Spring has sprung. Vaguely shaven boys in T-shirts and cargo shorts clutter Old Campus half-playing guitars and bongos, the chicks are starting to grow legs, and my window directly over Durfee Sweet Shop is wide open. Now everyone (not just my roommates) is privy to my habit of playing Salt ‘n’ Pepa’s “Shoop” on loop.
But this will not be a spring fashion advice column. So to satisfy those of you that are still under the illusion that I have words of wisdom, these are your only inches:
Wear something light, and buy it if you like it even though they’re selling it at Urban Outfitters. Try not to ask why they can sell 50 different types of ashtrays when Gourmet Heaven can’t even sell rolling paper. And go with me to Jonathan Edwards’s Spider Ball. Send cover letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spring may have brought a new interest in sluttish fashion for the rest of you, but I have been reborn. I have a higher calling. No, this isn’t a Good Friday column. La Fashionista has in fact been delighting in matzo cuisine this week and celebrating the fact that she would almost be free from slavery if it weren’t for the grueling prime-time schedule of Thursday night TV. The higher calling I’m speaking of is cheerleading. As I chalked on the sidewalk outside of my entryway after viewing the inspirational film “Bring It On,” “In another life I will wave pom-poms.”
I went to a serious cheerleading high school. The girls were hard and at least half of the guys were straight. They went to the Nationals in Orlando every year, and every spring we would watch a tape of them on ESPN2 on the morning announcements. I knew some of them, but more in a party-and-do-A.P.-American-History-together than a pyramid context. I now regret all my days of studying and trying to get into Yale. I should have been a cheerleader and should now be spending the spring at Southern Miss.
I admit that my viewing of the jarring, socially important film “Bring It On” on DVD (with lots of special features) has contributed to this enlightenment. I rented it from the worst video establishment in New Haven: Blockbuster Video. The movie, for those of you who haven’t already run out to the video store to rent it, is about high school cheerleaders. Hot high school cheerleaders. And the love interest, a postmodern Clash-loving slacker played by Jesse Bradford, best known for his role in “Hackers,” is the kind of hot guy it seems like you could actually meet.
There’s a good social message about how black chicks will always have more soul than suburban white chicks, but in the end all of the races make a better showing than the out-of-shape Julia Stiles in “Save the Last Dance” (which earned a big manicured thumbs down from La Fashionista).
The climax of the film is definitely the arrival of a choreographer that the high schoolers hire to teach them a routine that will bring them “Omigod, all the way to Nationals.” This man, Spanky Polastry, played by Upright Citizens Brigade member Ian Roberts, preaches my gospel (I learned on the audio commentary of the film that the Upright Citizens Brigade gives free shows on Sundays in their theater in New York City). He descends on the cheerleaders’ gymnasium making astute comments to the squad: “Good general tone and musculature. (Looking down at subject’s posterior.) Report those compliments to your ass before it gets so big it forms its own Web site.” He follows a string of other comments like that with words of wisdom:
Sparky to Cheerleaders: “I am a choreographer! That’s what I do. You — are cheerleaders. Cheerleaders are dancers (pause) who have gone retarded. What you do is a tiny, pathetic subset of dancing. I will attempt to transform your robotic routines into poetry written with the human body. Follow me or perish, sweater-monkeys.”
The dance moves and the social message that make up the rest of the movie are the best I’ve seen since “Center Stage” and definitely whoop any kind of ass “Save the Last Dance” purported to have. The only dance routine I’ve seen that can even compare to those in “Bring It On” is the moving Fatboy Slim bit in “She’s All That” (a swell movie).
So rather than take my advice, get some spring inspiration this weekend from teen movies. The kids are cute, the romances always work out (and none of the guys have such typical male Yale problems as trouble performing because they said something dumb earlier that day in section), and they never seem to be bothered by homework.
And just for the record, I’m not advocating cheerleading (although you could do worse. According to the “Bring It On” Web site at www.bringitonmovie.com, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Lauren Hill were both cheerleaders). I just think that all of our spring wardrobes could use a little more bounce in the skirt, junk in the trunk and spirit in the strut. Don’t ask me what any of that means: I’ve been watching movies written for 15-year-olds.
Lisa S. Cohen is a junior in JE. She was a cheerleader before the tragic loss of her hair to Buddhist monks.