I shaved my prepubescent-looking mustache for the first-year formal. I regret wasting even that much effort.

“It’ll be the night of your life,” they told me. “You’ll fall in love with a blind date, and everyone who’s anyone will be there and ready to cut loose. It’s wild. Imagine the first-year dinner but without the parade of comestibles and not at all like the first-year dinner except for venue and attire.” 

They lied to me. They let me get my hopes up for nothing. Who are ‘they’ you ask? I don’t know. Older students? The FCC? The grapevine? All I know is that my expectations were turned all the way up.

Maybe my inability to claim the formal as the time of my life represents a personal failing. Sure, I went through the physical motions of getting into the right headspace. I showered, put on my baby blue blazer and a crisp white button-down and crashed a shindig in some stranger’s suite beforehand: the works, you know.

But my heart wasn’t all the way in it. I was tired from a long week. I thought the whole premise was a little bit goofy. I had my doubts. And I’ll be the first to admit, maybe the fact that my blind date and I didn’t fall in love was my fault. I don’t know if I was ready. Oh, she’s a lovely human being, don’t get me wrong, but we just didn’t seem to hit it off.

Alright … now that I’ve offered the disclaimer of my own potential shortcomings, allow me to recount the evening for you.

Perhaps a brief antecedent is necessary: $15 for a ticket, with gas prices what they are, set the bar mighty high. If I’m shelling out fifteen big ones, I’m expecting all the works: fondue, an indoor rollercoaster and a night of extravagance and debauchery.

Instead, this is how it went down…

As I pulled up outside Commons, I found myself stuck in the back of a lengthy and slow-moving line. This, of course, was a forgivable offense. After all, this was the hottest ticket in town.  Tickets had sold out. There was a waitlist for goodness sake. What are we, despairing high-school seniors, hopelessly resorting to entering our names on a Yale waitlist?

We waited in the relatively cold air for what must have been fifteen minutes, although this was less of an issue for me, as I had my — allow me to reiterate — dashing baby blue blazer to keep me warm. But many students donning just their finest dresses or shirts began to shiver and complain.

One silver lining of the wait was the opportunity to talk with my date. We chatted about the weather, our prospective majors, which colleges we were in, etc. But such pleasantries felt like filler as we allowed our anticipation to build.

At last, we made it through the pearly white gates of Commons, only to find ourselves lost in a sea of chaos. Helpless first-year organizers yelled at us to line up against the wall in an orderly fashion, but this was first-year formal: we were rowdy, we were eager and we were growing very, very impatient. 

I snaked my way up to the front of the line, sneaking by inattentive lovebirds too caught up in each other’s eyes to notice the 6’4” lanky goon in the suave baby blue blazer slithering past them. And then, after getting my ticket checked and a Sharpie mark on my hand, I was in. And so, I believed, my magical night was set to begin.

The room was nearly empty. My date and I moved off to the side, where she got a Dr. Pepper and a bag of SmartFood™ popcorn. I stood there awkwardly surveying the crowd for my other friends. What I saw, instead, was a middle school dance.

I want to make it clear: for me, there was some joy in this. My middle school didn’t have dances. Maybe first-year formal was the closest I’ll ever come. But if that was the case, then I think I’m a little upset we didn’t lean all the way in and throw out the Old Hollywood theme for Middle School Dance. I think we should have split by gender, standing in opposite corners of the room, pointing and whispering nervously. 

Instead, I spent the night drifting around the room, catching up with all the friends I’ve accidentally been blowing off since the semester began and forcing them to take photos with me to appease my mom. She thought we looked very handsome.

It was a lovely night, in its own peculiar way, and I mean no disrespect to all those who put in so much time and effort planning this event. But when I’m told it’ll be “a night you won’t remember, but one you can’t forget,” my expectations exceed a bag of SmartFood™ and some awkward meandering. I’m not saying I want my $15 back, but maybe $10 would be fair.

Andrew Cramer is a former sports editor, women's basketball beat reporter, and WKND personal columnist at the YDN. He still writes for the WKND and Sports sections. He is a junior in Jonathan Edwards College and is majoring in Ethics, Politics & Economics.