“Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn’t every war fought between men, between brothers?” – Victor Hugo
Before we get this started, I’d just like to take a moment and address the midwesterners who were kind enough to write in after Part 1, asking where their consideration was. You were considered…as a part of the North, because that’s where you live. This speaks to a larger issue I have with the opinions of some Midwesterners: namely, that you are not “the best of both worlds.” To compare your manner to the South is an insult to the typical Southern gentleman — most of you can’t even be bothered to not wear sweatpants. And to downplay an association with the Northeast is like Princess Jasmine costuming as a gutter slut to escape her rich, hilarious dad who gave her a pet tiger. Don’t get cute, guys. You have no oceans, no mountains, no unique culture, history, or cuisine, and your two largest industries are government subsidized. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Midwest — the Big Ten schools are fantastic places, and figure prominently in the thought process of these articles — but a spade is a spade. Embrace who you are: a subsect of the north that’s slightly nicer, lacking an accent, and poorly dressed.
With that out of the way, let’s get on with it. Last week, the South eked out a victory on the General Attitude category of the Civil War, giving them the early 1-0 lead. This week we dive into some turbulent waters: Who are the better partiers? As always, comments are welcome so long as you agree with everything I say and you’re not from California. Let’s do this:
First, as always, a story. A few years ago, I traveled down to Tuscaloosa to attend the PSU vs. Alabama game. It being my first tailgating experience in the SEC, I was blown away. Tents everywhere, beautiful coeds in dresses, grills hot, and televisions running on generators. Sure, you can find these same things at Michigan, or Ohio State, or Penn State (minus the dresses, but stay tuned next week for more on that), but it’s to a whole other level in the SEC. I guess the best way I can put it is that the SEC is just so ORGANIZED. It’s as if every individual has a particular duty that they know deeply, inherently even — a devout commitment to gameday. The result is the most welcoming, navigable, clean, delicious, and well-stocked tailgates I’ve ever witnessed. It’s a perfect, pleasant experience.
Anyway, that day, some young alumni from Penn State threw their own tailgate (fill in a couple short details here – this was the exact tailgate I was at. I even remember the guy putting up the pathetic “P” on those columns (see above photo) like it was his 5th grade art project. It’s probably a result of the post-party ex-swagger-ation, but it DID feel as if women and children watched in horror as I tried to see if drinking at the same time as peeing would result in me peeing forever (for science). Undergrads called us classless, old-timers worried for our health, and the school paper featured a story on the next Monday accusing Penn State of being a school of disgusting animals. All of them were right, of course. We rolled in by the hundreds with Breaking Bad RVs, cases of cheap vodka, 30 racks of Keith Stone stacked to the sky, and a few bags of Cool Ranch Doritos. We went absolutely berserk and it was a complete insult to Southern culture. Nothing about it was perfect OR pleasant. But you know what? It was a blast.
See, there’s the thing. If you’re from the South, you know how steeped in tradition, religion, and family you are. Mom tousled your hair while she finished the grits and waited for your father to come home and fix an old-fashioned. But the North is this region of latchkey kids who spent their youth raiding their parents prescription and liquor cabinets because Mom and Dad were busy at depositions. So, by extension, the South runs these perfect little well-adjusted, well-dressed get-togethers while the Northern kids try harder and harder to blur the line between “fun” and “weird.” Frankly, they have no idea how to even throw a party, and the result is less classical, more jazz. There are no rules about who’s allowed to come, what to wear, how liquors need to mix together, or what music needs to play. What’s born of that is sometimes an awful flop of a kegger, sure, but occasionally it sparks into the type of pandemonium I don’t believe is possible at Southern schools. Only in the North can I say that I’ve been to parties that I was actually AFRAID of. I’ve seen men fall from balconies, women make love to each other on dance floors, and cars lit on fire. Only in the North do the parties become riots. And this was at Delaware. That’s not even Division 1, in football OR social life. I drank at these parties, partially because it was somewhat enjoyable, yes, but partially because the best way to survive a dangerous undertow is just to swim with it.
Truthfully, if you ask me which party I’d rather go to, I’ll tell you a Southern party. I would look forward to that. Beautiful women dressed nicely and bourbon neat all night, that’s a fun night for a guy who has already graduated. I know what I’m getting into. But this is college. College parties should be like a scary movie: twists, turns, and weird. One time I had a buddy who quit drinking for a month to “dry out.” When he came back to the sauce, I asked him what changed, and he said he started knowing where he was going to end up every night. He said alcohol brought an exciting uncertainty to it all, and without it, every night was fine, but no night was going to be incredible. To him, alcohol wasn’t just a vehicle to get drunk; it was the art of the possible. So I can say this: Yes, I’d rather go to a Southern party. It’s the more comfortable choice. But Northern parties showed me the art of the possible — how far life could be stretched when everyone flails to live more. Sometimes it’s a disaster, but they’ve also been the best times of my life.
Partying Ability: The North wins over The South. We’re all tied up at 1.