While much literature has been devoted to The School Eli Bankrolled — superior academics, a long record of presidential excellence, gut courses that become exceedingly difficult after too much media coverage — little has been devoted to the Random Toad’s Night, which is basically a graduation requirement (even for you young guns with your “QR”, “L1” or “R2-D2”).
There is something unique about the Random Toad’s Night (or RTN, as the thugs call it). Though many times we resign ourselves to “ending up at Toad’s”, RTNs are different. Without exception, you are being social elsewhere, enjoying the vibe of a social gathering that, for once, doesn’t suck. For those of you that don’t frequent Toad’s, e.g. artsy hipsters or black people in general, these appearances are tantamount to the moon landing. On these random eves when the beer flows like wine and social destinies collide, it is almost inevitable that someone will loudly slur out a “Let’s go to TOAD’S!!!”, inspiring said gathering to begin its journey to Babylon.
Ahhhhh, The Amphibious Den of Ill-Repute. The place, the smell … inexplicable. When you cross its threshold, all the rules that govern the game and general human decency are rendered moot. It’s like a star that gets sucked into a black hole. Whatever that star was before is irrelevant, for it generally ceases to be.
Sidebar 1: In my day (which was about 45 minutes ago), one of the best parts of Toad’s was the door. I felt like a real 007 getting in with an ID that is clearly not me. “Imbeciles!” I would think, until I recalled I just sat in line for 30 minutes to go not dance. Boozily confident, you push further into the belly of the beast.
On a regular Toad’s Night, you drink yourself into believing it’s a good time.
On an RTN, you truly believe it (mainly because you’re a shit show).
Obviously, though you revel in the joy of a RTN, there are some rules you still have to follow.
First, you make the social rounds, passionately greeting people you haven’t seen for at least seven hours. Everyone’s routine is different depending on their social scene. Only the routine itself is constant. My usual routine is as follows: hugging some short drunk girls who spill their drinks on me and say things I can’t hear, followed by a few low-key basketball team daps (and a pause to look tall with them), rounded out by the standard lax team “What’s up, guy?”
After that’s done, and if you’re not blackout, you do a systems check: Wallet? Good. Phone? Good. White girls jumping up and down doing the “TRL” scream? Good. Since it’s probably 12:30 when you get there, you’ve basically missed the danceable (read: black) music, but it’s OK — it’s an RTN.
The great thing about an RTN is its uncanny ability to bring people together in the spirit of giving. Guys kissing girls, girls kissing guys, guys kissing guys, girls kissing girls. I mean, you want it, you got it. Nothing says, “Hey, you’re OK” like Toad’s Kissing — a combination of labial contact in congress with a sweaty rub of the face and chin into the neck, face and chin of the other party while dancing badly. Imagine if you were tied up, chest to chest, with someone and their neck was in your face. Now imagine if you were frantically attempting to remove a bug from your face while undulating to “Call On Me”. It’s like that.
The best part is that during commercial breaks, the parties in question usually take the time to breathe and allow saliva to return to their mouths. In those moments, you can see the slight twinkle of reason in their eye, the spark of “Golly, I’m quite intoxicated”, but this is an RTN, and the thought is quickly extinguished by a quick face-butt to the neck.
On your average Toad’s night, you can never get in touch with people. Instead, you find yourself crouching with one finger jammed in your ear as you hopelessly shout “I’m over by the stage!!” into your phone. On an RTN, you successfully one-shout and out, not to mention the people who were calling (underage scalawags) managed to bust through the side door. Although most of the music still sounds no better than if someone threw some sneakers in a dryer and recorded it, you find yourself pumping fist every now and again, especially at the very end of the night
Sidebar 2: One of my favorite things is to grab peoples’ wrists whom I don’t know and just start pumping. The “mildly frightened to cautiously enthusiastic” reaction is hilarious.
Out on the street at night’s end, your fog is partially lifted and you get to see exactly how gross your feet got. You know how you can tell the age of trees by the rings? Well you can tell how good a time you had (read: how belligerently drunk you were) by how far up your feet Toad’s Foot goes. It’s scientific. Mid-forefoot? Eh. Ankle? You definitely have one story you don’t want anyone to know about but are almost certain everyone saw. Even better than the walk of shame is seeing people the next day who still have Toad’s Foot. Just epic.
And, because it’s an RTN, you’re generally bound to see someone laid out on the sidewalk, having had a foreign object bust over their head. As you shake your head and step over these people, you pity them for not realizing what kind of night it was. Surely no one throws on the old button-down and Joop! (holler at a throwback scent) saying, “Hey, I think I’ll get mollywhopped tonight.” But I say shame on them, for surely they didn’t look to the heavens on that night. Peace to girls making out with girls in front of former boyfriends.
Jon Pitts-Wiley was Ridin’ the SexyBack of a Promiscuous Girl when she Leaned Back and her London Bridge fell down. Oops! She Did it Again.