Masquerade attendees in the galleries. (Photo courtesy of the Smart Museum of Art)

Eye to eye

UChicago students don masks and capes for a masquerade at the Smart Museum.

UChicago students love self-deprecating stereotypes, so here’s one more for the lineup: we are incapable of making eye contact. I am definitely guilty of this—it’s why I always wear big black sunglasses, to avoid awkwardly gazing into the windows of people’s souls.

That’s why I was worried about going to a student masquerade ball at the Smart Museum. Whatsoever would we do if the only part of our faces showing was our eyes? They would be highlighted and we might actually have to look into them. Impossible, right?

I decided to ask students with elaborate masks and costumes how they were managing.

First-year Daniel Dziubinski, who was wearing a very ornate and impressive mask made by “some old guy, I guess” and a Hugo Boss cape, was deeply concerned about students, because they were “still refusing to make eye contact, and that makes them fall over.” This is a real problem and should be addressed quickly by the administration.

Another group of students was wearing masks crafted by fourth-year Katie Goldberg, who is writing her BA thesis on political theater and masks. These students were also disturbed by this phenomenon, and they tried right then and there to start an uprising against it. Fourth-year David Vandendorpe and third-year Michael Carwile marched over to another group of students and stared. Just stood there and stared. So impressive. It was every UChicago student’s nightmare, and they were just ready to take down this sickness right then and there. They were unsuccessful. While the others looked in their general direction, eyes were avoided. Maybe one day, guys, maybe one day.