Forgive me for beating a dead horse, but it's time we talked about college parties. (Sorry Allegra.) Now, I've been to a few parties in my day, but I want to talk a little bit more about the huge frat parties that are the norm here.
The disclaimer you should have here is that I'm awful at parties. Remember that post I wrote about parties a long time ago that I linked to up there? I'm the guy who doesn't talk to anybody or make any friends. Anyway, despite this, I love a good party just as much as anybody else. But that's kind of what I'm here to talk about.
The last party I went to was huge. The music was so loud you couldn't have a coherent conversation with anyone. The beer pong room was designed to accommodate many games in a condensed and efficient space. It was, by all college standards, a grand party.
And, for me, it was just about the least exciting thing I can imagine. It was impossible to have a conversation with anyone. If you took away the music and the mass of people, you still wouldn't be able to have a conversation with anyone; they were too drunk to say anything coherent.
Now, I'm not that naive. I know that most of the people who go to these parties only care about hooking up and the like. But man, let me tell you, it's pretty vicious. There are girl who are too drunk to be understood when talking; there are guys who walk around and try to press their lips against any girl who looks too drunk to protest.
It's all basic economics. Frats provide the beer in exchange for women; but it's not really that straight forward. There are a couple of points I want to make about the cultural impact here. Let's start by talking about a guy I know.
His parents wanted him to have everything; they send him packages of food regularly because the worry about him. He was quiet and shy. He used to make his bed every morning. He would study diligently, for hours a day. And now he ends most of his nights drinking at frat parties. This culture is hurting people. It's become a norm; it's not even thought of as irresponsible or unusual among college kids anymore. How else are you supposed to make friends? It's hard to find parties that focus on anything other than excessive drinking. It sucks people in with social pressure.
That's the kind of effect this is having. Now let's think about the cause for a moment. Again, this drink-till-you-drop culture is all focused around hooking up. This seemed really strange to me for awhile; if people want to hook up, why don't they just do it? Why is the drinking necessary? But I think I understand.
If you just have sex with guys, you're a slut. Why? I don't know, we decided that it's that way. "But," we say, "if you're drunk, you weren't in control of yourself; you weren't really responsible." It's become more than an enabler; it's become the only means of expressing sexuality without being judged, because our culture isn't cool with being open about sexuality.
And I wish I had more to go on, but that's the end of the paper trail. I don't agree with you, partiers, but I understand why you're doing what you're doing, be it because of social pressure, the lack of alternatives, or the enablement that alcohol gives you. And I guess to a degree I pity you.
p.s.: I'm not trying to imply that drinking in itself is bad; it definitely has it's place. I'm just discussing the scenarios in which it is abused or dangerous.
EDIT: I wasn't clear enough about what my point was. There's nothing wrong with drinking. There's nothing wrong with partying. The point I'm trying to make here is that drinking culture here has been taken too far; beyond the realm of fun parties or just making connections at fraternities. It's become a serious problem for some people and it's become difficult to get into the fraternity scene without involving heavy drinking. I'm stating that our culture, specifically at U of I, has a drinking problem, and it's seriously capable of hurting people and encroaching on the rich culture that we could have. While drinking at parties can be fun, it has been so overblown that people are encouraged to drink a dangerous amount.