Monday, April 23, 2012

DARTing, Darties, and Prom - Oh My!

Based on the average demographics of my readership, pretty much anyone reading this post has, in the past few days, been affected by the Big Three of late-April young adulthood: DARTing, dartying, and prom. (Oh my!) Here at ND this weekend, a bit of my time has been occupied by all three. After observing the three great institutions that are class registration, daytime partying, and high school proms, I could easily write a whole blog post or short book about each. To save everyone time and eye strain (yes, I changed my font color again), though, I decided to kill all three of these peculiar birds with one bloggy stone, and what follows is the result.

For college students, the most stressful staple of late-April life is registering for classes. At Notre Dame, this self-harm-inducing process is referred to as DARTing. Popular myth will have you believe that this name is a relic of an older version of registration called (something along the lines of) Direct Action Registration by Telephone. I, however, prefer to believe that DARTing is so called because, on the fun scale, it ranks right up there with being stabbed repeatedly by poisoned darts. When it comes to DARTing, almost no one escapes completely unscathed. Since DARTing began early last week, I've heard of seniors with Friday classes - a direct violation of the lesser-known eleventh commandment, "College seniors shalt not be forced to deal with Friday classes" - juniors with four days of class starting before 9 AM, and, of course, sophomores who can't get into any classes because our registration system makes no sense. In my case, DARTing went more smoothly than for most people, since I managed to avoid both Friday classes and class before 11 AM (8:20 first day DART time for the win). In general, though, DARTing is like the Hunger Games of academia. Dozens of innocent youths go in, but only one can emerge victorious with no Friday classes and a spot in McKenna's tap dancing class.

Conveniently, once registration is just about over, the colleges and universities of America - or maybe just Indiana; let's not pretend I know people who go to schools out of state - have devised a brilliant system of recovery: a weekend of epic dartying. For those of you who don't know and are unable to figure out the obvious, "dartying" is partying during the day. Darties are one of the stranger, drunker, more dangerous customs of America's college students, and no weekend has more of them than the weekend that just passed. At Notre Dame, this is the weekend of Pigtostal. With rumors of 4000 tickets sold, a $15,000 profit margin for the hosts, and something like 850 million kegs purchased, this darty is, as South Bend goes, the biggest of them all. My intention for this year was to go, observe, and then write a hilarious blog post about what a hot mess it was. But then, for reasons I cannot fathom, the Indiana state excise police decided to leave Bloomington, come to South Bend, and force them to cancel. Of course, this did not stop the students of our fair university from rising at the crack of dawn to congregate in dorm rooms, crappy off-campus apartments, and parking lots and drink themselves into oblivion. PiggyT may have been shut down, but near, far, wherever Domers are, the darties went on. At IU, this was the week of Little 5. Essentially, the Little 500 is an ordinary intramural bike race around which revolves the greatest darty/party week in the history of college. Take the ridiculousness of Pigtostal, blow it up about 700 times, and you've got around half the magnitude of Little 5. It is preposterous. Oh, and then Purdue has Grand Prix, but no one cares about that because it is literally nothing but the underachieving, sickly younger cousin of Little 5.

"But Sarah," you say, "I'm in high school! I don't have to worry about registering for classes, and darties sound to me basically like a really good way to kill yourself!" Well, grasshopper, first of all, we hate you for your simple class-schedule arrangement system, and secondly, you are wholly correct about darties. I've never seen so many people absent from 10 AM Sunday choir rehearsal in my life as I did yesterday. Luckily, though, for the kids of Logansport High School, this weekend provided its own biggest-of-the-big event: prom. You might think that, since I am not a high school student and did not, therefore, go to this year's LHS prom, I wouldn't have much to say about it. You, my friend, would be sorely mistaken. For one thing, my sister was prom chair, so I knew way too much about this prom from the get-go. And then yesterday came along, and I spent my entire day looking through prom pictures on Facebook. Upon exploring these photographs, I have so many thoughts. Firstly, it would appear that the dominant trend from my prom-going years has held up, and LHS prom continues to be a sober event. I am very proud of this fact. Way to go, Berries - this is the one time when you're actually classier than most of America! Cherish it!

But then there were the outfits. Oh, God. Over Christmas break, I spent several hours prom dress shopping with my sister, so I saw some hints of what would be popular this year. Even I, though, could not have predicted some of this foolishness. The first puzzling trend is the "high-low" dress. These monstrosities, which would be perfectly normal were it not for the giant chunk of fabric missing from the front of the dress, puzzle me to no end. It is my humble opinion that formalwear should never draw inspiration from the mullet, and these dresses are 100% business in the front, party in the back. Or maybe the opposite. Hm. Whatever. Either way, I'm not a fan. If you have awesome legs and want to show them off - which, by the way, was not the case with most of the high-low wearers I came across - just wear a short dress. If you want to show off your cool shoes, just pull your skirt up a little and show them off! It's're keeping the idea of the long skirt but completely eliminating the possibility of going to prom without shaving your legs. What a waste! Another trend I'm hoping is on its way out is the printed dress. Before the ten thousand people who've worn these in the past three years start a riot, it should be mentioned that the print dress can be done well. There were several print dresses, combined, since 2009, that I've liked. However, it's so easy to go over the top with the print dress. You start out wanting a simple floral and suddenly you're wearing what looks like the pelt of a cheetah whose fur was neon green and also made of tulle. A little bit of print goes a long way, folks. Finally, I've said it before but I'll say it again, you people have GOT to stop with the tanning. As the palest person to walk the earth, I understand the desire for a little color. Really, I do. But there comes a point at which you go from "healthy glow" to "I use Cheeto dust as bronzer." There is no surer way to make yourself look like an idiot than to go to prom, as a regular Caucasian female, with your skin nearly as dark as your date's black tux. (Oh, and on the topic of menswear, I am sick and tired of the white tuxedo. SICK OF IT! It screams, "I've lettered in multiple high school sports and am very important and douchey and I plan to major in sports science and I will one day be a high school gym teacher." Stop wearing it. If you simply can't bring yourself to wear black, go with something interesting. Gray is totally unexpected and wonderful. As for the red tux jacket that every LHS student and young alum has undoubtedly spotted on Facebook by now...I approve.)

So folks, there you have it, a brief discussion of the three biggest end-of-April institutions in the lives of America's youth. May your DARTing be successful, your darties slammin', and your proms free of white tuxedos.

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