Reviewed by Caitlin Flanagan
The Atlantic Monthly
"When I was an undergraduate, in the early 1980s, I spent a semester of my junior year living in an all-women's dorm. It was cleaner, quieter, and generally pleasanter than the coed dorms I had always favored. In the lobby, flanking the wide front door, were a sunken sitting room and a glassed-in office containing a defunct switchboard. The sitting room was filled with wrought-iron furniture and glass-topped tables, and was referred to as 'the porch.' Both of these entities, the porch and the switchboard, were relics of the days when the university had observed parietals, the rules by which a college dormitory monitors the comings and goings of its students. Under the old system, there had been a curfew and nightly head count, and young men could not wander through the building; they were announced by the switchboard operator, and could be entertained only in certain venues — the porch, for example, or a bedroom (during posted hours), with the door left wide open...." Read the entire Atlantic Monthly review.