On one of our first dates together, my girlfriend wore a pair of Ugg boots. I remember being totally baffled by them and laughingly making some crack about how they look like barbarian boots.  I learned two things that day: Evaluating how similar a piece of apparel is to a Conan-the-Destroyer set piece is not a normal thing to do, and that laughing at your girl’s boots is technically rude behavior. (Who knew?!?)

Readers who have been with us for a while probably won’t be that surprised to find out that I wasn’t a huge partier in college. I’ve never drank, am fairly shy and  have somehow always to more or less have a girlfriend, so frat/generic college debauchery-style parties never held much appeal to me. My college was a pretty big party school though, so plenty of my classmates enjoyed these tube-top fueled Dionysian rituals, such as they were.

Because my world was so far removed that part of college though, and my ability to understand it an even farther distance*,  I had a difficult time imagining sometimes what all my peers did with their free time. Sure, there were the dregs and party pigs that I could assume were tonguing empty beast cans while lying drunk and largely immobile at the bottom of a piss-varnished stairwell, but cool people I actually liked were going out on the weekend too, and they were much to hip to trifle with pee staircases. So what the hell did they do with their spare time?

Was there some kind of Party Valhalla, full of girls dancing with each other, fun rap music and drinking games that wouldn’t immediately annoy me? I am sad to report that I never found out. The few frat** parties I did go to were just kind of boring and sad, loaded up on chubby guys with bad hair bunglingly flirting with too-nice girls who were probably sociology majors. With fake smiles and wide, scared eyes, these girls would sometimes end up talking to me, not because they were interested in me even remotely, but because they would turn to anyone who could spare them from a 45-minute conversation about Weezer or something “hilarious” Joey-Mavs did at ultimate frisbee practice last week.

So, no Party Valhalla for me, though the dream lives on in Dana’s wonderful artwork. Should any of you find or experience such a place, please let me know. My curiosity about the actions of party gods and demi-gods is a hungry thing.

<3 Mike


*In college, unless you wanted to talk to me about gearing a sorc for Hell Mephisto MF-runs or how to finish an assigned reading of The Book of the Courtier without killing yourself, basic conversation was going to be a hard bridge to build. This is not much different than today, where all I can really add is how fun Nintendo DS and how I’m probably the only marketing writer on the planet with such a sloppy mullet.

** For those of you still in high school and not super-familiar with frat sub-genres, it’s important to note that the majority of frat parties I went to were at nerdy-nerd-nerd frats. Not nerdy in an awesome way, like in Revenge of the Nerds, because that probably would have actually been fun. The frats were more like a collection of weird momma’s boys, too good at homework to hang with punk kids in high school and too sensitive to play contact sports or even do push-ups. These collections of momma’s dudes would kind of band together for four years, puff out their chests and throw the most boring parties until they became socially functional people. A noble effort I suppose, but for me witnessing the process was always kind of like watching a kid’s pants fall down while he’s slow-dancing at prom. Theoretically funny, but in practice the emphatic awkwardness is way too tangible.