As a leeeeetle baby freshman, I often find myself at the quintessential dorm party, sports house, or rented-out club that seem to be the staples of the first year experience. For reference, the latter two venues both consist of FAR too many people packed into FAR too small a space (potential fire code violation???), music at decibel levels that will leave your ear drums ringing for a lot longer than the time it takes you to realize you shouldn’t have attended said event, and lights that may cause permanent vision damage. Now, if that doesn’t already sound like the perfect environment to spend your Friday night in, get ready because I haven’t even delved into three of the most ridiculous health risks these ‘nights on the town’ can entail!
1. Solo Cup Sickness.
You’d think a stressed college student running on limited sleep already has enough factors working towards them getting sick. So, you might be surprised to hear that parties are working to get you sick as well! You know those stereotypical red cups whose existence allows parties to exist? Think about them for a moment. Have you ever really watched someone take them out of the bag before you use one? Would it trouble you to realize that people just repeatedly reuse these cups with insufficient and intermittent washing? Because, that is the case. Envision the other slobbery mouths that have made contact with that cup before you use it. Not only are you hanging out with your friends, and an overwhelming majority of people you’ve never met before, but you’re also rubbing elbows with a nice cohort of germs!!! And let me tell you, they are not NEARLY as cute as they appear to be in Osmosis Jones. Mono, the flu, and the common cold tend to be a lot less cuddly than that little guy.
2. Toilet Paper Shortages.
These locations also leave a lot to be desired when it comes to, what I’d consider, fundamental personal hygiene. Toilet paper: basic right, right? No. In what I can only explain as a vicious attack against those with small bladders, enjoyers of Taco Bell, and those essential friendships you form in the bathroom at parties, there NEVER seems to be enough toilet paper. And sometimes when there somehow manages to be toilet paper, it’s not in usable condition. Tragic. An anonymous source offered a recounting of their experience with this lavatory dilemma: “I had to poop and did what I could with the situation at hand. Seeing the drenched toilet paper in the sink was tantalizing, but it dissipated in my hand. So, what could I do?” Frankly, anonymous source, there isn’t much you can do besides suffer in silence. Unless of course you decide to carry around your own roll of tp, which isn’t such a bad idea, because I know I’d choose Quilted Northern over 1 ply tp any day.
3. Sweat Smearing.
If #2 didn’t get your gag reflex going, let me tell you about one of the best party favors of all! Traditionally, sweating and being covered in sweat has been viewed as an unfavorable condition to be in, but highlighter is coming into fashion these days and everyone seems to be looking for that natural ‘glow.’ What better way to obtain that look than from the sweat of those around you as they bang into you, mosh pit style? Your own sweat might be a good option, but the sweat of others sorta seems like the Estee Lauder version of the drug store highlighter your own sweat constitutes. I mean… maybe not, but positive thinking can’t hurt!
Although these experiences are potentially dangerous and certainly unsanitary, they bring you together with the classmates who will make these next 3.5 years (apologies to my 40 year-old self) the best ones of our lives. Maybe my friendship with a new best friend will be formed as we bond over having to drip-dry or towel foreign sweat off of ourselves. Or maybe we’ll never see each other again—or better yet, we’ll walk down the Main Green and pretend we’ve never seen each other before! I can’t know for sure. But since I haven’t been able to fit a sociology class into my schedule, this will have to do for now. See Mom, I am studying on Friday nights!