For students who develop a Big Three inferiority complex as soon as acceptance letters roll in, the desire to perpetuate a “Work hard, play harder” Social Ivy image seems contradictory. Whether it’s double-fisting in the shower on Beta’s “State Day,” forgoing Pottruck and a Gia salad for a smoke sesh and a fried Oreo during Fling or pelting peers with Fresh Grocer’s stickiest fare on Hey Day, we use any excuse to experience college “the way it’s supposed to be.” As the traffic through Joseph Anthony’s tanning booths reaches peak volume and “Days ‘till CaNcUn” Facebook statuses dip into the single digits, the prime example of a desperate attempt at Penn-Gone-Wild is about to begin, just south of the border.
If there’s one thing that weighs Penn students down and keeps us from experiencing the MTV Spring Break of our childhood television-watching memories (aside from the Biology text book that you’ll “totally be too drunk to read anyway!”), it’s a failure to assimilate. Big dreams of hooking up with 14 people an hour, flashing swimmers from the balcony of a new friend’s hotel room and passing as “Ryan and Amber from LSU!” are squelched upon arriving at the airport and the realization that we are not, in fact, Penn State.
Because of an aversion to people who had “Spring Break Oohhh Nine” belly shirts specially made and gelled tips re-frosted for the occasion, a loco week in Mexico is something of an act to me. Hotel bars become Blarney, differing only in the choice of tequila shots over pints of Bud Light and the fact that there are a few people there who you don’t recognize (but probably should). Night clubs are split between those who get bottle service and those who try to jump up on the stage but slip down because they’re too sweaty from dancing to get any traction. If you weren’t friends on campus, you aren’t amigos in Mexico. And anyone who’s getting any action is probably in a relationship. It’s Philadelphia, just 40 degrees warmer.
From experience, there is a lack of satisfaction that comes from a trip like this one. Those seeking it are most likely to only find fulfillment upon returning home, sunburned and hungover and immediately uploading photos onto Facebook. But even captions like “OMG when was this? Who is that?! Sooo drunk!” and “Body shot!!!!!” don’t fool us. It wasn’t the best time you’ve ever had.
There is a moral here, which is that people who begin wild nights with dinner at La Fontana are not cut out for the life of a Spring Breaker. So enjoy your time in Mexico next week, but remember that upon your return, we won’t be fooled by your bronzed bodies. You’ll probably still reek of tequila.