The Collegian
Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Lodges, laundry and the transition to bar culture

It seems that not all of my assumptions about growing up are true. Part of the reason I was particularly excited to turn 21 and move away from the lodge culture was simply that I could start investing in nicer going-out clothes.

Back during my lodge days, I wouldn't spend more than $15.95 at Forever 21 on a going-out shirt because I knew for certain that by the time I got back to my room, it would be soaked in beer, sweat, tears and shame.

I had to be practical and overlook so many nice shirts and dresses simply because I didn't want to buy something I knew I would ruin later that weekend. And it wasn't as if I could go ahead and invest in them before senior year with the intention of wearing them later because I've found that, in college, you never really know what size you're going to be from year to year.

There is no use in crying over the fact that you can't get your favorite dress from freshman year over your butt, and there comes a point at which lunging into your jeans isn't cutting it, so you might as well just wait and admit that if you want to breathe, you may have to just get a bigger size. Or, if you're like me and you'd rather not admit that, you can just wear pants that have elastic waistbands and fill your closet with dresses that are only tight right under your boobs.

So, when senior year rolled around, I was thrilled to be able to buy nicer clothes, clothes that I actually enjoyed wearing because I could finally move away from the dark colors and buy a variety of brightly patterned clothing.

Because beer shows up less on dark colors, I found that I always opted for black, dark blue and forest green tops, but I could finally let my inner rainbow shine through my choice in clothing!

I moved from Target and Forever 21 racer-back tank tops with skinny jeans and super cheap, lodge-sludge-absorbing shoes, to actual dresses and the sorts of heels I've been lusting over since my mom had me practicing my heel-walk at age 10. Finally, I could judge an outfit's success by its prettiness, not by its capacity to soak up beer and sweat with minimally obvious staining.

Well, at least that's what I've thought. What I've rapidly discovered is that people are just as likely to spill drinks on you in crowded bars as they are in the lodges. Luckily in bars, or at least the ones I frequent, they don't suck your face as a poor substitute for an "I'm sorry." They just offer to get you a drink or provide you with a very convincing verbal apology.

It still doesn't change the fact that there is alcohol in my cleavage. But I don't feel violated at all. And granted, at least you're getting classier drinks like champagne and gin gimlets spilled on your chest, so you feel a bit better about the situation, but there is still plenty of stickiness and damp clothing by the end of the evening. And unlike crappy Forever 21 tops, you actually have to get nice clothes dry-cleaned, so not only do I spend more money on my outfits, I also have to pay to have them cleaned. Oh well, at least my shoes are safe without lodge sludge right?

Wrong. Not only do people spill drinks on them, but you also get shards of glass stuck in your heels. You know how in the lodges when you finish a beer you just throw your can on the floor and keep dancing?

Well, it seems people still employ this strategy in the real world, but because they pour drinks into glassware at bars, you're walking on glass instead of crushed up beer cans and Solo cups. Ah, bars, ruining nice shoes one shard at a time.

So when you go out to bars and you see a nice lady in a dress, keep a death grip on that drink of yours and even if you don't spill it on her, feel free to buy her a drink anyway (especially if she is about 5 feet 6 inches with dark eyes and dark hair and is dancing like an idiot, and looks kind of like me).

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