The Stony Brook Student Union Starbucks is loud.
Dakota Jordan is louder.
She lifts her shirt to reveal a long, vertical scar that extends up her torso, evidence of a time she almost internally bled to death when she was six years old. She had decided to ride an adult bike downhill when she hit a rock, and the impact launched her stomach against the handlebars. She flipped forward and crumpled to the ground. Consequently, she lost her spleen.
“When people bleed to death in movies, it’s like a slow, gentle thing,” Jordan said. “That’s not what bleeding to death is like. You experience death on a cellular level.”
Jordan no longer rides bikes. She does, however, have a self-inflicted inverted cross on her forearm composed entirely of small, round scars caused by the tip of a lit cigarette.
“I like things that hurt, because I love the feeling of acknowledging that my body isn’t made of glass,” Jordan said. “That’s such a powerful feeling.”
She also has a penchant for lecturing, which she admits without notable reluctance.
Jordan can lecture about safely being lit on fire. She can lecture about autonomy or the unjust expectations of marriage. She can lecture about polyamory, ageplay, knife play, rape fantasies and amputation fetishes. She can lecture about commitment. Or why she has been engaged four times in her short 22 years of life.
She can talk about her strong aversion to children. About the time she made a documentary of her menstruation, just because she was asked. About the distinct differences between correlation and causation.
Regardless of the lecture content, so long as there is someone listening, Jordan will be heard.
“I talk at people,” she said matter-of-factly. “Not with people.”
Jordan’s tendency to impart her knowledge of varying subject comes, she said, from a time when she was very young.
Her family “kind of treated me like a mini-adult,” she said. “That’s probably why I’m hyper-nerdy. They would be like ‘I don’t know. Give her a book. Do something. She’s bored.’”
She also learned to be independent. Having had Jordan when they were in high school, her parents never married. She was raised in Holbrook, N.Y., where she shared a three-bedroom apartment with a constant influx of rotating family members, the constants being Jordan’s mother and grandmother, occasionally her great-grandmother, and her two aunts who, in-between jobs or relationships, would sleep beside her mother in the master bedroom.
According to Jordan, there were never any men. She would see her father a few times a month.
“All of my friends had absentee dads, divorced dads,” she said. “It just seemed very normal.”
Presently, however, Jordan maintains two relationships: one with her new husband, Michael Jordan, and the other with her long-distance boyfriend, Robert Charde, affectionately referred to as J.B., or “jail bait.”
This past September, Jordan decided to marry Michael, mainly for monetary purposes, who she has been with for several years. Jordan was the first woman Michael had ever intimately dated. When Jordan and Michael began seeing each other, however, she was already engaged to another man.
“I say I always need to have two partners because I need to be the focus of everybody’s universe,” she said, smirking. “One person could not provide the attention.”
When asked the reason why Michael was okay with her relationship continuing with Charde, Jordan responded, “We spend a lot of time together. We have a lot of sex. I guess he just doesn’t see how my relationship with somebody else takes away anything from him.”
The Stony Brook Student Union’s Fireside Lounge is loud. Jordan is still louder. Joining her are members of the club she heads, SBU’s The Next Generation (TNG), a group dedicated to promoting sexual positivity, relationship consent and providing a safe space for those who choose alternative approaches to intimacy.
For approximately the next hour, they proceed to debate about feminist theories. They discuss the benefit gender-inclusive dormitories provide for individuals’ whose gender identity differs from their biological sex. Jordan expresses her disgust for “gooey” human pornography (or all the bodily fluids that result from having raucous sex), arguing instead for Japanese anime, which spares the viewer such conspicuous details. There is a short dispute about the existence of
a sexualized Wolfie.
And then, she remembers that time with the candy cane dildo.
The graphic recount of Jordan’s escapade with the phallic holiday staple is punctuated by the presentation of a picture, pulled from the club’s Facebook page, of Jordan in the middle of a well-lit living room, sporting a clingy, black, strapless romper and knee high boots. She towers over her Jewish male “friend” who is bound to a chair with garland and Christmas lights, wearing nothing but red underwear and a Santa hat.
The photograph reads, “Happy holidays from SBU TNG.”
Formerly a double major in English and history until she decided to change to studio art, a concentration she regards as time-consuming, Jordan still manages to balance being TNG’s president and head of public relations for the university’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Alliance.
“She knows about everything,” Tristan Catalano, the treasurer of TNG, said.
Among those responsibilities, she also writes the monthly sex column for the Stony Brook Press, titled “Ask A Semi Professional Pervert,” where she encourages readers to email and tweet her any of their sexual inquiries. The cadence of her voice, sardonic, deliberate and palpable, can be heard distinctly through her written answers.
“Try not to dwell on a silly value system that makes people feel bad about humping,” Jordan responded to an 18-year-old reader, torn over how to adequately pleasure her boyfriend without losing her virginity. “Bunnies hump all the time and we still love them.”