“What is done for fun can be fatal, and feel forever sad.” –A Friend’s Mother
What is Done For Fun
Hello everyone it is I, the Party Goblin. I’m the guy who most recently tricked too many people into believing that Sean Decatur was going to retire after I wrote a late April Fool’s post in which he was replaced by a raccoon. That of course was the endgame of a raccoon-led coup bent on spreading rodent rule across the campus. I didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before.
I’ve discovered through my time at The Thrill that I don’t actually need to come up with ideas. Instead I just make jokes to my Editor-in-Chief Erica Christie, and she comes back and tells me that’s what I’m doing. That’s how I ended up staying for two hours–as long as I possibly could have–at Shock Your Mom, Kenyon’s most naked and clammy party.
So Many Butts, Too Many Butts
I expected to spend several hours at Shock Your Mom, and track its beginning and end. I expected a slow and dry build-up, near nude chaos for a few hours, and the steady thinning out before the party ended. However, I did not get into the party until 11:30, and by then it was already full. And it really stayed that way until 1:30, when I left. Honestly, Shock Your Mom, especially with its move to the Old Kenyon center lounges, was just a more naked all-campus party. I was dressed how else, but in a black lace slip I found at Goodwill, fishnets, a tuxedo thong, and lipstick. Heads turned, whether people want to admit it or not.
It should be noted, as people may already know, that all Old Kenyon parties are always wet. Shock Your Mom is no exception. The floor is wet with beer, the walls are wet, the windows are steamy, dripping from condensation, and everyone is always entirely soaked from sweat. After what feels like years but what others inform me has only been ten minutes, I’m practically dripping. Nowhere is safe. Campus safety, clinging to the edges of the party like fruit flies on rotting food, assures that minors will not be served. So I’m on my own.
My friends are not here yet, and so I hang on the edge of the center lounge, where there is space to breathe. In the cluster toward the center, over the early 2000s pop, I watch a girl break away from the guy she was dancing with. She shouts, “Fuck you, you Republican!” before cackling, and falling back into his arms. Another very tall boy I know from several classes, is painted gold all over and walking around wearing sunglasses, despite the fact that it is incredibly dark in here, completely expressionless.
I think that what’s most interesting about Shock Your Mom are the costumes people choose. You’re basically telling the campus, “Dress however you like,” and so I always wonder what an outside observer might say about costume choices like “sexy prisoner” and “sexy aliens.”
Many near-naked boys have terms like “LANDFILL” and “TOXIC WASTE” painted on their chests and backs. My drunken brain goes wild with possibilities. Is this a hazing ritual? Some kind of Banksy-esque art project to raise awareness about the environment? A meta-commentary on perceptions of athletes or frat boys by most of the college?
“Because they’re trash!” says my swimmer source Gabe Bellott-McGrath. “Get it?”
How Do You Feel About This Party?
“I think it’s very well-behaved,” Gabe tells me. “I think it’s been crazier in the past, and it could be crazier now, and given how things are I think people could be acting a lot worse. I’d say this is going very well.”
“Shock Your Mom is what a party wants to be. It bares its debauchery, exposure, and sexuality right up front, and in that sense is a more honest college party than any other. But the question that really stares us in the face is, if pretty naked is good, is all naked better? Because I don’t think I want to go to an all-the-way naked party.” –Seth C-P
“It’s a scam honestly, but I would dance more. There’s all this social pressure to go, and it’s this idea that you need to come in and go the most nuts to have like the best college experience or whatever, and I don’t like that. I think it’s too much. But like, if I get to dance more, I’d like to dance more. That’s all I’m saying.” –Lizzie Boyle
“I came home because we failed to get in like eight times, and I decided, ‘Well this night’s been a bust. How can I make up for it?’ So I decided I was gonna do two baskets of laundry, and I did and it was great. A bunch of half-naked people walked by me, like I was the one who wasn’t being normal, so I just gave them a kind of half-nod, like, [proceeds to half-nod at me in a faux-casual way] ‘Hey.’ It was meme-ironic.” –Michael Lahanas
“I really like to just pee socially. I’d do it all the time last year with people. It’s a good way to I don’t know, get close with people. So. Yeah.” –Anonymous
“I’d really like to come back to your room, but I have to stay for as long as possible to write this goddamn godforsaken article for the Thrill.” –Me, to my girlfriend
After Gabe told me how he felt about this party, I decided to move to the other room in order to see how the party was panning out there. In this other room, the darker and more crowded room, I see everyone clearing out into the cold night. I go and ask another swimmer, an old hallmate, how he thinks the party is going. He leans in very close to my ear.
