MTV’s Spring Break: Expectations Vs. Reality

First things first: before you ask “but Molly, isn’t Spring Break just a trash-cation for college-aged garbage people?” Yes. Yes it is. I should know – I used to be a college-aged garbage person.

But before I was a college-aged garbage person, I was an impressionable tween learning about my world through MTV. I have no idea if MTV is still considered cool or relevant to today’s teenagers. I just know that when I was 12, MTV was “all that.” My parents didn’t love it, but I was like “guys, they’re marketing to ME! Now, can you please buy me some Clean & Clear and a Seventeen Magazine subscription? I’m told I want both.”

Late 90s, early 2000s MTV is where I learned about the American rite of passage known as Spring Break. This, coupled with watching P.C.U. on cable, formed my basis of what college was like in the 1990s. Imagine my surprise during my 2008 trip to Panama City Beach, when I learned that Spring Break is nothing like I was led to believe.

Expectation: When you go on Spring Break MTV will be there, filming everything.

Reality: A tenth-level MTV affiliate, like MTV-Z or MTV-X, will be there. But creepy old men will also be there filming everything. Yeah, the internet gets pretty weird in the 2000s.

Expectation: You won’t just dance to awesome party jams, you’ll BE the awesome party jams on Say What Karaoke. By the way, Say What Karaoke is where I learned the lyrics to “Too Close” when I was just old enough to know what it meant.

Reality: Say What Karaoke goes the way of the dinosaur by the time you’re in college. However, your first night in Panama you will find a seedy karaoke dive bar with cheap drinks, and you’ll go there every night. The troll-looking bouncer becomes obsessed with one of your friends and for some reason, you find this not just okay but hilarious. But seriously, college kids: if it still exists, you should go to the cheap karaoke bar in Panama. It’s a blast. It’s just not Say What Karaoke-level glamorous.

Expectation: You will spend the weekend in the sand and sun, surrounded at all times by a crowd of fun-loving drunk college kids.

Reality: No, that’s all true. But all of those things are awful.

Expectation: You’ll make friends with college kids from around the nation and maybe the world!

Reality: Here is a rundown of “friends” we made on spring break:

  •  The kids from Ohio who taught us all the OH-IO cheer. Actually, they were cool but it only goes downhill from here.
  • That troll-looking Karaoke Bar guy.
  • These guys we met the first night at the karaoke bar after a 24-hour sleepless bus ride. They were from the South and took us to a diner for grits. Then they took us to see the high-rise the one kid’s dad owned; they were staying in the penthouse. Then they were like oops, that driver we said would take you home just left and it’s 5am, guess you all have to stay! TL;DR I got kidnapped.
  • The girls from our college’s most vicious sorority, whose room was next to ours. When my friend accidentally went into their room and fell asleep like Drunk Goldilocks, she woke up to one of the girls saying “If I were you, I would kill myself.” My friend responded “If I were you, I wouldn’t be such a bitch.”
  • The Christians in a white van who offer free rides to people.
  • The DJ who was from the same super-tiny town as my friend, which gave us a pass to request See You Again by Miley Cyrus more times than was even okay in 2008.

Expectation: You’ll probably run into Jesse Camp!

Reality:  Nah. You’ll run into a lot of people talking like Jesse Camp. That’s because they’re all wasted. The one that stands out in my mind is a girl in our hotel lobby raving about the Baconator she just bought. I congratulated her without any irony, because she was really proud of that Baconator.

Expectation: You will observe and take part in all kinds of wacky contests and win fabulous prizes!

Reality: The contests all involve things like mud and jello, and the grand prize is an extra-large giveaway t-shirt that for some reason people will go apeshit for.

Expectation: College spring break is the best you’ll ever look in your life, just like those girls on Fashionably Loud.

Reality: Let me break it down for you:

After an hour of pre-trip bathing suit shopping, my friends and I were so miserable that we decided we must have low blood sugar. We bought some Auntie Anne’s pretzels, signed up for department store credit cards that we should NOT have signed up for in order to get a 20% discount, then wore our bathing suits occasionally at our house to get used to them. This is probably not an advisable bikini-body plan.

I was also day-glo pale the whole time, because even in Florida, even on Spring Break, I’m still a freckly redhead. And I had giant bags under my eyes because bars closed at 4 A.M. and the free band on the beach started playing at 8 A.M.

Finally, the week before Spring Break I decided I wanted my hair to be more manageable. Do you see where this is going? I went to the bargain salon chain in our small college town for something between chin and shoulder length. This was the second of three times in my life when “between chin and shoulder length” ended up being ear length. I don’t know if it’s my hair type or if all of these hairdressers went to some weird anatomy class where your ear is located somewhere after your face. Then I had to go back the next day and get it cut even shorter because the right side was two inches shorter than the left.

Anyway, I looked sort of appealing, in the same way Dorothy Hamill did and also with the same haircut. It was the haircut every mother hopes her daughter will get right before Spring Break.

So yeah. I did not, in fact, belong on Fashionably Loud, even from far away in one of the crowd scenes.

Expectation:  You will be so pumped for SPRING BREAK! that you’ll have energy for days.

Reality: After a full day on a bus, which kicked off with you scurrying down a gully on a bathroom stop to get shots at an Applebee’s, you will still be shouting “SPRING BREAK!” That’s because you’ll have energy drinks for days. Energy DRINKS. One of my friend had a bunch of Red Bulls then totally tweaked out. He called us in a sweaty panic because his wallet was missing. His wallet was in his bed.

