drives? Scenes from Jerry McGuire come to mind…except I’m pretty sure that the lyrics go ‘free falling’ not ‘free balling’. Artistic differences I suppose.  I often wonder if perpetrators text their friends, “d00d she DEF saw it oMgzzz!” or give toolish high fives afterward. One thing is certain: that type of lifestyle almost absolutely demands full time incapacitation because no one could look back at exposing themselves and be legitimately content with their life unless they were a living Quagmire. Giggity.

This begs the question, why do these males expose themselves? I went straight to Yahoo Answers for the explanation. Despite the numerous less scientific responses to this question such as “because it feelz soo good, duh” from user name Thuglyfe29 or “Chat wit me mor lawlz and ill edjucate u mor on this” from user name fast_akshen_Joe, I found what seems to be a valid psychological explanation. The reasons why people expose themselves are numerous.With so many things that could go wrong in life, it's a wonder most of us have the resilience to NOT flash people. Here are a few of the causes listed:

  • not having enough opportunities for appropriate sexual expression

  • inadequate social education and poorly developed or absent self-control

  • lack of social interaction or attention as a child

  • childhood low self-esteem

  • lack of education on how to properly put on pants

I added in that last one because, obviously, sometimes pants accidents happen. For instance, I walked into Scripps Dining Hall last night and realized as I piled five or six delicious chocolate chip cookies onto my barren tray that my fly was down. More scared than embarrassed, I zipped up immediately. Thankfully and quite surprisingly, no one saw and I was not confused with the Scripps Flasher, which would have inevitably resulted in a Security Alert, my picture with a title of "PERVERT" or "MOLESTOR!!!!" on the cover of the, oh, so riveting Scripps newspaper, The Voice, and I would probably would never be able to get my favorite "Femiccino" drink at the Motley anymore. Whew...dodged a real bullet there.

Regardless, there is not one easy solution to stop flashers from exposing themselves. But as mentioned above, people expose themselves mostly because of deep-seeded childhood self-esteem issues. It would seem that the best way to prevent acts of public indecency in the future is to raise the self-esteem of today's children.

But how, how!? The best solution: Small acts of random kindness. I propose getting funding from ASCMC so that students can drive around in large vans and offer small children candy.The younger the better.Along with giving out candy, we can also offer words of encouragement to them such as "You're special and everyone likes you...(and just so they know that you really really really care, add) especially!"

This strategy of reinforcing childhood confidence by acting in a wholesome and encouraging way should leave children who would, without our help, grow up to be emotionally scarred adults, feeling great about their lives. With your help, Claremont, we can end the atrocious Scripps flashings and secure a better future for our children.

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