“Listen Chris man hey hope you’re enjoying the party listen. There’s a lot of people in here too many and we need to get people outside as soon as possible so I’m sorry but you have to go outside. And try to tell as many people as possible to get outside too. I’m sorry man if we don’t clear out campo is gonna shut down the party and then I don’t know if we can open it back up. Ever.”
“No problem man I’ll head out.”
“Thanks man,” he says as I leave. I’m pretty sure he says “love you,” as he slaps my back, but I’m not sure. Admittedly I don’t go outside, I just go into the other room.
Some of the Only Memories Still Intact
Before we are actually forced to leave the lounge, a friend of mine puts Real-D 3D glasses on my face, and now I am the one wearing sunglasses inside in the dark. I can see the appeal honestly. Another one of my friends comes in close to my ear, because everyone is a little more sensual tonight, and whispers, “OJ didn’t do it.”
“Why are you doing this?” I ask.
“For the meme! I’ve been going around to people all night saying that OJ was innocent.” So if anyone was asked this that night, if anyone can remember being asked, just don’t think about it too much. This is ultimately how I think Shock Your Mom works in general.
Another friend of mine, wearing green underwear and a black cape, informs me that she is Dark Kermit. Like the meme? It’s probably my favorite costume of the night, other than mine. Because in my black slip, my fishnets, my creepy, plastic tuxedo thong I bought on Amazon the day before, and my lipstick I look beautiful. But the cold midnight air is not kind to me, nor my Dark Kermit friend. I decide to go back inside, and leave the party as it’s shutting down. I pass a couple on the Old Kenyon stairs who compliment my lipstick shade, because as previously noted, I am beautiful.
“It’s called Nosferatu,” I tell them, and I like to think they were charmed by that fact, and not just confused and irritated by my interruption of what might have been a stairwell hookup. Why a lipstick shade is named after a ghostly black and white vampire is beyond me, as are most things.
What Did I Learn From This?
Not everyone is happy about Shock Your Mom being moved to Old Kenyon. Things are more crowded, and this leads to more campus safety shut downs for fear of fire hazards, underaged drinking, noise, etc. which breaks up the momentum of the party. And I just thought one of the officers was a kid in an elaborate costume.
When the party opens up again, it is just after 1a.m., and I am on the main dance floor in the dark with only a few of my friends. Things are starting to thin out. There are wider gaps between clusters of people, and the walls are lined with couples hooking up, shoulder to shoulder, just really going at it. That’s part of what I love about Kenyon’s NightWorld (though not that specifically). Even though the darkness doesn’t hide what’s going on, we all pretend it does, and so we’re all kind of excused. We’re allowed to be whatever selves we might end up being. Even if it’s a self distorted and pushed toward our more base urges by alcohol. In some way I think that the party, the drinks, the darkness, are all affecting our decisions yes, but also excuses to allow us to cut loose, and act weird and gross without being judged. “Oh well it was Shock Your Mom,” is a perfectly valid excuse for doing something you’d otherwise regret.
So Chris Brown’s “Yeah 3X” comes on, a song I haven’t listened to since middle school, and I’m standing shirtless in what’s not quite a crowd, with a huge rip in the fishnets over my butt, jumping and shouting with my friends, acting like morons. And yeah. Shock Your Mom is gross, sweaty, cramped, crowded, ratchet, and unpleasant. But I more agree with my friend Seth. I think we need that sometimes. It’s like singing poorly in the shower or ugly crying during a movie. Sometimes we need to not only be allowed but encouraged to be gross, to really go all out, as nasty as possible. And that’s what Shock Your Mom does. Yeah it’s gross. I think that’s fine. Here’s hope for next year.