The masque of the red cup
College students should reflect on the purpose of their partying and tone it down
From the time when Edgar Allan Poe attended the University to today, it appears that a student’s idea of a good time has changed
dramatically. Gone are the days when students discreetly sipped ale with a few compatriots in their dorms. Nowadays we are anything but discreet, surrendering the privacy of a small social gathering for the chaos of a large cluster of frenzied teenagers. Students, when looking for a party, have since ditched their dorms for the more intriguing frat houses, seemingly fascinated by the charm of decaying wood, aneurism-inducing music and smell of stale beer and sweat. When and why did this culture of red-cup parading students begin?
Well, it all started with the creation of beer pong and evolved from there, or rather devolved. Today, all teenagers care about on the weekends is getting wasted and doing irrational things that will later make great stories. The inconspicuousness of underage drinking no longer is even a concern as students flash their bright red cups to the world and drunkenly stumble from one party to another.
This culture is tolerable, but it is quite puzzling. Why is any of this enjoyable? Why is it fun to be intoxicated and impaired by a substance that makes us embarrass ourselves, and why does our modern culture do it so publicly? Unfortunately, there is no clear answer, but perhaps it is because today’s teenagers are hungry for attention and acceptance and by joining this Red Cup Society, they receive both. By going to these parties they are able to become part of the weekly ritual and feel included. Imagine being surrounded by your peers, them shouting your name as you shotgun a beer or take a shot without a chaser. You feel like a champion as you complete your task successfully and then they ask you to “do another.” This cycle is all fun and games until you get white-girl-wasted and start throwing up everywhere, leaving behind mementos of the salad you had hours earlier, the only thing you ate all day because you wanted to look “skinny in this dress.”
While getting attention sometimes feels nice, teenagers seem to want it for all the wrong reasons. They want to be seen as “cool” for consuming copious amounts of alcohol within a certain time frame, and they do not care if they look stupid as long as they look like they are having fun. This “desire for attention” is my best attempt to explain the excessive partying, underage drinking and foolish actions students partake in, but it still does not justify it. Attention can be received other ways! Relinquish your Project X life styles and start anew. Limit yourself to only one night a week of partying and maybe even try following the law by not consuming alcohol underage. As much fun as it may seem to dance aimlessly to bad music while some overheated dude pushes past you, leaving behind a trail of sweat on your arm, there are alternatives. The University has a range of clubs and activities that meet and hold events on the weekends. Also, there are many people around Grounds who spend the weekends playing music in the quad, watching a movie with friends, holding sober dance parties in their dorms and even some going to the library and studying! If any of that sounds attractive to you, then please, as intelligent students of the University, partake in this Red Cup Cult no longer. Break this seemingly permanent cycle and fight the persuasion of the alluring red Solo Cup.
Refuse to conform, it has been said that disconformity is the new thing.
Meredith Berger is a Viewpoint writer for The Cavalier Daily.