Rites of Spring, or Muumuu Weekend
For animal lovers, this is an observational study of lemmings. If you’re a policy wonk, this is an argument against direct democracy. Fashion enthusiasts should read this as my protest of a flawed trend. And if you’re a Vanderbilt alum, consider this a somber report on a tragedy that has befallen the campus since your departure.
Julian, Eric, Jacob (your name gets linked when you have a blog), and I all returned to Nashville this weekend for a little reunion, conveniently timed around Rites of Spring. We ate real BBQ and fake Mexican (though still an improvement over DC). We saw several good bands — I particularly liked Keller Williams, Drive-By Truckers, and Naughty by Nature (whose 5:50pm stage time was a disrespectful slot). We accidentally invented a new version of Aerobie tossing involving beer. We also later learned that the Aerobie must have fallen out of the public consciousness, as we attracted a group of frat guys in awe that we could toss a frisbee that far. We also saw some old friends. In short, a pretty good trip, except for one rather horrific realization: the muumuu is now in style.
Those who didn’t go to Arizona State or Auburn are usually unprepared for the intensity and sheer volume of attractiveness they encounter in their first visit to Vanderbilt. When I travel back from DC, I mentally prepare myself and it still takes my eyes several days to adjust. I visit friends who would have been a 6 of 10 when I was in college and they tell me to stop staring. But not this time!
Rites of Spring is an outdoor concert, and it was a beautiful weekend. Vanderbilt women, being largely of sorority persuasion, tend to use the weekend to debut the latest fashion style to the world. I’m not always a fan of their choices — the resurrection of the tube top, bras with the clear plastic straps, capri pants — but at least none of those styles dramatically interfered with the scale of attractiveness. In fact, the challenge of the tube top is that it stretches the scale: sure, if you have nice shoulders the tube top can lift you from a 6 to an 8, but if you don’t have nice shoulders you risk plummeting from 6 to 3. This is the peril of pressure-induced fashion trends! And still, the volatility of the tube top pales in comparison to the disaster that is the muumuu.
The muumuu is perhaps the worst of all worlds: it is like placing a price ceiling on attractiveness: everyone above a 5 becomes a 5 by wearing one, but no one below a 5 can become more attractive by wearing one. (And I may be generous at a 5 — remember the eye adjust thing.) I’m told that no one on campus wore this before Friday, and that it was some kind of spontaneous mass early adoption. Some wore them with bows. Some wore them with belt buckles. Why? WHY??? Try a google image search on muumuu: do you notice a theme? People in muumuus look (a) very, very large, (b) very, very large and pregnant, or (c) very, very large and male. One of the pictures even has a cow wearing a muumuu. If you have a figure, or anything even close to resembling an approximation of a figure, why would you destroy it so thoughtlessly? Surely there are other ways to feel comfortable on a breezy day? What happened to the summer dress? The bikini top? Even a t-shirt?
No, I’m not done! To further emphasize the point, consider that the muumuu is a Hawaiian invention. Anybody ever seen what a native Hawaiian woman (who didn’t leave the island) looks like? I did a google image search and this was the top result — from the Census Bureau!! Who thinks this is attractive? Yeah yeah, I know some critics think that sometimes women don’t seek validation in that way… but this is Vanderbilt we’re talking about, so you are wrong.
Okay, now I’m done.