SELINSGROVE, PA - In accordance with the reading assigned to first-year students, Susquehanna University welcomed guest speaker Barlan Bohen to campus to discuss life, love, and everything in between. He also stated that his goal was to make students “comfortable with the uncomfortable” throughout his presentation in order to make them better students, lovers, and global citizens.
Bohen discussed how his struggles in both life and relationships made him uncomfortable, but also taught him invaluable lessons that related back to this year’s Common Reading theme of “resilience.”
He told a story about his wife and the struggles they faced early in their relationship.
“At first, she just wasn’t as into me as I was into her, so I kept pestering her and asking her out until she eventually gave in,” Bohen recounted. “And look at us now! We’ve been married for 20 years!”
Bohen also assisted some students in their own quests for romance in a series of questions that he received via text message throughout the course of the show.
One student asked, “How do I know what lengths are alright to go to in my relationship?” Bohen responded: “You have to be very delicate with your partner because consent is very complicated. Yes might not always mean yes, just like no might not always mean no.”
Some students were left baffled by the presentation.
“I honestly don’t know what to think anymore. I thought I knew how to communicate with my partner, but now it all seems a bit murkier,” said first-year student Brice Krespies.
Other students were appalled by Bohen’s “wisdom.” Junior Teighlor Luwins stated: “He just kinda creeped me out the entire time he was talking about his wife, and the whole consent thing didn’t make it any better. I wonder what that woman has been through.”
Overall, students agreed that hearing Bohen speak definitely made them more uncomfortable.
“Yeah, I’d say that I felt like this was definitely an uncomfortable and awkward time tonight,” said sophomore Evan Donaldson. “I hope it isn’t always that way here, but if it is, at least I’ll be prepared.”