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Mistakes You’ll Make At Formal

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Mistakes You'll Make At Formal

It’s formal time around this great nation, when everyone is preparing to head off to parts unknown and get so drunk they literally don’t remember what country they’re in or who they are. Hell, it’s a big accomplishment if you make it past the first night remembering your date’s name.

Everyone makes mistakes at formal. Some mistakes are big, some are small, and some result in a conversation with local law enforcement, and a bribe of considerable size to keep them and the hotel managers from reporting you to every authority within 500 miles. Here’s a few “don’ts” for formal weekend that you will unfortunately probably end up doing before graduation.

The Date Swap

Since the beginning of time, when those first two buddies living in a man cave boned the same chick a few weeks apart, there have been Eskimo brothers. Formal is the one weekend every year that your chances of becoming Eskimo brothers are higher than the International Space Station.

Don’t think you’ll be that guy? Neither did I. Then I woke up confused with one of the pledge’s dates in my bed, and my date was nowhere to be found. Admittedly, I traded up, but it was still weird. Now, I don’t suggest doing this, because the consequences can range from making things awkward to starting an internal chapter feud. But if you’re feeling like trying to turn formal weekend into Cabela’s Big Game Hunter: Other Brothers’ Dates, then it isn’t the worst mistake you’ll make at formal.

Destroying Your Room

When you put 50 to 100 rowdy gentlemen in one place, shit will be destroyed, stolen or creatively repurposed. If you think that the house, where everyone lives and actually has a vested interest in preserving, takes a beating on the weekends, you don’t want to see the result of a weekend away.

I’ve seen cabins whose insides turn into something out of Saw over the course of a weekend. The floors were so disgustingly coated in jungle juice and God-knows-what bodily fluids that I’m fairly certain no amount of scrubbing or high-powered cleaning chemicals could remove that combination of sugar, alcohol and shame.

This is to say nothing of that brother who takes his festivities a bridge too far and shits the bed. Sometimes quite literally. Can you get PTSD from a social event? My experiences indicate yes. Sweet merciful Jesus, yes. Avoid this one if you can. It will result in a stern talking-to from your house manager and loss of the security deposit.

Interacting With The Cops

This is one of the worst-case scenarios. You were drunk, so you decided to try and turn the pool into the largest vat of jungle juice the world has ever seen, but that didn’t work out so well. You don’t remember much, but pictures show you nakedly parading around the property like Frank the Tank going streaking on the quad. You eventually make it back inside, only to attempt to get a new key from the cute girl working the desk. She calls the police, because your penis is not, in fact, a valid form of identification.

From here, it’s probably going to be a long night of sobriety tests, handcuffs, sitting in the local police station with whatever townies happened to fuck up that night, and your pledge brothers bailing you out. Don’t call your parents, though. Explaining the horrible, fucked-up things you’ve done will only make them weep. Save this story for far into the future, when they no longer hear too well, and time has softened the blow of knowing their son could give the physical embodiments of the Seven Deadly Sins a run for their money.

Taking The Back-Bench Date

Somehow, at the last minute, you find yourself dateless. This sucks. Big time. The problem is, for formal, most of the girls are locked down already. If you have to pull from the back bench, be careful. The bottom of the proverbial pile usually consists of the less attractive girls, girls with serious psychological issues, or GDIs that you might actually have some interest in. The latter is actually the most dangerous from what I’ve seen. Geeds at a Greek function are wild cards. You never really know what will go down. Sometimes they don’t approve of you killing a whole bag of wine on a bet. Who knew?

If you go with a backup date, don’t expect a cooler, because the time table is often far too short. Your best bet is to take the one that seems the most emotionally stable and is hopefully, somehow, in a sorority.


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Scientist, internet comedian, future supervillain. I still refuse to believe I've graduated college.

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