TEXT BY SOPHIA JENNINGS ('16), CREATIVE DIRECTOR (ABROAD).
IMAGES BY BEN HICKS ('18), STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER.
There’s a house on Fountain where a bunch of scrawny white boys live. Actually there are a couple. But there’s one house where a bunch of scrawny white boys live who’ve known each other for awhile. And those boys are Reid Hildebrand, Peter Helman, Dylan Nelson and Elijah Stevens.
“We’re a real success story of prefrosh who met and really loved each other” explains Reid.
Each of the four boys could easily be described as tall and lanky. But that’d be followed by something else. For Dylan, it’d be how he looks like he’s time travelling from the ‘70s. For Reid, it’d be how he fast-walks like he’s on fire. For Elijah it’d be how he really, is, always in Olin. For Peter it’d be his combination of patterned collared shirts and nifty socks. Topped off with a messenger bag.
Anyway.. To understand this somewhat unorthodox group of friends, I walked over on a Tuesday night with photographer Ben Hicks (’18) in tow. I admit, I was a little cautious about what the four boys might do to a freshman varsity athlete and “Lifestyle Photographer.” This only grew when I heard “I Get By with a Little Help of my Friends” blasting from Dylan’s bedroom. There was a moment of pause before the front door swung open and all four boys stood in the doorway, peering out before they began shuffling upstairs to Reid’s room. They claimed it was the cleanest. They also were not surprised to see a stuffed coyote in it.
I don’t know if Ben Hicks will ever work with Method again.
We then headed to the kitchen so that Reid and Dylan could pour shots of jagermeister, and Elijah could make the first (of many) claims that he needed to go back to Olin. To which the other boys rolled their eyes.
There, over the course of an hour, they told a story that proves that sometimes prefosh friendships can really come true. Four years ago, these high school senior boys were scattered across the country with only one thing in common: they were bored. And they had laptops.
First there was Reid, hailing from a town he describes as “nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia,” which Dylan describes as “nestled in the fucking suburbs.”
Here is Reid at 18:
Then, there was Peter, a former tracklete from Maryland, who by senior year had quit the track team and given up on prom.
Here’s Peter at 18:
Around December, Reid and Peter were both accepted ED to Wesleyan. So, of course, they joined the WesAdmits group on FaceBook.
There they started to talk.
“I didn’t have that much in common with my friends anymore,” explains Peter. “I was looking for people with things in common.”
Then, there was Dylan. In March, Dylan received his acceptance letter. Living on San Juan Island off of Washington state, Dylan graduated in a class of 9 students.
Here’s what Dylan looked like then:
Lastly there was Elijah, a high school senior in Amherst, Massachusetts, who claims he wasn’t bored but was “thoroughly involved” with “student-run productions” and his “outdoor pursuits.” “I was social,” Elijah insists. “I was not really an “internet kid.”
Here’s what the passionate, academic, engaged senior Elijah looked like:
When the WesAdmits group grew too big to chat, the more active students started an exclusive group called “Can’t Stop Us” to keep talking. Eventually Dylan found the group. Then Elijah.
So maybe I should rephrase my earlier quote. When Reid said, “We are a real success story of prefosh who met and really loved each other.” He forgot to add, “On the internet.”
Yes, that house on Fountain of tall, lanky white boys all met online.
It wasn’t just the four of them though. There were others too, lost along the way.
“You know, casualties” explains Dylan.
Upon trying to remember one of the girls “with a cupcake for her icon,” Dylan turns to Reid, claiming that Reid used to high five her in Usdan.
Regardless, the four boys were the most active chatters. Eventually the group even moved over to Skype.
“None of us knew what [Peter’s] voice sounded like,” explains Reid. ““So we had this list of words that we wanted him to say. LIke flip flop. And lasagna.”
And so they talked. A lot. What about?
“Pretty much everything,” explains Elijah. “There was a lot of music talk.”
“It was sorta just like hanging out,” Peter says. “Cause I was bored as fuck.”
“So bored.” says Reid.
Elijah claims he was out of the picture.
“Cause he had fun in high school,” taunts Peter.
“Special fucking snowflake,” says Dylan.
When WesFest came around, Peter and Reid were quick to connect. “I remember when I met Peter for the first time,” reminisces Reid. “I thought he was so cool and collected over the internet that I was delighted to see he had real emotions.”
Yes Reid, Peter even had real emotions.
“Like he would laugh at jokes in person. Online like he’d never say, ‘haha.” He explains. “I’d say a joke and think it was funny and he’d come back with something witty.”
The boys even decided to room together in the Nics. Well Elijah didn’t. But the rest did. The first time Reid walked into Dylan and Peter’s room, he was so excited he yelled, “Hello Dylan!” to the back of Mrs. Helman.
This began the eternal debate of Dylan Nelson or anonymous blonde woman.
Now, four years later the boys are obviously still friends. And they have traditions. They’ve got Dylan’s party playlist, then his party playlist redux, then his party playlist redux redux. They sing together. Mainly Jimmy Eat World and Fleetwood Mac's “Go Your Own Way”.
And they’ve gone through phases. There was a “Thin White Dude” phase where they only ate guacamole and drank Ganset. And then for awhile they'dd brush their teeth on their roof in their underwear. That stopped when it got cold.
To be honest, they’ve grown up since their days trolling WesAdmits. Peter is no longer just trolling the internet, he writes for it. Dylan has more friends his age. Reid isn’t animating from his bedroom, he’s making a 16mm thesis. None of his housemates were allowed on set. Except for Elijah. He was a producer. And always on time.
So I guess Reid was right. That house on Fountain is proof that prefosh might meet and really like eachother. Even four years/ 17 rooms/five girlfriends/two theses and an unfortunate hole in Dylan’s wall, later.