You never walk alone: the story of a failed night out at Brown

From Bro-Po to over-crowded basements

The sky was an oppressive shade of grey as I stepped out of my dorm last Saturday night, yet I was still intoxicated by the promise of the night. Saturday nights in college were supposed to be special. I’d seen the movies and I knew for a fact that the streets ran golden with thick currents of beer. In my mind, it was a foregone conclusion that I’d meet up with an eclectic group of friends and we’d join hands under the flickering rhythm of the strobe lights, dancing through the night.

This is far from what happened. By midnight I was back outside my dorm, watching some small dude puke into a bush. How did it come down to this?

It’s best I start at the beginning. “Hey, do you know about anything going on tonight?” This was the question my friends had been asking for most of the evening. Before our squad ever stepped out the door it was clear that we were lost, directionless, and in need of some party-messiah to shepherd us into the promised basement. Alas, no such savior arose. But somehow, against all odds, we found our way to a frat party. It looked promising — the music was pumping, the drin…wait is that the Bro-Po? Yep…shut down.

Luckily, we heard the sounds of a Buxton rave drifting through the air. Maybe, just maybe the promise we held in our hearts would materialize into an actual party. That night, myself and a few others were lucky enough to make it through the doors but soon we saw that all too recognizable beam of light, followed by a “what’s going on here.” The Bro-Po. They’re a persistent bunch — no sooner had they shut down that frat party than they were knocking on the door of Buxton. Needless to say, we ran off like scared little dogs and took to the streets once more.

Next stop, some random basement room in Keeney. Hot, sticky and crowded, not the place you want to spend too much time but it had to do. Unsurprisingly the room, tasked with supplying several dozen of us, quickly ran out of dancing juice.

Once again that eternal question was posed: “Yo, so where’s the party?” Someone suggested that we head to the crew house. I said that they have a room designated solely for puking. We didn’t go to the crew house. In one final desperate attempt to salvage what remained of our precious Saturday night we headed to New Pembroke. After what surely must have been a 30-minute walk we arrived only to find that everyone had gone to sleep.

Despite our best efforts, our night was fast drawing to a close. We made one more stop off at Zeta Delta Xi — you know, the frat with the blue swing. But there is only so much swinging one can do. As party goers from across campus downed tools and started heading back to Jo's or back to bed, we filled into their ranks. There were sorry looking girls whose layers of makeup had not got them a single hook-up, and guys who put on their one stylish pair of pants and had nothing to show for it. Tragic, absolutely tragic.

On the walk back home, I was unsettled. Was this really what it would be like? Was this all that the next 4 years had in store? Should I have gone to UVA or Providence College? (Okay, hard no on the last one). Maybe I expected too much. After-all, those 20 minutes in Buxton had been absolutely crazy and Keeney, ah Keeney, reminding us that things can only get better and really, where else would you find swings outside a frat?

Yes, Brown may not have the best party scene but it’s our party scene. Walking home from a failed not out I didn’t just see a small dude puking into a bush, but also a troop of stoners laughing at the wind, objectively terrible skateboarders trying to shoot a video and a spontaneous acapella group drunkenly singing without a care in the world. Perhaps this was the eclectic mix of youth I’d been hoping to bump into all night. Out there, walking around on a cold New England night, I felt right at home.

My advice; lower your expectations, lace up your running shoes, get out there and kill the night. You may end up aimlessly walking around campus far too early and nowhere near drunk enough, but rest assured, you’ll never walk alone.

Brown University