Jesse Tise

Seeing the words “Reed College,” local readers might expect me to comment on its controversies, protests, and scandals. But this is a party column, and whatever injustices there may be in the world, the party life lives on. And as I continued down another winding boulevard with roundabouts and other misplaced hazards, I knew I was attending a celebration imbued with refinement, and my hypothesis was confirmed as I pulled into the Hogwartsian campus.

I had instructions to meet my chaperone at the library, where I was greeted with a table of sammich fixin’s: peanut butter (both EXTRA creamy and EXTRA crunchy), almond butter (which I don’t recommend), Nutella (because Reedies are worldly), jellies, cinnebread, raisin bread, numerous brands of white bread, and a garbage bag of trail mix in a box. Assuming this to be the spread, I made the finest of nut butter/jelly sandwiches. Luckily, I finished my premature gorging before my chaperone arrived and pointed out that it was finals week, and the library had been kept open for current students to feed their young, impressionable minds with books, nut butters, and stimulants. The alumni holiday feast took place several stone buildings away, where I would soon learn I had underdressed.

Knowing we were attending a party at a liberal arts college, I dressed for maximum cuteness: black leggings, sweater “dress,” ankle boots, and fuzzy white knee socks rolled to the edge of my boots. Adorability factor: +10. The other partygoers dressed in their gala finest—tuxedoes, ball gowns, capes, and kilts. Kilts? But of course. An English gentleman in a three-piece suit with a pair of braided pigtails? It would all seem absurd without him.

Before us stretched what seemed an endless expanse of free wine, prosciutto-wrapped fingerling potatoes, cheeses (including multiple kinds of brie, because one just wasn’t enough), and other worldly hors d’oeuvres. Naturally, I let no dish go untried—twice to be sure of quality. Though all other attendees seemed to handle their gluttony and spirits with poise, I wasted little time in failing to balance a wine glass and abundantly stacked plate, spilling both while maintaining eye contact with a buff meatball boy. In the performing arts underbelly of stand-up, I’m an elite fop, but in this world, I was quickly revealed to be the most basic of bitches.

After a few artfully avoided conversations, we were ushered into the main hall, where the dinner banquet had been set. More food after hors d’oeuvres? What strange land is this? Bagpipes? Why not bagpipes? “Let us stand!” And stand we did for a procession of cloaked mages and a boar’s head (“rarest dish in all the land”), with a carol sung to its honor—because white people love cults. I would be remiss not to mention feeling I had been cast in the sequel to Get Out.

All the same, I enjoyed a lovely three-hour dinner served with a side of lively conversation about philosophy and privilege, earning 10 points out of 10.