Friday, November 27, 2015
It was Big and Red but Definitely not a Barn
In 1990 I was pledging Delta Sigma Omega and I was a nervous wreck. This was my opportunity to be a regular guy and I was determined not to mess up. During Hell Weekend, alumni would stop by the college and the active members would take them and the pledges to The Club to bond, I suppose, over the sharing of libations. As a teetotaler and avid dancer (yes, I know it sounds rather non-fraternal) I had designated myself as the driver of the alcoholics, which is what I call anyone who drinks more than me.
Throughout the week we had been requested to do all manner of embarrassing things like run across campus wearing only boxer shorts, dress up as nerds and escort each other to class, carry (and keep from breaking) an egg, etc. I was pretty sure hijinks were to ensue at The Club as hijinks seemed to be de rigueur in this particular establishment.
When we arrived, we found there was a dance contest and I had been entered; the winner was to receive $300. In 1990, y’all. That was enough to buy 750 soft tacos and a medium Dr. Pepper from Taco Bell, people. I was about to get rich up in here.
My brothers were depending on me to take the trophy and I couldn’t let them down. If you threw in a few orphans or a park/nursing home to be saved, this would be like 1/3 of the straight-to-video movies in the late 1980s. Regardless I was determined to be a hero, like Kevin Bacon dancing in Footloose except not athletic or in a feed mill or with a trashy preacher’s daughter in red boots.
I scoped out the competition as those movies had taught me and I felt pretty good about my chances. We each had a turn and the judges narrowed it down to the finals which included me and a sketchy looking girl with “Sonic Hair” and extremely tight acid-washed jeans who bent over a lot. The last finalists were two friends from out of town who had a routine; they literally 5,6,7,8-ed at the start. I felt much cooler than these two with their rat tails and Z Cavariccis and that’s saying a lot. I was spectacularly uncool. However, I was also rhythmically gifted.
I told the DJ to choose something funky with a great beat and he chose Kyper’s “Tic Tac Toe”. Y’all remember that song? If so you know it was ON. I danced with all my might and thought I was doing well. About a minute into my dance, three young ladies from the social club (Mam’selles) with whom we were partying danced onto the floor and made a sexy semi-circle around me. They looked like Robert Palmer’s video girls but with actual smiles and bigger hair but relatively the same amount of red lipstick.
The winner was based on audience response and nothing beats 30 or so slightly inebriated frat boys and social club girls. Not even acid-washed clad hoochies bending over.
The closing scene of this little movie shows me with my winnings treating 30 people to the Shoney’s Breakfast Buffet, which at that time was only $5, everybody.