Last year, the Office of Residential Life initiated the Copenhagen (Danish: København), a new housing program for sophomores. Pioneered, perhaps, by Hans Christian Andersen and several Nordic merchants’ guilds in the Danish capital’s trendy Gråbrødretorv neighborhood, the Copenhagen living arrangement consists of four single rooms and a double room, each situated at the end of a hallway in one of the Butterfield Colleges (Butts).
There are six Copenhagens in total, but two have gained special notoriety. At 1:13 a.m. on Monday morning, I set out to discover the locations of these two domiciles, with aspirations toward placing them in comparative perspective and thereby producing a cultural study of special magnificence.
If you are not accustomed to the grungy, dim, riot-proof, labyrinthine design of the Butts, you may as well turn back and head somewhere friendlier, like Russell House. To find a Copenhagen takes true commitment.
To begin my inquiries, I crossed into Butt A through a central entrance and headed right. Upon reaching a dead end, I knocked upon the nearest door with light behind its peephole. I spake thusly: “Is this a Copenhagen?”
By chance or fate, I had happened upon the object of my investigations. Here lived David Nam ’13, Carter Peterson ’13, Grant Nikols ’13, David Hinds ’13, and Trevor Michelson ’13. A former sixth resident had chosen to move out. I assembled the five in Nam’s room, which was decorated with a single poster of ’80s pop star Samantha Fox, frozen in a permanent grimace, equal parts beguiling, seductive, and hideous. Nam had moved his desk into the center of his room to create a desk island. Clothes did not seem as though they were a major part of this Copenhagen’s dress code.
All five residents identified as “bros” and referred to their room cluster as the “Bropenhagen.”
As self-styled embodiments of the bro identity, the Bropenhagen residents are committed to a certain way of living. Nikols defined the word bro as “this guy,” pointing to himself.
Michelson preferred a different definition: “Less than a god, but more than a man.”
Peterson, Michelson, Nikols, and Hinds met last year on the crew team. Peterson, Michelson, and Nam were freshman hall mates. They decided to live together sophomore year because a Copenhagen seemed like the best option.
“We live together in a brotherhood and walk around naked freely,” said Nam. He was joking, but he was also serious.
“We have competitions called ‘naked fights,’” Nikols said. “You got to make sure you’re wearing equal clothing, otherwise its unfair. You say, ‘Attention, row,’ and then you get naked as fast as you can.”
Peterson confirmed: “Trevor and Grant like to get naked.”
The Bropenhagen residents usually start weekend nights in their large room, but end up heading separate ways.
“We’re just a bunch of bros,” said Peterson.
What more is there to say?
Across the Butts courtyard, another Copenhagen has christened itself “Dopenhagen.” After concluding my encounter with the bros, I continued on to my second investigation.
The Dopenhagen is inhabited by Shelley Miller ’13, Zach Goldberg ’13, Zach Schonfeld ’13, Scottie Farmer ’13, and Ryan Sheldon ’13. A sixth resident, Peter Myers ’13, was AWOL in Madrid.
Assembled in their large double, “the Pentagon,” which appeared gratuitously full and suspiciously empty simultaneously, the Dopenhagen residents were quick to define their identity.
“We’re doper than the other Copenhagens,” Miller said.
Another bonding factor: all but one was rejected or waitlisted from WestCo.
“Just listen to the first few lines of ‘Fo Yo Sorrows,’” Sheldon said.
The Dopenhagen’s members met while living on Clark’s Writing Hall, and decided to stay together.
“We do fun things together,” Sheldon said. “We do hoodrat things.”
“We are five-twelfths Jewish,” Goldberg added.
The Dopenhagen purposefully puts forth an image of fun and mystery.
“I once overheard a freshman talking about the Dopenhagen,” Schonfeld said. “She said, ‘One time my roommate went there, and when she got back, her eyes couldn’t focus straight!’”
The Dopenhagen generally approved of the Bropenhagen.
“They know what’s going on if they’re in a Copenhagen and they named it something cool,” Goldberg said.
The Bropenhagen agreed.
“We should have a mixer,” Nikols said.