You’re a good girl, everyone you know tells you so. You wear underwear and never expose it (on purpose). You don’t drink before noon (usually). You have a few commandments left to break (one). You insist porn “offends you” and so does “Girls Gone Wild.” It may not call to mind saddle shoes and banana curls, but it counts as clean living nowadays. Of course, the minute your parents arrive on campus for Parents’ Weekend you feel like a felon trying to clean up a murder before the cops find out.
If your mother wears leather pants and your dad digs Eminem, this article is not for you.
For many of us, however, the claim that “they went to college too” is clearly a lie.ÊWords like “dorm mother”, “curfew” and “party dress” — these words do not belong on a college campus, they belong in an Annette Funicello movie. Their Saturday night mixer is our Thursday night Beirut; their goodnight kiss is our walk of shame; their sock-hop — whatever that means — is our Exotic Erotic. Marilyn Monroe is no longer a dirty girl and college is no longer a clean place.
Thus Parents’ Weekend is an accident waiting to happen. We’ve all woven our webs of little white lies, hoping that we’d never have to justify our college debauchery to the people who think they are the only ones who have seen us naked. If you’ve been telling your father Durfee’s is the library, and those charges on your bursar bill are late fees, Parents’ Weekend is when the house of cards will fall. The moment of truth is here and it’s too late to give out the wrong directions to campus. You cannot run, you cannot hide, so here are a few tips from the pros for making it through the weekend without being disowned.
Scenario 1: “Can we see your room?”
Solution: Stash any of the following that you may find in your dorm room: alcohol (Johnny, Mr. Beam, the Cap’n — Robitussen), firearms, anything that you can and have smoked, incriminating photos, and underwear of the opposite sex.
“Saturday morning I walked around my room and threw anything remotely shady in a black trash bag, including about four weeks of dirty laundry,” Seth Eberlin ’05 said. “Within five minutes it looked like Mr. Rogers could live there.”
A personal touch from Eberlin: take your textbooks out of the shrink-wrap, assemble your RIS packets, and bend the spines of your novels. Disperse them around your room as if they were left there in an academic frenzy.
Scenario 2: “What’s that smell?”
Solution: The truth — it could be anything from vomit to sour beer to weed. On Parents’ Weekend — it’s either incense or coming from the room next door.
“My boyfriend had been over the night before and thrown up all over the hallway and into our room,” one Silliman sophomore said. “I ended up just telling my parents that I thought someone upstairs had the flu and then I got them out of there as soon as possible.”
Scenario 3: It’s 11:22 a.m. on Saturday and you’ve run out of things to do with your parents.
Solution: Show them the campus, but BEWARE: The highlights of your campus tour will be pretty indicative of where you spend the bulk your time. Gloss over the Ivy Noodle, Broadway Liquor, Toad’s, and any building with Greek letters on it. Learn what SML, WLH and SOM stand for and rattle off the acronyms with alacrity.
Scenario 4: While walking around campus, you spy “that friend,” the sketchy yet lovable one who always wears the same Jimi Hendrix T-shirt. He says “hi” to you between swigs out of a brown paper bag.
Solution: “I think every single bad hookup I ever had managed to run into me on Parents’ Weekend”, a Berkeley junior said, “and that includes a few that I didn’t even remember. It turned out OK, though. Each time I just made up another extracurricular that I did and claimed I knew the guy from that.”
Scenario 5: In a technological achievement rivaling the invention of the light bulb, your unassuming mom somehow managed to not only turn on the computer, but download Instant Manager and check your away message. Now she wants to know what “pregaming!!!!!!” means.
Solution: “I have no idea when my parents learned to use a computer,” Emily Field ’05 said. “I told them pregaming was something people did before they played intramurals. Then I diverted their attention by taking them to Old Campus and telling them to rub that statue’s foot for good luck.”