The Philosophy of Ex

What not to do when you run into an ex-partner on campus.

Art: Grace Franki

When you crawl through your degree at a slug’s pace (as I continue to), it’s easy to rack up a few ex-partners who end up littering lecture halls and USU outlets around campus.

Sometimes two of them are thrown into the same room as you and they end up sitting next to each other while you sit behind them wondering if they know who the other is, and you get so high on the social adrenaline that you forget to listen to the lecture about the abolition of gender and what Sally Haslanger has to say about social justice.

The first Philosophy of Sex lecture I attended this year was simultaneously attended by three of my ex partners. Is it worrying to think I’ve already slept with 1/30th of the PHIL2661 cohort? Yes.

But if you’re the sort of person who’s been in a revue or seven, can name the current SRC president, or is even just reading this paper, this campus is probably a claustrophobic swamp of young hot things who’ve hurt you. So it’s important to prepare for an inevitable run in with a former lover, and I’m here to help. Here are some tips I’m happy to share, in case you ever happen to run into an ex-partner on campus.

Don’t agree with them in tutes

Much like during your relationship, everything your ex says in a tute is most likely wrong. I recommend you shake your head at them very subtly if they ever say anything in a tutorial or seminar. When they espouse some bullshit about intersectionality in front of your peers, shoot them a look that says “I know how socially progressive you actually are, you problematic fuck.” Also, never dumb yourself down in front of them. You should inject all the suggested and recommended readings into your veins and get ready to show them how much better you are at academia. That’s really important.

You don’t want a repeat of 2012 when he got the better ATAR and you spent an entire year reading every Tolstoy you could get your hands on to prove you are so literary. That’s pathetic. Being passive aggressive in tutes is your only weapon now. Use it often.

Don’t support their projects. It’s not worth it.

Definitely project an aura of confidence and amity when you see an ex and even feel free to strike up a conversation. But if you ever asked them what they are up to and they tell you, just reply “cool”. Don’t use any more words. You must actively disengage from their interests and hobbies. Don’t offer to help them stack an AGM, don’t tell them you want to come to their show, don’t like the Facebook page for their new start-up. There’s no point. Their SUDS play will get up anyway with the help of some GPS mates and you will be left wishing you didn’t message your friends telling them to check out your ex’s play because it’s so brave being supportive even when the love is gone but then your friends actually enjoy the play and you get so mad.

Don’t have sex with them on Eastern Avenue

If you run into an old flame on Eastern Avenue, I highly recommend you don’t have sex with them on Eastern Avenue. This goes for all locations. If you see them at Courtyard, don’t fuck them on your pumpkin and vegan cheese pizza etc. On reflection, the location might be completely irrelevant: just don’t have sex with them. There is, however, nothing wrong with trying to make your ex re-fall in love with you; I just wouldn’t complicate things with sex just yet.
If these suggestions seem too difficult, just try hold off all romantic engagements until you graduate. You will be able to drain yourself from the swamp soon enough, and then you can dive into a much bigger pool full of future heartbreak. Maybe one day you will see relationships not as petty competitions but as genuine opportunities for love and growth. Also, if anyone I’ve dated in the past six years wants to get back together, shoot me a message — I’m keen.