Kate Taylor’s piece about hook-ups on Penn’s campus eerily reminiscent of her own life

Kate Taylor published a long piece in the New York Times this weekend, and because it was written about Penn, I haven’t been able to escape it. It’s everywhere:

Apparently, over the past year, so was Kate. According to one account by a current student, Taylor was a “ubiquitous campus figure — spotted at bars, at frat parties, [and] at downtown clubs.” The author used these opportunities to conduct a series of focus groups and interviews for the sake of vindicating her main thesis: that women are important drivers of “hook-up” culture at Penn.

Of course, what better place than the home of Wharton to turn up gems like these:

For A., college is an endless series of competitions: to get into student clubs, some of which demand multiple rounds of interviews; to be selected for special research projects and the choicest internships; and, in the end, to land the most elite job offers.

As A. explained her schedule, “If I’m sober, I’m working.”

In such an overburdened college life, she said, it was rare for her and her friends to find a relationship worth investing time in, and many people avoided commitment because they assumed that someone better would always come along.

“We are very aware of cost-benefit issues and trading up and trading down, so no one wants to be too tied to someone that, you know, may not be the person they want to be with in a couple of months,” she said.

Still, Taylor’s piece has come under some criticism — for instance, it quotes zero males and focuses on only heterosexual relationships — and even prompted an obtuse, unsigned rejoinder from the Daily Pennsylvanian:

But after digging a bit into Taylor’s past [I google imaged her because I was curious how well she’d have blended into the Penn bar scene — answer: not so well], I don’t think it’s fair to blame the author for basically seeking to validate her own life decisions.

Here’s a headline from just over three years ago:

It’s Getting Ugly! Wall Street Journal ‘Furious’ About NYT Poaching Arts Reporter Kate Taylor – Business Insider

It’s War! Kate Taylor Quits The Journal to Join The Times – New York Observer

In short, Kate Taylor hooked up with the Wall Street Journal for six weeks before switching over to assume the exact same position at the New York Times. Reports the Observer:

“They’re really upset,” said one Journal source. “She’s going to the competition on the exact same beat.”

“People here are fucking furious,” the source continued. “She knows all the plans.”

So it’s understandable if Kate still felt a little guilt about the whole thing. But then again, I think we all agree that WSJ –> NYT clearly qualifies as “trading up” . . . and that’s just what girls are doing these days.


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