But freshman year...that’s another story.
“Fuck Mather,” shouts one unsatisfied party-goer. “Dude, this is Cabot,” his companion gently corrects. “Fine. Fuck Cabot.” It’s the third Saturday night of the year and first-year revelers splash their fresh-faced joie de vivre all over an overflowing Cabot staircase. The Quad was where the party was, whether or not anyone actually knew where they were. How to get home was an entirely separate question.
“Wait, guys. I think Kirkland is actually on the river,” says a tube-topped lovely, hesitating briefly before she and her friends board the Currier-bound shuttle at Johnston Gate.
It was a night of living and learning, of the unlimited promise of youth and the very, very limited navigational capabilities of recent campus arrivals. Oh, to be young, full of liquor and out for a good time. And, oh, to be following along. FM invites its readers, young and old, to reminisce or learn, rehash or recoil as we gambol down the cobblestone streets of Cambridge—kind of a bitch in heels—in search of nocturnal tomfoolery.
Frolic with FM and these fun-loving first-years.
K. Austin Tillery
by Elizabeth W. Green, photos by Andrew B. Pacelli
On the third Saturday night of his Harvard career, K. Austin Tillery ’06 is chilling to the beat of his extremely pimped-out stereo. His room, with its throbbing hip-hop beat and many self-consciously collegiate posters advertising four years of a raging party, seems closer to the WB’s idea of the typical dorm room than to reality. The pulsing speakers blast songs full of dilemmas. One rapper just doesn’t know what to do with his car full of girls. Another complains, “Every other city I go, I see the same hos.”
Tillery’s life, though, is less problematic—at least for now. By the end of the night, he will have been nearly brought to tears by a Tom Cruise look-alike, tried in vain to hitch a ride from the Quad to the Yard with a guy he will drunkenly refer to as “the delivery man,” and even resorted to relieving himself on the sidewalk of Garden Street.
But this is now, and right now, life is easy.
Getting dressed for the evening, for one, is absolutely uncomplicated. Tillery really only has two options—sport head-to-toe Abercrombie, or sport nothing but a cardboard box—and with some thought, the choice is obvious. “You can’t wear a box three nights in a row, because then you’re that weird kid who wears a box all the time,” Tillery explains.
For the past two nights, he was that weird kid. The box, which covered Tillery’s most private areas but did not cover the top of his pelvic bone or his upper thighs, was held up by suspenders and was cleverly labeled “LARGE PACKAGE.” The costume reflects Tillery’s approach to gliding gracefully into the Harvard social scene. “I only make friends when I make an ass of myself,” he says.
But it hasn’t always taken alcohol to bring the asshole out of the boy.
“I never drank at all before I came here,” says the Exeter graduate as he walks away from the pre-gaming party at which he took five shots in less than an hour. “Never in my whole life.” Tillery says he had to leave when the gathering got to be “too big of a little party.” Though he knew all of the little-turned-big party’s hosts, he certainly did not know all of the motley crew that poured in the suite’s door.
Tillery did know one guest: the flamboyantly decked-out Erica S. Birmingham ’06, daughter of Thomas F. Birmingham ’72, who finished third in last month’s Massachusetts Democratic gubernatorial primary. Birmingham, who attended Exeter with Tillery and who is now sporting a flashy pink scarf that frames her impressive cleavage, stopped by the room on her way to a College Democrats party.
But now, as the crowd of unfamiliars pours in, Tillery and his crew—two females, one male and two hounding FM staffers—dip out.
The first-years turn their sights to the main event of the night—in their words, getting their dance on. To do that, they decide, they need to get to the Quad, where the party of choice is in Cabot.
Having made it past the bouncer, woven through the crowds and gotten just a little freaky in a black-lit back room, the frosh see a night full of promise. Tillery is doing his usual, making himself noticed among the thronging masses by commenting candidly on the characters he sees. “That kid dresses like a fucking millionaire,” Tillery says after meeting a fellow first-year who does, in fact, look like a fucking millionaire.
Eventually, Tillery’s spirits drop, and the boy who was once a social butterfly begins a reverse metamorphosis that eventually leads him and his posse to a bench at the edge of the Quad. In this recluse, he makes some calls. “What time is it?” he asks, sighing into his cell phone. “It’s 12? Then our night is pretty much over, isn’t it?”
And though he will first stumble back to the Yard, then head over toward Apley, and then find himself chilling by the side of the Charles before he ever retreats back to his bed in Canaday, the consensus is that, for K. Austin Tillery, the night can sometimes be pretty much over when the clock strikes 12.
Victoria L. Sprow
by Susan M. Ambler and Scott G. Bromley, photos by Danielle Li
“You scored them all? Amazing!” exclaims Vicky L. Sprow ’06 to the party on the other end of the cell phone line as she ambles from Pennypacker Hall to the Yard. FM wonders whether Sprow, who is planning her Saturday night via the Sprint PCS network, is referring to women or drugs. As it turns out, Sprow’s contact and social pusher-man is (purportedly) bragging about soccer goals. Margolskee informs Sprow that Mather Third Floor is The Place To Be, a prospect that Sprow immediately relays to her cohorts, Caroline C. “Keena” Seyfarth ’06 and Erika T. Hamden ’06.
The Mather option is just one of many for the three first-year musketeers of the JV field hockey team. For now, the troupe has a pressing engagement with their hockey elders and a handle of Bacardi. Exiting the cozy confines of the Yard at 9 p.m., the girls set out for the DeWolfe room of two sophomore hockey players. There’s only one glitch: Where, exactly, is DeWolfe Street? Seasoned FM staffers point the neophytes in the appropriate direction.
The trek to DeWolfe pays off, especially with field hockey vet Elizabeth A. Whitman ’05 manning the blender. “What would you like?” she asks the posse, “Juice? Soda? Daiquiris?” Hesitant to choose door number three—either out of respect for their athletic regimen or fear of the omnipresent eye of FM—the girls glance nervously at one another. FM selflessly volunteers to sample the goods, thereby putting the newbies at ease. A daiquiri or five later, the first-years are embroiled in a hot debate over final clubs and Anna Kournikova, while the rum-sodden reporters have regressed to playing X-rated Hangman in their notebooks.
Seyfarth, for one, is wary of the final club scene. “The clubs can be sketchy when you don’t know the guys in them,” she says. “I went to the Phoenix pre-frosh weekend, but it was really shady. I’ve heard that if you’re a freshman girl you can get into any final club you want; it’s just a question of whether you feel safe there.” Hamden weighs in with an alternate take on the situation: “Where are the final clubs, anyway?”