Monday, August 2nd, 2010
Some colleges have frat parties. Some have entire cities to use as their drinking playground. Vassar College has one bar/club on campus and it is in a dorm. For four years, I thought it was cooler than Studio 54 ever was. And well, I might still.
Here is the thing about Matthew’s Mug, our one and only campus hangout, as it was the only place to go, everyone hung out there. Have a crush on that tall guy in chem lab? You’ll see him at the Mug Friday night. There is no searching for your crush at Vassar College. He will be at the Mug, he will be drinking, and you might just have a chance.
For those co-eds who all but slept in the Mug, you were given the title of “Mug Rat,” and I wore my label with pride. I would even go on Monday nights to drink beer and play Trivial Pursuit.
Besides a place to pick up your main squeeze, the Mug was great because everyone danced their butts off. Alvin Ailey or not you went hog wild on the floor because everyone else was. As a rather mediocre dancer, I always tried to make my way to the middle as one of my greatest fears was being stuck on the outside and having the whole school watch me shake my butt off tempo. It happened a few times and I think I’m still scarred from the experience.
But it was all worth it. The Mug was like St. Tropez meets New York State and we treated it like we were in a rap video. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
While this picture may not scream "hot nightclub!" to you, this is where the Mug dwells, in the deep dark basement of Main Building.
Friday, May 21st, 2010
It’s that time at Washington Life where we bid adieu to our spring interns and bonjour to our summer ones. We had an amazing group of girls this time – Dina, Carley, Ali, and Ansley – and I am just not sure if I am mentally tough enough to transition to new girls for summer. Dina’s last day was today and she so sweetly wrote Kelly and I these beautiful cards and gave us bags full of presents from CUSP. Of course, we should be the ones showering her with gifts. As a grad student at Georgetown, her writing was at the next level and Kel and I loved having her pretty much just write our pieces for us as we dealt with crying socialites.
Dina and all the other great interns who have come through our doors at WL are so utterly responsible it almost intimidates me. I remember sitting at Vassar graduation hungover as all hell after three hours sleep thinking “oh no…was I supposed to apply for a job?” It took me a few years after I had my diploma in hand to finally get one. But my interns all take classes, intern three days a week, write for their school papers, run their sororities, blog, vlog, and still manage to be incredibly fun and motivated. They’re amazing. Some have gotten jobs already and others are still looking and it seems no one is going the Karin Tanabe route where they fly to a foreign country and ignore reality for several years to be a hobo.
So to all the interns I have been lucky enough to work with who graduated this week – Megan, Georgia, Ali, Allison, Kara, Ansley, and Dina – congratulations! The world awaits and it will be a much more fabulous place with you all in it.
Carley on the left and Dina on the right holding down the fort at a recent fashion shoot. We had such a great group this semester - I'm so sad to see them go!
Sunday, February 28th, 2010
I remember the first time I heard the Writer’s Almanac on NPR. It was my freshman year at Vassar and one of those great snowy days. My roommate Abbie had this candle that smelled like Christmas trees that we burned every second of the day starting December 1st and I was huffing it while listening to the radio. Abbie had 5 am Spanish class for crazies and I was taking my time before my lazy people classes. Then, all of a sudden, a wonderful soothing voice came on the radio and recited a poem by someone dead and spectacular and then proceeded to tell me all the important literary events that happened on that day, some day in December 1998.
Since then I’ve been hooked. In college I was always able to catch Keillor on the radio, but since then it’s been the internet that brings me my daily poetry dose. Of course now I have an iphone and the first thing I do when I wake up after cursing my alarm clock, is listen to the Writer’s Almanac on speakerphone. It’s like Garrison Keillor is in my room, swaying on my rocking chair and telling me that it’s Emily Dickinson’s birthday. It’s a perfect way to start the day.
When I lived in Tokyo, my friend who was a trader at Merrill Lynch used to send the text version to the entire trading floor after I got him hooked on it too. That is probably my biggest accomplishment in life – getting bankers to peer at poetry in the early morning.
Keillor is from Minnesota, which seems to be the hotbed for American literary talent. Hello, F. Scott. And as I am now an expert about those from the Midwest, as I am dating a Nebraskan, I can say that what I love about Keillor’s voice is that slow Midwestern drawl. Not an accent, but that, “I’m not in a hurry so let’s just sit here and recite poetry” voice of his.
My very first professional aspiration was to be a poet. I used to sit on a pile of tires in our garage and write horrific poetry about nothing. Then in high school I used to experiment to see if I was a better poet after smoking pot or after getting really drunk. Neither. Luckily for America, I no longer wish to be a poet. Just a writer of longer sentences. But I still love poetry and I love Garrison Keillor for bringing it to me every morning with his wonderful vocal chords.
I love this pic of Garrison Keillor because it makes him look like exactly what he is - an American treasure!
