Claire Mutchnik

It’s that time of year — after months of radio silence you suddenly get a text. It’s your friend from Harvard.

Unidentified H: Heyyy, so excited for the game! Just asking for a friend — totally fine if you say no — but do you think you could host some extra people in your suite? Or know anyone who could? Love you, can’t wait!

You: (Reluctantly) Sure… how many?

Unidentified H: Just 5 or 6!

And so it begins. Bulldog days round two. Your suite becomes a hotel for Harvard kids — the ones who didn’t quite manage to get actual hotel rooms in the New Haven area. Did you know New Haven is just so much cheaper than Cambridge? It’s inevitable that you will have to open your personal space to the rival school, out of courtesy, good sportsmanship or mild coercion from your college’s operations manager. You have an entire Friday night to fill, a flock of Harvard kids to direct as they float around trying to look like it’s an issue of too much choice rather than none at all. Even if you don’t quite care, you will have to come up with something for your medium Harvard friends. Whether they show it or not, they need you.

If the YCC Harvard-Yale dance party is not quite up your alley, another equally self-selecting space might be Froads. They’re fresh-eyed kids excited by the prospect of real fun. Little do they know the only good Toads is a Woads. It’s responsible parenting — just drop them outside, make your way to Zeta, and pick them up on your way home! They should get their $15 tickets in advance, but we all have to wait in line. The longer the line, the more worth their time!

Late night food a concern? Although we don’t quite have the Tasty Burger equivalent — your local fastfoodnightclub — the obvious option is to drop them off at Gheav. If you want to stir some trouble, encourage them to order a “light omelette sandwich on a spinach wrap with extra avocado” at 3 am through snackpass. Watch as they repeatedly discard the order.

Be prepared to fend off some questions. As the Harvard buses roll up outside Woolsey and the kids hop out, bright 2pm sunlight creates a Harvard halo on those obnoxiously crimson sweaters. You’ll inevitably hear: “naked runs, orgy parties, yeah they DO that here at Yale.” If you’re at your wits end, sign them up for Tinder.

But what if these medium Harvard friends have the potential to be more than medium? What if your medium Harvard friend used to be your best friend and this weekend is actually a rare opportunity to reconnect with an old flame, unhappily lost to the wrong school? The toughest situation with medium Harvard friends is when you actually want to spend more time with them. It’s one of the rare opportunities that college campuses intermix. Taking the step to hang with your friend’s Harvard crowd might be the hardest of all, especially when the rowdiest car at the tailgate turns out to be Harvard only. Music blasting, natty Lite spraying, huge BDE, do you dare to crash?

At the Harvard Yale game, you can make friends or, with the right tricks, some enemies. But there is no medium in between. If you’re in a panic, head straight to the bowl. At least there, physical separation is mandated.

Alexa Stanger | alexa.stanger@yale.edu