A field guide to dorm posters

What’s on your wall can make or break you
By RYAN STEWART  |  September 6, 2006

So you’ve moved your stuff in, met your floormates, and already calculated how best to sneak in liquor. The only thing left to do? Decorate your room. Dorm posters (and to be honest, they ain’t just for dorms. It’s not as if once you move off-campus you’re going to start buying original Rembrandts.) are a tradition as old as rules against using masking tape on dorm walls. Some poster motifs come and go, but others are timeless classics, adorning students’ rooms generation after generation. But choose wisely: your prospective new friends — not to mention your prospective hook-ups — are looking at those posters with a critical eye. Like it or not, dorm posters make statements — about you. Here’s to more-graphic first impressions.

060901_poster1JIM MORRISON, KURT COBAIN, OR TUPAC
What you think it says about you: Live fast. Die young.
What it really says about you: At around 10 pm each weeknight, you will have to listen to me butcher “All Apologies” as you try to study for your psych exam.
060901_poster2JOHN BELUSHI IN THE 'COLLEGE' SWEATSHIRT
What you think it says about you: I’m not going to take this whole college thing too seriously. I’m up for a party.
What it really says about you: Once I’ve had that third beer, there’s going to be trouble. You should probably bring a bucket and a change of clothes.
060901_poster3SALVADOR DALI’S THE PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY, M.C. ESCHER’S HAND WITH GLOBE
What you think it says about you: I am an independent thinker with a warped sense of aesthetics.
What it really says about you: Please think my sense of aesthetics is warped. I don’t really care about art, but I really want people to think I’m a little off-center.
060901_poster4CHE GUEVERA
What you think it says about you: Bomb the system! Smash the state! Bring down the government! I’m a revolutionary!
What it really says about you: I have no idea who this man was or what he accomplished in his life, but I heard that (member of rap-group X or punk-band Y) considers him a “personal hero.”
060901_poster5JOHNNY CASH FLIPPING OFF THE CAMERA
What you think it says about you: I am just as angry at the world as Johnny Cash was when he took this badass photo.
What it really says about you: Although I professed not to enjoy Johnny Cash — or any country music — when I arrived at college, many of my newfound friends seem to think it is acceptable, even commendable, to listen to him.
060901_poster6THE CREW FROM RESERVOIR DOGS, TRAVIS BICKLE FROM TAXI DRIVER, JACK TORRENCE FROM THE SHINING
What you think it says about you: I’m edgy and a bit unstable, but I’m into the classics.
What it really says about you: I am striving to prove to my film-major friends that my favorite movie is not Joe vs. the Volcano. I will also start dropping movie references from the moment we start talking in the dining hall — “Mmm, that’s a tasty burger.”
060901_poster7BOB MARLEY (BLACKLIGHT), PINK FLOYD'SDARK SIDE
What you think it says about you: Your refrain throughout the year will be, “You got any?”
What it really says about you: Your refrain throughout the year will be, “You got any?”
060901_poster8SIMPSONS CHARACTERS
What you think it says about you: I’m a pop-culture maven who knows the difference between Apu Nahasapeemapetilon and Ari Gold.
What it really says about you: I will quote The Simpsons until you want to punch me in the face. I put up the poster ’cause I left all my action figures at home, thinking they would be way too geeky. Well, I brought a couple. Want to see them?!
060901_posters9BRAZIL, THE VELVET UNDERGROUND AND NICO
What you think it says about you: I am an old soul whose tastes are hipper than yours. I’d be happy to introduce you to a whole new bunch of movies and music.
What it really says about you: Not only am I trying too hard to impress you with my hipness, I will likely grow up one day to work for my hometown’s alt-weekly.
060901_poster10LIMITED EDITION ART/CONCERT POSTERS
What you think it says about you: I am passionate about music, and passionate about cool artwork.
What it really says about you: I have a lot of money to blow on posters, so when it comes time to do sushi, hit me up.

Ryan Stewart can be reached near his Warped Tour ’02 poster at rstewart@phx.com.

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  Topics: Lifestyle Features , Johnny Cash, Bob Marley, John Belushi,  More more >
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