Expectation: One of the hottest bands of the 90s will play for free!

Reality: One of the hottest bands of the 90s WILL play for free. At 8 in the freaking morning. In 2008.

Expectation: You’ll have a crazy week full of wacky stories that you and your friends will laugh about for years to come.

Reality: That’s completely true. But you’re sort of laughing at yourself instead of with yourself, if that makes sense.

 

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Playlist of the Month: College Party Jams

When we think about March, we think about March Madness, St. Patrick’s Day, and spring break. And you know what all of those things have in common? College parties! Those days, there were certain songs that would come on at the bar or a party, and everyone would stop what they were doing and start singing and dancing. The kind of jams that made everyone say “that’s my jam!” Here are our top party jams from our college days:

And check out the whole playlist on Spotify!
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Traci’s Picks

Sound of Settling – Death Cab for Cutie

I’d like to preface these song choices by saying I went to a liberal arts college. Like the kind of college where the Princeton Review ranks it in the top 5 for best theatre, most LGBT friendly, hipster types. Emphasis on the latter. Our school is notorious for the amount of hipsters and their love for indie bands. In saying this, my teenybopper self was influenced by my indie music-leaning friends. During my semester studying abroad in the Netherlands, a few of my pals were looking into traveling to Barcelona, Spain for a Death Cab concert. I admit I wasn’t really a fan of theirs, but I knew a few songs, and thought it would be cool to see an American band play in Europe. So we went, and it was awesome, and this song became one of our anthems throughout the semester.

La Vie Boheme – Rent

Again, we went to a theater school. Sophomore year, my friends and I went to see the Rent movie, and it was a big deal. Like everyone had an opinion on it. Needless to say, Rent is the Titanic of the theater world, as in everyone has seen it and/or knows the music. There were many a night when La Vie Boheme would come on and I wasn’t the only one who knew all the words.

Forgot About Dre – Dr. Dre and Eminem

Speaking of knowing all the words, I kill at this. Like, I will sing it at karaoke (as seen in a previous post). But my friends and I (specifically my friend Ryan) would each take a part and throw it down. How can you not get hype with the first few beats of this song?

Leavin’ – Jesse McCartney

Our school has a ‘study abroad’ program in Los Angeles, which two of my BFFs took part in. So spring break senior year, I visited them out here for the week, and this music video had just come out. We got so obsessed with it that we played it on repeat throughout the duration of my visit.

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playing jmac in sync

Folgers Theme Song

Um this sounds like a really weird pick, but there was a period of time Sophomore year that we got hooked on this jingle and played it all the time. All. The. Time. Plus, it’s sung by Rockapella, the official a cappella group of the 90s.

Molly’s Picks

Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey

This is part of a larger category of classic rock anthems that every generation of college kids seems to adopt. Other picks in this vein include Jesse’s Girl, Centerfold, Roxanne, Small Town, Paradise City, Can’t Fight This Feeling… if it was included on the As Sold On TV Cd “Monster Ballads” in the 90s, or was by a one-word 70s/80s band like Journey or Foreigner, you played it, you loved it, and everyone, from freshmen to elderly townies, sang along.

All These Things I’ve Done – The Killers

I should probably clarify that I was in college from 2004 – 2008. Our college dance bar, which a friend-of-a-friend described as “going into a closet with 30 other people, turning the music way up, then shooting yourself in the foot” (read: it was awesome), used to play this towards the end of every night. I don’t know why. It was usually right before “These Are The Days” by Natalie Merchant, which two different sororities warred over as “their” theme song. I can’t explain what makes this such a great party song, but it’s really fun to sing and dance along to.

One More Time – Daft Punk

I need to blow my cover here. Before I was the well-educated and classy lady I am today (ha, just kidding…) I lived in a college party house. It probably deserves its own post. If nobody in our group of friends had announced a party for the night, then it was at our house. My roomies were four unusually funny and beautiful ladies who had a beer pong room, a bar that we built ourselves, and a pretty decent stereo. One More Time was almost always on our playlist, because it got everyone doing ridiculous dance moves that are named for household chores (mowing the lawn, putting away laundry, sweeping the floor…).

Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too – Say Anything

Our party mixes were a weird assortment of oldies/classic rock, current top 40 hits, filthy hip-hop, and whatever indie stuff we were into at the time. I was lucky to have friends who loved finding new bands and music, so there were always fresh additions to our playlists. My college crew was especially into any song that was horrifically dirty, particularly if you could illustrate it with disgusting interpretive dance moves. This one – and many others by Say Anything, like Every Man Has A Molly (which everyone always sang at me) and Alive With The Glory Of Love- fit the bill. I have fond memories of singing this really loud on our street on the way to the bar, with my sincerest apologies to the “real people” who lived next door to us.  The songs have nothing to do with each other, but on one of our mixes this was right before Jude Law And A Semester Abroad by Brand New, which was always fun to sing tauntingly to whomever had a significant other abroad that semester.

School Spirit – Kanye West

I needed just one song to illustrate my college-aged love for hip hop, and this was the most collegiate. Kanye factored heavily into our playlists and power hours, and I still feel like dancing when Gold Digger comes on. Another favorite was The Gray Album, a mashup of Jay-Z’s The Black Album and the Beatles’ white album.