Tyler Golson ’04 and Nicole Gabona ’01 are hot from the workout.
Sweeping her arms in figure eights around Golson’s head, Gabona smiles and swings her hips to the interconnected techno beats pounding from the stereo and resounding in her head.
It was a Thursday afternoon, and the pair was “glow sticking” in Golson’s lighted common room. So in effect, they were glow sticking, or dancing while using glow sticks, without the glow.
The six-inch-long, fluorescent sticks, which have lit up rave dance floors for years, have just begun to be commonly seen around Yale. They come in yellows and greens and purples and their glow only lasts a few hours. But far from the raves of New York, Yalies often use the sticks as more of a fashion accessory than a dance tool.
While Gabona and Golson practice to perfect their “sticking skills,” other Yalies just grab the sticks and go.
“We put them anywhere you can imagine,” Biffy Kaufman ’03 said at Risk Wednesday night.
“Anywhere they’ll fit!” her friend Susan Cooke ’03 added, as she demonstrated how the pair had even placed the sticks so they protruded out of their pant crotch zippers once. On this particular night they wore them in the necklines of their shirts.
They got the purple sticks from some guys at Toad’s, they said.
“It’s all the perverted bastards at Toad’s,” Cooke said. “They give them to us because we show a lot of skin.”
Toad’s passed out glow sticks or glow necklaces to a number of people Wednesday night.
Caroline Wolak ’01 received one for having a sun tattoo on her ankle.
Sitting in the corner of the Risk bar room, Wolak wore two glow accessories.
“I love the glow sticks! They’re like fun, party, whatever,” she said. “They remind you of being a child.”
Julia Norton ’01 bounced by Wolak, wearing a purple glow necklace. It was her first time wearing a glow accessory, and she was having a blast.
“It’s an absolutely fabulous way to draw attention to oneself,” Wolak said, estimating that 30 percent more people approach her than do on other nights.
Only girls toted the glow sticks at Risk Wednesday night. Guys at the club said they are indifferent to the sticks.
“So many people have them that it’s not creative anymore,” Paul Ardire ’02 said as he watched some girls with glow sticks dance on the stage.
Ardire said he hasn’t seen many guys with the glow sticks.
But on Thursday, Gabona said glow stick users are mostly male.
It’s true enough that girls are the stick bearers at Risk and Toad’s because the sticks are accessories at these clubs. But at raves and other clubs, such as Gotham City, the sticks are tools that mostly guys use as they danc to music.
“Why would you just carry it?” Gabona asked about the people who merely wear the sticks.
Gabona learned a figure eight move from Golson in the last few weeks for example.
Some people resent the clubbers that just carry the sticks.
“[It’s] a reminder that somehow those who started this whole thing lost control. I mean the people who use them now appear to have no understanding of the meaning behind ‘rave,’ or what it once meant,” said a junior who has attended many raves.
Golson explained that the sticks allow ravers to feel more connected to the push of the music.
Sometimes ravers on ecstasy use the sticks. These people may become mellow from rolling, or using ecstasy, and only be pulled back into the techno songs by following the beat with their sticks.
But not all people that glow stick are rolling, Gabona said.
“I think it’s really cool without it,” she says. “It’s hard to link it to ecstacy because a lot of people at raves or clubs are rolling anyway.”
Gabona and Golson clearly enjoy the movement of glow sticking on a sober Thursday afternoon.
They may be some of the few Yalies that actually “use” the sticks, but the pair doesn’t care. The beat is going and their bodies are moving. Golson’s eyes are focused on the stick, Gabona’s eyes move quickly as she runs the stick up and down her body.
Perhaps next time they are dancing the stick dance, they’ll be in a rave with their sticks actually glowing.