Naked Jell-o Wrestling Bests Neon Lights Any Day

In response to The Oberlin Review, April 28, “Student Organization of the Week: Solarity.”

Matthew C

I’ve been there: I was once a freshman hailing from one of the country’s cultural meccas, tired of marathon beer pong games and pointing my hands to whichever side of the room had more windows, as the head cheerleader’s teal iPod Mini played a Lil Jon song for the third time. I came to college expecting something more — perhaps awesome parties with interactive social dynamics that would ultimately lead to the bottom line of every party: getting laid.

Yet I quickly grew tired of the lackluster social events happening every Friday and sometimes, on a lucky break, Saturday night of the semester. Second semester I filled out my transfer app to NYU; hell, if Karen O was over this shit, so was I.

But what Karen O missed with her early departure was that feeling for which Caroline Hui and the creators of Neon Garden so desperately yearn: community. Sometime after the sophomore slump — after the previous year’s sophomores have returned with new and improved Euro personalities — their once icy glares, wrought with contempt, sexual interest and Adderall-induced nonrecognition, will give way to a half smile of welcoming into the community.

You may ask yourself, haven’t these upperclassmen been throwing the tired parties of which I speak all along? The answer is yes, but the half-hearted smile of recognition is an effective free pass into the aether, that place where the Oberlin social scene begins to trump all others. It is here that you will find piles of magical candy-colored powders: emotion-stealing blue, black-out pink, and more-than-likely-baby-powder white. You can take your pick as you choose a seat in the smoky room filled with the melodies of the latest underground electronic groups and pointedly selected phat dance beats from the 90s. It’s likely that this state will persist until 5 a.m. Stick it out.

Depending on your muscle tone, the above may be repeated until that dreamy flannel-clad character finally sends you a text about the latest tarp Tuesday party, most likely naked Jell-o wrestling on the gravel-covered basement floor of some kid whose name you can’t put to a face quite yet. All of a sudden, angsty worries about the lacking nightlife of Oberlin will give way to an all out struggle to balance work and play, with the latter constantly offering new opportunities. Before long, you’ll regret the Penn State transfer app that you filled out after hearing that your friends in sororities are partying Monday through Saturday. You’ll realize that frat houses filled with Natty Lite and low-cut shirts made of some silky material that must be patented by Target are not actually what you want. You’ll realize that all of your state school friends have gained 30 pounds, while the nonstop action of your liberal arts education has shaved 15 and enabled you to give a drunk reading of your favorite Fassbinder film while relating it to the socioeconomics of 16th century France.

My point? Hold out and stop taking money from the SFC to emulate the typical college party, when those funds could be used to save Drag Ball or really any event that actually needs funding (my friends have yet to require upward of $5,000 in donations for their parties … and they still don’t institute a cover charge). Stay away from events meant for the masses of accounting majors destined for business school. Or go ahead, join them, but you’re kidding yourself if you think you’ll enjoy yourself more at a dry party hosted by the Science Center on Saturday night.