Thursday, February 25th, 2010
This week is deadline week at the magazine, which means I have to be at work far too long for my own good. I just hate hate hate the last week of the month. But when I come home battered and bruised from writing about $1000 moisturizer, I put on my tattered Vassar College hoodie and it’s like I’m back in the womb. I have had the old gross gray sweatshirt since the year we all feared Y2K and have probably worn it more than any other item of clothing in the last 10 years. It’s seen me through breakups, hangovers, illness, major sporting events, and I even had sex on a Japanese beach wearing nothing but the prize piece of clothing and a grin.
While this beloved sweatshirt is my favorite possession from the Vassar College store, it is only one of about 100 other items that I own with my alma mater’s logo printed on it. I have even bought some historic sheet music since I graduated to brush up on our school song.
While still a wide-eyed co-ed, my friend Mary-Alice and I so adored the school store that we implemented a program called “Friday present day, hurrah!” where we bought each other gifts on our parents’ dime. It was the most wonderful plan ever invented by two 21 year olds. We never went overboard and bought each other the much coveted $450 rocking chair complete with school seal, but we did present one another with an overwhelming amount of artery-clogging snacks, made to measure tee-shirts, and copies of poorly rated romantic comedies.
I miss being able to charge things like gummy worms to my parents. I miss having retail therapy available to me every time I bombed a quiz. But luckily, in this world of internet wizardry, there is an online store! I think I’ll just slap on that gray hoodie right now and make some much needed purchases.
I don't own this loveable giraffe (yet), but if it had been sold between 1998 and 2002, I sure would!
Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010
Yet again I am writing my post while watching an ice skating event. This time it’s the wonderfully schmaltzy ice dancing final. Too much makeup, ridiculous outfits, facial glitter, and polka moves on skates. It’s the kind of thing I would love to watch with one of my best friends from college, Christian Gabriel.
I don’t know what it is about Christian, his lust for life or fabulous imagination, but he really inspires the silly in me. During the fall of 2001 we spent weeks perfecting a move called “Octopus Boy” where we taped ourselves together and wiggled our arms and legs in sea creature-inspired motions. Yes Mom and Dad, that’s what I was doing with your $150K tuition!
Living one room apart, we committed ourselves to the art of improvisational dance to the vocal stylings of Lenny Kravitz and then pounded caffeine to finish our work between the hours of 3 and 6 am. And when we weren’t in and out of Moulin Rouge-worthy ensembles we were busy working on our short film, “Hello Ridiculous.” That’s right. While others readied themselves to be Rhodes scholars or applied to grad school, I spent my days with Christian and our friend Mary-Alice making a film about being absurd. My favorite scene is when we are all drunkenly dancing on a roof in various states of undress lucky not to fall six stories off a historic building. Ahhh, common sense.
While I love living in Washington and all the buttoned-up intellectuals it’s exploding with, sometimes I really miss the nonconformists I cocooned with in college. Why shouldn’t we tightrope walk in Vivienne Westwood getups between classes? Or eat cigarettes for breakfast? Where are the people like that in Washington? Well, they are either ice skating in Vancouver (love you Johnny Weir!) or they’re in New York. Luckily, I still have wonderful friends like Christian who are just a train ride away.
Fall 2001, Christian and I are dressed and ready to stay in and watch TV! That's right! We put on black tie to study for finals too.
Tuesday, January 12th, 2010
I remember the first time I watched Greek. It was with the eyes of a hungover skeptic. The show really appealed to me because I was able to say the title without getting dizzy and ill. So I ignored the fact that it was playing on ABC Family and started to watch. Five minutes later and I knew this one was made for me. High maintenance women, binge drinking, elitist clubs, gossip, slutty frat boys with hearts of gold, and oh so much more. All of a sudden I was living the Greek life I was cheated of!
Vassar College, while a really lovely institution which I adored, is sadly devoid of frats and sororities. While I absolutely didn’t care about this at all when I was in school, watching Greek made me realize how much I missed out. I too could have worn a pink sweatshirt with cryptic letters that allowed me to haze my peers and sleep with frat boys. I could have hated girls for no reason except that they were in a less fabulous sorority and had a whole house of hot men drunk and ready to play bedroom explorer.
Maybe it was the fact that I glued my eyes open when Greek was on or took the “which Greek character are you?” quiz every other day (I’m Evan Chambers of course), but Craig started to take pity on me. Never mind that I have him completely hooked to the show targeted at high schoolers too. So for Christmas this year he had the genius idea of buying me Zeta Beta Zeta gear as stocking stuffers so that I could feel like one of the greatest girls at Cyprus Rhodes University!
Casey and Ashley in ZBZ pink!
Here I am in my amazing Zeta Beta Zeta gear!! Why didn't Vassar have sororities! Curse these eenie weenie liberal arts colleges!