The Gray Area: Dancing around the Centre grind


By GRAY WHITSETT – COLUMNIST

I’d be willing to wager that upward of 95 percent of Centre students have, at one point or another, frequented the institutions we collectively and affectionately refer to as “the Houses.”

Nearly every new student during the opening weeks of their Centre career at least samples them, and a healthy amount continue the practice.

In general, as the years go by, people tend to taper off somewhat in how much they “go out,” but the average remains sizable.

To this, I say great. To this, I say awesome. You love it. I love it. A lot of us love it.

I could make up some elaborate explanation as to why it’s healthy for us to be able to blow off steam, unburdening our minds and releasing endorphins, but let’s be honest – it’s just plain fun.

But does it all have to revolve around grinding?

We talk a lot about alcohol abuse and responsible drinking during our college years.

No doubt, we’ve all encountered a situation, whether it was ourselves or a friend, in which alcohol has been a factor in a long stream of poor decisions.

But honestly, how are we to blame them when the primary – and nearly only – form of party on campus is characterized by a dance floor packed full of people grating on one another, “accidently” rubbing up against a genital or two while tasting the Burnetts and sweat in the air and dancing to songs as loud as they are bland.

To a sober patron, it must surely resemble something like a cathartic exorcism.

But hey, I get it. Like I said, it’s fun. I’d be a hypocrite if I said I wanted it abolished. And I certainly take no moral opposition to it, though there are surely those who would.

But while what I describe is hopefully understood as dramatic, there’s a nugget of truth to it.

The party culture we generally promote is a domineering and uncompromising one. It’s very difficult to entertain a group of partygoers on a Friday or Saturday night if there are no basses being dropped or crotches being affected.

By no means is this an attack on the fraternities who throw these parties. On the contrary, let me take this moment to applaud your efforts.

You welcomingly usher in hordes of usually unappreciative and sometimes destructive students into a place where you call home, perform ritual, and hold Chapter.

The Houses are a product of a communal mandate, and every year this culture is put to referendum and every year it is overwhelmingly validated.

To many, this may sound needless. And admittedly, there are bigger problems in life than ranting about dance and party habits.

But I urge you to at least consider the following. While I wholeheartedly confess my enjoyment of the current norm, is it really something we want as the standard?

It seems to appeal to a select group of people and forces all others to get in line or get out.

And the people to whom it appeals aren’t even necessarily the most fun or the best drinkers. Isn’t this better suited as an enjoyable, exhilarating, but uncommon practice?

It feels a bit like having dessert at every meal. It tastes great, but at some point I need a little substance.

Maybe I’m nuts, but there has to be a happy, popular, and pleasurable medium between a SAC event and Grindhouse. And I would much rather this be the norm.

But such a change has to come from the partygoers, not the party throwers, because no one is going to host an event that is intentionally not what the public desires.

So, is it that ridiculous of a suggestion to allow there to be another type of party, another type of dancing that makes up in diversity and ingenuity what it lacks in sweat and claustrophobia?


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