For two years Vag had dropped into Mem Hall for various official reasons, but this was something new. After three centuries of Puritanical restraint, the College was using the Gothic barn with the bathroom-floor roof for strictly social ends. Half-horrified and half-pleased, Vag could see tomorrow's headlines in the Globe: HARVARD SUBSIDIZES ROMANCE.
Smiling superciliously he thought of the innocents of '46, their relations with the women aided and abetted by the Dean's Office. No such help when he came here; he had gone through the standard technique, phoning Wellesley after carefully thumbing the Year Book. He had visited the Raymor and met a girl who explained fully why she preferred Cary Grant to Spencer Tracy. The sound of Wrigley's Spearmint masticated to conga rhythm had become the usual price of a stag weekend. All that suffering had been spared these Freshmen.
But they wouldn't get away with it alone. Vag planned to be there, ready to cut in gleefully whenever one of these youngsters cornered an attractive number.
He went up at 9:45, in order to skip the receiving line. It took six minutes of elbowing to get through the mob outside, and some swivel-hipped open field running to reach the dance floor. Four times he tried to cut, only to be tripped thrice and kicked once before he could penetrate the cordon of hopefuls surrounding the dancers.
The fifth attempt was a success at last, for he took his stance in front of the orchestra, where the volume of the music deterred the other stags. This time he managed to get a partner. It didn't last very long; after twelve bars of "Deep in the Heart of Texas" he was left alone deep in the middle of the dance floor. For several seconds he stood there, like a traffic cop, and then hooked another one. Five more bars of toe-stubbing and then fingernails pinched into his shoulder. At times Vag couldn't tell whether he was cutting in or being drafted to replace some earnest partner whose conversation ran in the well-dredged but aimless channels of "I go to Harvard, where do you go?"
After midnight and three doses of wilted but invigorating ice cream, Vag decided to go home. "Isn't it wonderful?" he meditated. "Four more of these and my feet will be flat enough to get me in 4-F."