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Yale parties: you can't handle the truth

Why is it that at parties, which are supposed to be the absolute essence of fun, people become pukaliciously drunk—whereas at the library, which actually is the absolute essence of boring, people tend to stay all-too-peptically sober? Now, I may not be the pope of partytown, but it seems to me that life would be a whole lot less bad if people would vomit their way through the work-week and stay as sober as a pregnant Mormon to take in every second of the precious, precious Sabbath.
Canda sucks. So does this party.

I've asked some of my friends about this, and they basically say that it's inconvenient to puke in the library because they make you clean it up, whereas your friendly custodial servants will happily scrub chunks of former dining hall slop off the driveway of Vanderbilt Hall. This answer, I said, is a little unsatisfying, because the library enforcers would probably care a little less about puke all over the stacks if they too were shitfaced. So someone who had studied a bit of biology suggested that alcohol enhances your faculty for partying (located in the pineal gland), whereas it reduces your faculty for studying (located in the spleen). This makes a certain intuitive sense, assuming you want to study efficiently. Nevertheless, it fails to answer the more important question, which is, if alcohol is so goddamn good, and it is so goddamn important to Yale parties, why are most Yale parties so goddamn bad?

Listed below are a few of the exceptions to the suckacopia available on your average Saturday night.

1. Every year the Bharatiya Janata Party at Yale (also called the BJP-Y) hosts "Hindoorama," a soiree in which guests dress like avatars of Vishnu and their wives. Last year, I painted myself (Yale) blue and went as Ram, hero of the Ramayana. My girlfriend dressed as Sita, his vixen wife. They played bhangra music on the stereo and showed clips from the hot new Indian film, Dil Hai Hindustani, from which—you guessed it—comes the hot new Hindi single Dil Hai Hindustani. Also, they have all the Saag Paneer you can eat and all the Kingfisher you can drink. This one is not to be missed—especially if you're a Hindu nationalist.

2. Zeta Psi hosts the annual "Purple Cow." At this orgiastic showdown, a bunch of athletes drink until their clothes melt off and they have really bad sex with people they've never met before. (A point of Yale etiquette: it is normally considered impolite to vomit on your partner during intercourse. Your best bet is to place a trash can near the couch, or, as a certain back-up point guard finagled one year ago, to commence congress on the floor of the bathroom next to the toilet.) Rumor has it that the name "Purple Cow" comes from one of these very sexual congresswomen, who was said to look not so different from a purple cow. I guess that was why everyone in Zeta Psi wanted to nail her so much.

3. Delta Kappa Epsilon—the international brotherhood of football linemen—hosts a number of very respectable parties throughout the school year. The basic plan is to paint your face (Yale) blue, dress up as an avatar of George "W" Bush, drink as much as you can, and see where your bodily fluids end up. At one mixer, a mysteriously attractive blonde aimed a pair of bedroom eyes at my roommate Peter for about 10 minutes. Peter then made a very innocent—and classic—mistake: he spoke to her. "Do I know you?" he said. She wordlessly disintegrated into the miasma of smoke and beer. What he should have done in this scenario: have a beer.

4. Sigma Chi apparently has really nerdy parties (though I can't say I've been to one). A friend of mine said she went to one her freshman year. "The punch tasted like Kool-Aid and I don't think it had any real alcohol in it," she told me. "I guess they were counting on all the freshmen girls just to act drunk anyway. We danced to '70s disco and there were like 12 people. I got turned off to all frat parties after that." My friends, she was not aware of important tip #1: all frat parties are not the same. They just seem that way.

5. There are a bunch of institutionalized "Yale" parties throughout the year. These are usually fun for people whose best friend is their College Master and who enjoy intramurals without being very good at them. There's "Davenfunk," where people listen to funk music in the Davenport Dining Hall (I suppose to induce vomiting without having to drink too much). I wasn't there, but this year, the police apparently showed up. So maybe it's improved. There's also the "Pierson Inferno" which is a little dull, but people sometimes dress up because it's near Halloween. The best thing is, you can sneak in through the Pierson basement so you don't have to pay. JE has the "Spider Ball," which is formal and swingeriffic. It's not really that fun, but at least it's expensive. Stiles and Morse host "Casino Night," which was rated one of the best college parties in America by Playboy. In my experience, it's much more fun to spend that night reading Playboy. But maybe it's worth going once. Silliman brings us the "Safety Dance," which is about how great the '80s were. You weren't even walking then, so don't pretend to feel nostalgic. The best of these parties is probably TD's "Exotic Erotic," where the less you wear, the less you pay. The only problem is that a lot of Yale students don't look so good without clothes on. The main thing is to remember important tip #2: all college parties are the same. They just appear to be different.

6. The Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender (LGBT) Co-op throws some of the best on-campus parties. They're the only ones that are any fun even when you're not drunk. This is because they present opportunities for the repressed majority of Yale students to explore their sexuality and to meet those lucky few who already have. It's amazing how much better you can dance when you're not worried about acting straight.

7. The Afro-American Cultural Center is the loudest place to party—and its semi-off-campus location on Park St. gives it an air of freedom. For whatever reason, they seem to play better music than the likes of the "Pierson Inferno."

8. Secret Societies host the weirdest parties you won't be invited to. Don't fret, though—you're not missing much. Manuscript tosses a Halloween hoedown whose only purpose (as far as I can tell) is to exclude the not-so-cool and, because guests are required to bring alcohol, to add to the Manuscript liquor coffers. Aurelian—which meets in a campus office building!—has a really boring party in the middle of the year whose underlying pre-mise assumes that people simply cannot have a bad time when a keg is near. (Actually, important tip #3: it is possible to have a bad time when a keg is near.) In case you were wondering, Skull and Bones doesn't ever let the outside world in, which is just fine, because alcohol is not allowed in the tomb.

9. The best regular off-campus gig is called B & K (which stands for Burger and King). Freshmen almost never get invited—unless they happen to be very good-looking or ambitious. There are two reasons these parties are good: one is that almost everyone is an upperclassman, and the other is that the drinking takes a back seat to the smoking of marijuana. Most Yale students don't like to ruin their chances of becoming the Nassau County First Selectman by smoking a joint. This is just pathetic. Note important tip #4: you should smoke weed from time to time.

That just about does it. In case you haven't guessed, Yale kids aren't very good at having fun. The main secret to success in this arena is to keep as many chemicals coming in and out of your body as possible.

Graphic by Sara Edward-Corbett.

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