It’s true what all the guidebooks say—Pomona students really are one big family, and the more time we spend here, the bigger the family gets. Of course, I’m not talking about your biological family—I’m talking about your Eskimo Family. Before I came to Pomona, my Eskimo Family was pretty small: only a few members, and I didn’t know any of them well. Now after a few years at a small liberal arts college, I have a sizable and dynamic Eskimo Family.
Just like having biological brothers and sisters can be a two-way street, having a big Eskimo family has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the distinct advantages of an Eskimo family is the instant bond you have between you and your Eskimo siblings. Remember freshman year? A bunch of freshmen from all over the country meandering through awkward conversations and painfully sober “parties”? The saving grace of those early interactions was always the moment in which you realized that the two of you had something in common: “You’re from Chicago!? Where!?” or “Oh yeah, I played high school football, too!” or “No way, I love Hentai! Let’s watch some together!” or whatever.
The point is that having something in common with someone is a great way to build rapport. I can’t speak to the intricacies of Eskimo Sisterhood, but I have a fair amount of experience with my Eskimo Brothers, so I’ll focus on these relationships.
Imagine throwing back a beer with your newest Eskimo brother—the two of you could be strangers, but you’ve been to the same igloo, and that connection is often intimate enough to warrant an instant friendship. Whether you’re talking about how nice the igloo is or bonding over your shared appreciation for its appearance and décor, the bridges being built can last a lifetime. Moreover, collaboration between Eskimo siblings can lead to a better understanding of the igloo’s nuances. For instance, if the elder brother informs the younger that his igloo is best enjoyed through the back door, many weeks of experimentation can be saved, and the young learner can direct his attention to the coziest areas of his new home.
Of course, Eskimo siblinghood poses a risk to friendship as well. Perhaps the most pertinent hazard is the temptation to enter the igloo while it’s still warm inside. This can cause hurt feelings on all fronts. If one man enters another man’s igloo before the former has forsaken his claim to it, then the latter may be seen as an intruder, the original Igloo Master may feel inadequate, and word may get out that the regulations regarding entrance to that particular igloo are too loose. None of these things are good. With this in mind, it is almost always better to wait for the situation to cool down before attempting to cross the threshold (the exception being the odd instance of Eskimo twins, triplets, etc.).
Another problem can be Eskimo Sibling Rivalry. While your relationship with your new Eskimo sibling may seem to be in perfect order, creeping anxieties about the dimensions of your fishing pole, the effectiveness of your technique, or the steadfastness of your igloo may put a strain on the relationship. These problems can be exacerbated if either one of the siblings hears feedback from his or her current partner, so it is best to abandon your curiosity and not worry about the previous occupants of your igloo.
At a school with the size and liberal atmosphere of Pomona, inbreeding is also likely to be a problem even among heterosexuals. For instance, I have at least one Eskimo sister that, I must confess, I would like to know more intimately. I won’t take a stand for or against incest, but I would caution against it; family reunions can be wonderful happenings, but with emotions running hot, the chances of an igloo meltdown are going to be greater than ever.
When all is said and done, I enjoy having a healthy Eskimo family. The furtive smiles, high-fives, and sense of community engendered by Eskimo siblinghood are, for me, some of the defining elements of my Pomona experience. And even though it might not always be easy to get along with your Eskimo brothers and sisters, just try to remember that we’re all family.
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