Not all of us here at Yale can spend our weekends cavorting with the Hilton sisters, drinking Cristal, and smoking Romeo y Julietas. Very few of us, actually. In fact, I would guess that pretty much all of us “sit around” with our friends’ sisters, drink Fresca, and smoke Parliament Lights. As Fyodor Dostoevsky, author of such acclaimed and snappily titled page turners as “The Idiot” tells us, “The doctor was coming out of the room, already wrapped up in his fur coat and with a hat on his head.” In other words, we have a lot of sentences to read like this one, and that takes up most of our time. No Hilton sisters tonight. Except in my case, of course. The columnist always gets the girls.
Despite this depressing state of affairs (namely, we are not cool), and despite the fact that one of the biggest party spots for our entire school is a godforsaken HOTEL BAR, with all the refreshing atmosphere of the Mojave desert, there are, I have been noticing, a few trends of Yalecool. Yalecool is not like cool in the outer world, where it is known as “not cool,” but I will nonetheless seek to define for you, dear reader, what Yalecool is, so that the next time you escape the misery of reading Aphra Behn and go out into the world you can impress your friends.
On a side note, the tone of this article may appear to be the slightest bit uncongenial. The reason for this dip in my happiness, too complex to explain, originates with Richard Levin, who evidently learned to be president from the Castro Correspondence School, and the dozens of fateful predicaments into which I fall daily due to his evil and well-laid plans.
But onwards and upwards: the criteria, says me, of Yalecool.
1.) Being dressed in the ridiculous clothing/accessories of some particularly noxious and forgettable era/dance craze/television show. Seventies parties, disco parties, nineties parties, Charlie’s Angels parties: each of these demands a more ridiculous and bizarre style of dress than the rest. I recently saw a guy, who presumably was not an Hall of Graduate Studies escapee or Barry Gibb, wearing a full-length, red, leather suit with a wide plaid tie and some indescribably, almost sublimely ugly sunglasses. While this kind of get-up may appear to be utterly impractical when you go to a party different from the costumed one, this brave soldier proves that no such matter will stand in the way of Yalecool. He may, without regard to the finer emotions of mere passersby, innocent bystanders, wear full-length, red, leather suits. I applaud him.
2.) Wearing aviator sunglasses. With all due respect to “Top Gun,” Elvis Presley, and actual aviators (fight on, brave Continental pilots of the sky), these glasses are ridiculous. There are no pending missions to deep space for any Yale undergraduates, as far as I know; why damn yourself into looking stupid by wearing the attendant headgear? Almost as inexplicable as the four-inch goatee craze, which began, interestingly enough, with the aforementioned Dostoevsky, but which also should have ended with him.
3.) Having read, intensely and with great self-introspection, “On the Road,” “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” “Howl” and all back issues of Spin magazine, and then having smoked a great deal of pot out of some ingeniously constructed device. Terrible books, boring magazines, and an engineering degree – a deadly combination to those who want to stand in the way of you being part of the new Yalecool.
4.) Wearing one of those coats that are lined with what looks to be several dead young sheep, the fur of which sticks out everywhere dowdily, and which button up so that you can’t breathe, and then claiming you got it out of your grandmother’s closet. The coat is hideously ugly and you spent $300 for it at Crazy Jack’s. And you look like a moron.
5.) Talking about how, at the end of the year, you realize how short our time at Yale is and how much you want to make of the rest of it. Maybe, just maybe, I accept this part of Yalecool. Can you believe how short our time is at Yale? I just want to make the most of the rest of it. You know what? I’ll stop bitching and wish all of my senior friends a fond, if early, adieu. Man, am I feeling charitable now, what with being Yalecool and having finished this column so quickly. Keep that Cuban lit, Senor Levin, and take a puff for me. We’ll have plenty of time to actually meet when I’m an alumnus and you want some money.
Charles Finch is a junior in Berkeley. He was recently judged physically unfit for participation in the Royal Air Force because of his webbed feet.