The line extends around the corner of the building and almost reaches the doors of Stiles and Morse. From juniors and seniors ready to get hammered, to the freshmen eager to get a taste of the Elm City “nightlife,” all are equal in the line to enter Toad’s, the most popular hangout for Yalies looking to escape the stress of study. The atmosphere outside is electric. But inside, it’s another story.
Upon entry, one finds a fluorescent and hot void, full of perspiring men imposing themselves upon bourgeoning socialites trying to “hook up.” This abomination, this anathema, this bane on our society must be stopped before it corrupts all that is good and dear. Toad’s must drink hemlock, for it offers neither a fulfilling disco nor a meaningful social experience.
Toad’s lacks the “finesse,” for want of a better term, that most discos tend to offer. From Club BRAVA in San Juan, Puerto Rico to Box 63 in New Haven, the essence of disco, and the passion it should awake, are totally absent from Toad’s Place. I’m not calling for Mandala to move from Cancun, Mexico to New Haven, nor do I expect glitter-studded waitresses showering the masses with overpriced champagne. But a decent bar space would be nice. Nobody wants to brush elbows with a testosterone-sodden Eli when trying to get a mediocre (in this case, mediocre might even be a complement) Rum and Coke.
Even the heart of a disco, the dance floor, is either minuscule or inexistent at Toad’s. The sheer mass of people just standing in the middle of the floor, or, worse, being rowdy and pushy, prevents the average guy from getting his groove on. From inebriated giants to intoxicated zombies, the dance floor contains so many physical obstacles that it is impossible to freely show your moves.
Don’t get me wrong, now. I have zero problems with alcohol. Believe me, as a Puerto Rican, I live in a society whose national pastime is drinking. However, just because “Yale sees alcohol as a medical issue, not a disciplinary one” should not give the smartest people on the planet free range to get wasted every Wednesday and Saturday. If anything, we should appreciate that the University recognizes our maturity, and truly enjoy our vice, instead of wasting it on shotguns, shots and excess.
I will not shun those who go to Toad’s. For many who did not grow up around alcohol, it definitely offers an easy escape into the world of college parties, as many are away from the ever-watchful eyes of their parents for the first time. And this is totally reasonable. But one should realize what patronizing this establishment entails. The “false narrative” — and boy does Yale love those two words — perpetuated by the continued success of Toad’s is that Yale students prefer to socialize in uncomfortable environments and only drink to get wasted, and that they have no better options.
Not only do many students reject the alcohol fest we’ve renamed “college”, but there are plenty of social circles in which drinking, partying and being social can be done much better. Not only are there acceptable disco and bar options in the vicinity of campus, but even getting together in the dorms or at the crew house is more appealing than wasting time and money in a cramped, inhospitable space to get hammered while listening to music you can’t even dance to.
Toad’s represents a mediocrity we cannot condone. It does not offer the kind of fulfilling experience that other social hubs do: comfort, quality drinks and a relaxed, enjoyable atmosphere. Settling on mediocrity is no way to seek change for the better, on campus and beyond. And if we seek change, we can start by taking roads that lead anywhere but Toad’s.
Christian Wolpert Gaztambide is a freshman in Jonathan Edwards College. Contact him at christian.wolpertgaztambide@ya