Yesterday it was frat boys at Old Dominion University offering a “freshman daughter drop-off” via enormous bedsheet banners hanging off the sides of their balcony. Today, the very cool guys are at Ohio State University in Columbus, where an off-campus house full of seniors is getting a lot of attention for their own banners, ones reading “Daughter Daycare 2.0” and “Dads, we’ll take it from here.” At least it’s punctuated correctly.
The photo, taken on Lane Avenue, was first widely seen after it was posted on an OSU fanpage called Eleven Warriors. A man in American flag bikini briefs frolics proudly in a kiddie pool on the front lawn, the banners snapping in the late summer breeze, as men and women holding drinks on the porch toast the camera. It’s an unforgettable tableau, one that could be titled, “A Portrait of the Early 21st Century American Male Who’d Like You To Know He’s Definitely Touched a Boob Before.” Here’s the full version:
Not surprisingly, the picture blew up. Local news station WCMH spoke to the household, where seven OSU seniors live (the house doesn’t appear to be affiliated with a fraternity). They’re sorry if they upset anyone in their desperate quest to let women know they’re real good at sex:
“Our motives were not to insult or look down on anyone, not to be sexist,” Justin Miller, who lives at the house, told WCMH. “Our motive is just to have fun. It is college.”
Reaction to the banners was varied. The students at the home said an English professor scolded them and some parents were upset, but that other people took pictures in front of the banners.
“People have been saying we are misogynists, we are sexist, we are degrading towards women. My dad, he is a good Christian man, I am a good Christian man, but we just do this for fun. We are not trying to cause any havoc or stir up any trouble, we are just trying to have some fun,” Alex Sheets, who also lives at the house, said.
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Jezebel spoke to Columbus resident Lewis Reffitt, who took the photo and who’s a little dumbfounded at how quickly it turned into a controversy.
“Passing by and thought it was funny,” he wrote in a Facebook message. “Kids having a good time. Can’t believe this photo has blown up like it has really. I think people are over thinking it and not seeing the humor. Most are but some are bored I guess haha.”
Reffitt says the signs are common on move-in day every year, and points out that women post them too. Barstool Sports has two photos that it says were taken at OSU; in one, seven women are holding a banner that reads, “Can’t Come in Front But Ur Welcome in the Back.” In the other, the women’s banner reads, “Freshman boys, our couches don’t pull out so we hope you do. P.S. Megan does butt stuff.” The comments of both photos are filled with people calling them lighthearted, encouraging things like “whores” and “cheap sluts.”
“It is blown up and I don’t see them as threatening,” Reffitt writes. “Everyone is so overly politically correct anymore everything offends somebody somehow. These banners have been going on for years. Why are they an issue now?”
Fair point: making gross jokes about the exciting sexual availability of 18-year-old girls is not new. When I attended college at UC Santa Cruz a decade ago, the joke was a campus fraternity that wore t-shirts during move-in week reading, “Freshman girls, get them while they’re skinny.” (The back featured a caricature of a woman crying on a scale.) Counterpoint: you’d have to be pretty oblivious not to notice the intense controversy over campus rape and consent that’s engulfed the country this year, and perhaps even a little boneheaded to put up big signs broadcasting how excited you are to have alcohol-fueled sex with barely legal women.
That said, banners like these give freshmen of all genders a handy way to know immediately which houses to avoid. Or, if that’s your thing, which houses are definitely full of real cool non-virgin sex-havers who have totally seen a girl naked. Totally.
Update, 11:30 a.m.: OSU junior Abigail Slone took a photo of another fun banner at an off-campus house, which she tells Jezebel she found appalling and not a little degrading. Plan B jokes are popular this year!
Also — not to be that guy — but that’s a terrible choice of birth control methods, and also not how you use a selfie stick.
Correction: An earlier version of this story attributed the interviews to news station WOOD TV. The interviews were actually conducted by WCMH, another NBC station in Columbus; the segment was then shared by WOOD. I regret the error.
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Photo by Lewis Refitt via Eleven Warriors/Facebook