I’m really not sure exactly what I was expecting.
I had been to two Full Moons before, both of which were more or less the same, so the early money was on “not expecting much.”
But this is senior year–the one time it’s more or less okay to be naked and ask a freshman to make out, while you’re simultaneously trying to figure out what dorm she’s in so you can cross off “Wilbur” on a Bingo card. All in the name of, you know, tradition.
And what a tradition it is. Nudity. Body paint. DJ Lumo. It’s great and all, but as a senior, I was getting tired of it. The thing about traditions is that, by definition, they’re more or less the same thing every year. Think how downright un-American it would be to eat salmon and watch rugby on Thanksgiving. I have an uncle who would go into conniptions at the thought, and he wasn’t even raised in America. People get attached to traditions.
So things went on as usual. The lead up to FMOTQ wasn’t all that different from any other Stanford function–just with a bit more body paint. Talks of what rally gear to wear echoed down the cramped hallways and questions like “When should we start?” and “Who has the bottle opener?” made this oft-changing, yet annual event all the more familiar to me. There’s nothing like a Stanford tradition to make you feel like a freshman again.
If you’re unfamiliar with Full Moon, it goes something like this:
Hark! The clock strikes midnight, as the devilishly handsome senior locks eyes with an innocent, yet mature and worldly looking freshman.
Music thumps to the beats of their collective heart as they glide, seemingly effortlessly, through the throng of people, around the Tree and into each other’s open arms.
A caress of the chin.
Yearning for affection, and quite uninhibited, set free by the expectations of upholding this time-honored tradition (and perhaps the smallest encouragement from previous libations), he…
….invites her back to his room, and they spend the night talking, getting to know each other…. each other’s hopes…. each other’s dreams.
Nah, just kidding, they totally make out.
But such is tradition. This wasn’t my first rodeo; I knew more or less what to expect: The Band. The mouthwash. The body parts.
Everything followed the script of years past. We rolled out in a group, met the Band in White Plaza and danced. After a cursory inspection of our IDs, we moved toward the tables and stuffed fistfuls of candy and condoms into our pockets. You never know.
Hordes of people in varying states of undress stood around and waited ever awkwardly for the large projector to count down to midnight, presumably so they could “get their mack on.” I saw several of my friends naked and painted, casually maintaining eye contact the whole time. These are people I’ve had class with, I’ve shared meals with, even my little freshmen from when I was an RA last year.
Eye contact is key.
But I wasn’t surprised. I knew what was coming. I knew about the awkward interactions the morning after. I knew about the probable spike in mono on campus in the weeks to come. I knew how full Late Night would be.
In short, I knew Full Moon on the Quad.
What I didn’t know, and did not expect at all, was how attached I–I who had it figured out, I who had deciphered the ins and outs of FMOTQ, I who had thought just hours earlier how stale this tradition was getting–had grown into the tradition.
This was my last Full Moon on the Quad.
And now it’s over. I will never experience another one. Just like that.
As I begin my final year as an undergraduate, I’m starting to realize how much I’m going to miss Stanford. There is literally nowhere else in the universe that does what we did last night (The collective group kissing at midnight part, not the parts that might have happened after. That’s pretty common in the animal kingdom. But I digress).
What I’m saying is we have a special thing going here. Freshmen, don’t take this for granted. You have about 118 more weeks or so before graduation. Take part in these traditions, no matter how stale or boring you think they have become. Go to football games. Take classes that interest you. Join a group that does something you’ve never done before. Upperclassmen, this goes for you too. It’s not too late. Don’t be afraid to participate in some tradition, no matter how stale you may think it has gotten. Get out there, tap tradition on the shoulder and give it a nice consensual smooch.
Because before you know it, you’ll only have one more tradition: Wacky Walk.
And after that, I have no idea what to expect.