A freshman girl holding a pair of men’s khaki pants walks up to a random guy standing on Old Campus and asks him if he left them in her room the previous night. After receiving several puzzled looks and laughs, she finally comes across a guy in boxers looking for the pants he supposedly left in a random girl’s room. He puts on his trousers and the two walk, arms linked, to a semi-formal dance.
Such is life on the night of a “screw your roommate” dance at Yale.
Screw dances are a special tradition at Yale where roommates set each other up with blind dates for a semi-formal dance, leaving the possibility that they can “screw” their roommates by giving them a bad date.
Keeping this evening in mind, it is advisable to start out on the right foot with your roommate if you don’t want to get totally screwed. But most roommates try to arrange promising dates because they do have to endure your wrath for the next year.
Your date might be someone a suitemate knows from class, but very often dates are picked from facebook photos. Sometimes even the most well-meaning roommates arrange dates with a facebook beauty only to discover that pictures are very, very deceiving. That photogenic date might operate on the social level of a seventh grader.
Aside from the prospect of the date from hell, take care to make sure your suitemate doesn’t get double-booked. Or triple- or quadruple-booked for that matter. For example, four freshmen girls arrived at Commons last year to discover that they were part of “four’s company” for their male date.
As the anticipation of meeting the unknown date builds, it is not uncommon for students to down a little “liquid courage,” and thus screws are often preceded by wild pre-parties.
If you have creative suitemates, meeting your date can be an adventure in itself. This year, freshmen were sent on adventures that ranged from scavenger hunts to asking creative or even vulgar questions.
For example, on the eve of the 2000 Freshmen Screw, an embarrassed female wandered Old Campus asking male passers-by if they had anything she could suck on. Much to her relief, one of the first males she asked responded with a lollipop.
Other interesting spectacles on the evening of Freshmen Screw were the many men serenading outside ladies’ windows with tunes such as “You Are So Beautiful.”
The theme of this year’s freshmen screw was “SIN — Strangers in the Night.” Upon entrance, couples were given tiny handcuffs in exchange for their ticket.
The Freshmen Class Council went all-out with the decorations: A canopy of white lights hanging from the high ceiling illuminated the dance floor, with balloons and velvet evoking a sinful atmosphere. Small details such as red and white breath mints on an adjacent table created a fun atmosphere.
FCC Activities Chairwoman Katherine Capelluto ’04 estimated that 1,150 freshmen attended the dance.
“The screw was great for unifying the freshman class and giving an opportunity for everyone to bond in a festive, fun atmosphere,” she said.
In addition to the Freshman Screw, there are residential college screws, which are usually held in the fall.
The college screws are smaller affairs held in dining halls, but they nonetheless offer a good time. This year, several colleges held their screws the same evening, and couples “ball-hopped” and checked out the scene at the different dances.
The odds are stacked against your finding true love with your screw date, but the dance itself is an adventure of sorts. It’s a fun way to get acquainted with a new person or realize that maybe the dating scene in high school wasn’t so bad after all.