|by Jim Amidon • October 17, 2005|
Details magazine editor-at-large Jeff Gordinier had a wild idea last summer. He thought it would be a gas to spend a week at Wabash College and tell his readers, men ages 20 to 40, what it’s like to attend a college for men.
His discoveries — and his story — are featured in a six-page spread in the November issue of Details, now on sale in bookstores and news stands across the country.
The piece, which begins on page 198 and appears in approximately 600,000 magazines, was developed by Gordinier after he visited campus September 16-21.
Editors of the New York-based magazine pitch the story with a bit of a sense of humor: "At one of America’s last all-male colleges, taking out the female factor has preserved political incorrectness and turned linebackers into poetry buffs."
Gordinier’s observations will be the stuff of much discussion on and off the Wabash campus for weeks to come:
"Do men learn, develop, and behave differently when they go to college in the company of only men? It’s a touchy question, one that can rapidly suck your wading boots into the quicksand of gender-war dogma from both the left and the right, but Wabash College is one of the best places in America to explore it," he writes.
During his five-day stay, Gordiner attended a football game, fraternity party, and eight classes. He also interviewed students, alumni, faculty, and staff for the story. He continues: "Wabash College doesn’t merely happen to be an all-male college; it’s a place where nearly every encounter and activity turns into an opportunity for the contemplation of maleness."
Featured in the story are discussions Gordinier had with President Andy Ford, religion professor Stephen Webb, classics professor David Kubiak, English professor Joy Castro, admissions counselor Damon Howell, senior Russ Harbaugh, and junior Dunmomi Owolabi.
Gordinier found life at Wabash to be quite different from what he’s read recently about college men: "The average American 21st-century Joe College, we are told in countless op-ed lamentations, is a spoiled, entitled, intellectually lazy, ego-stroked, MTV-distracted layabout who wants to file a lawsuit every time a professor is ‘mean’ to him. I did not meet that student at Wabash College. Wabash gentlemen seem not only to sustain direct criticism from their professors, but to welcome it."