Ah yes, boys and girls: Thanksgiving break is close enough to stave off that visit to Mental Hygiene for a couple more weeks and you know what that means: Harvard-Yale.
Even in writing it out I want to fly in the face of majority consensus and write it all in lower case letters — the game. Ha. An act of resistance, nay rebellion is taking place before your very eyes. I can just feel many of you quiver with anger and shame as I throw Yale tradition and etiquette to the ground, unzip my pants and crouch down low in order to–
Hey, hey, take it easy. “Her biting sarcasm and condescension used to be amusing” you exclaim, “but this has gone too far.” People at Yale look at non-Game-goers with a mix of patronizing pity and revulsion.
Ambivalence toward this holy pilgrimage is seen as some sort of social syphilis. Friends counter and coax my apathy hoping to strike upon a cure, hoping to “save me” from my heathen like “anti-Game” ways. Like Yale-Spirit telemarketers they’ve got a response and tactic for every justification us bad news, thumb-biting, obstinate non-Game-goers have.
Smack dealer approach: Just go this once. How can you say you don’t like it if you’ve never tried? This first time is on me. It is not a big deal. Everyone is going.
Swiping the V-card approach: The first time is always the worst, baby. You’ll get used to it. I swear by the time you’re a senior you’re going to love it.
Tough Love approach: Just reserve a seat on the damn bus! Life isn’t always fair or easy. We all have to do things we don’t like to do. Just go. This discussion is over, you better be in Boston.
Emotional Manipulation/Significant Other three-pronged approach:
1. I just thought it was something we could do together. It’s not your thing, that’s fine. No, its fine, really.
2. I just wish you would support me in my activities, that’s all. You just take and take. Don’t come if you don’t want to. No, I don’t want you there if you’ll be unhappy. I want you to want to come because you know it’s important to me.
3. I can’t keep doing this! I’m going to go and have an amazing time without you! Even if you wanted to come, it’s too late!
You Want to Fight Me approach: So if you think The Game is stupid, are you saying I’m stupid for going? What, you think you’re above football and tailgates? No seriously, I want to know. You think you’re better than me or something?
School Psychologist approach: You don’t think you are worthy of The Game, do you? You are worthy of going to The Game. Say it. “I am worthy of The Game.” That’s right. Now say it and believe it. “I am worthy of The Game.”
You Are Our Project approach: We think you’re really funny. No seriously, we all really like you, and so we want to know if you’ll come to The Game with us and be the ‘Y’ in our sign? We’re all like painting letters on ourselves and then standing around naked in the cold and rain. ‘Y’ is like the best letter. You would look so cute as our ‘Y.’
Great Foreplay approach: Fine, you are right, The Game itself is usually a let down. But all the stuff before — the parties, the tailgates — all the stuff leading up to it is so money, kid, so money.
These and countless other schemes are employed each year around this time — on the street, around the seminar table, in your residence. Even a 3 a.m. stop at Gourmet Heaven is tainted when Mohamed casually inquires, “You are going to Boston this Friday, yes?”
Yet still I hold fast. You want to go — go. I do not reproach you, dear friends. By bus and train and car, students descend upon Cambridge. Bring your grills and face paint, hard liquor and beer. Shout till your throat begins to bleed and then in a drunken stupor stumble to urinate under the risers, only to be apprehended by Harvard police and kicked out of the stadium. Go Elis! Make me proud and return with great tales about this journey into enemy territory. The Game, like bikini waxing, is an urge I simply will not give into — I do not care how great you tell me it is. A three hour commute to drink in the cold? Hot wax to rip my hair out by its root?
It’s just not my style. It’s just not my style.
Jana Sikdar likes to unzip her pants and crouch down low in order to … take them off before she goes to bed. Alone. Not in Boston for The Game.