Screw Your Roommate: Embracing the Awkward

Screw Your Roommate is a tradition which has graced the grounds of Swarthmore with awkwardness and chicken grilla sandwiches since the spring of ’83. Okay, maybe the sandwiches weren’t a part of it in the 80s, but the endearing awkward interactions which Swat is best known for? That was certainly a constant throughout the years. To quote a Phoenix article from February 17, 1989, “Everyone had been in an uproar for weeks. The whole social structure had been shaken to its very roots. Phone calls had been made, arrangements had fallen through. No one could agree on anyone. No, this wasn’t the realization of Marx’s prediction of a social revolution…It was time for Swarthmore’s annual ‘Screw Your Roommate’ Dance.’”

Twenty-seven years later and Screw Your Roommate seems no different. You may get matched, unmatched and matched again: all culminating in what hopefully is a fun and characteristically awkward date in an elaborate (or not so elaborate) costume of your match-maker’s choice.

A waiter and a maid meet up in Sharples

The basis of Screw Your Roommate is not as crude as it may sound – your roommate (or in some cases, a friend ) sets you up on a blind date which will take place in Sharples, the college Dining Hall. You and your screw date dress up in as two separate parts of a matching costume, and find each other in a giant sea of costumed Swatties and plates of chicken grilla sandwiches and paella (which is traditionally served during Screw). Some highlights of this year included: two parts of a Tide Pod, the color pink and a cat (the Pink Panther), a carton of milk and ice (ice cream) and one of my favorites, Katy Perry and Left Shark. I’ve done Screw Your Roommate twice, and the energy in Sharples is always amazing. Freshman year I went as a drop of blood, and my date was a vampire. This year was a slightly simpler approach: Socrates and Plato. I found my date holding a copy of ‘The Republic’ and draped in pinned sheets.


A concept: two sides of a tide pod

 Spriha Dhanuka ’17 said she really enjoyed her experience with Screw Your Roommate, because as a senior she felt as if her social circle had been exhausted after 4 years at Swarthmore, stating

“It was really interesting because I got to talk to someone I would have never encountered otherwise. I think Screw is great because it legitimates the kind of awkward social experiences we have on a daily basis. People have these awkward dates and awkward conversations with strangers all the time but Screw is telling you ‘It’s okay, it’s a tradition to do it!’”

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