Rally gear: encouraged. Pre-gaming: necessary. Underwear: optional.
No, this is not an erotic rave but instead an annual campus tradition. Full Moon on the Quad (FMOTQ) began as a quaint tradition in the early 1900s when senior boys would present freshman girls with a flower before giving them a kiss on the cheek as a chivalrous way to welcome them to the Farm. Over the years, FMOTQ has evolved, but still helps welcome freshmen to the community.
FMOTQ took place last Thursday and officially began with a concert at Old Union featuring DJ A-Trak. Even with the music’s draw, it appeared to me that the event was mostly attended by freshmen and a clan of naked upperclassmen that I’m sure was not there to watch the band.
Entering the Quad was more like going to the airport than to a make-out fest; barricades corralled us to ID checkpoints, and there was security everywhere. Nobody wanted to have random Palo Alto residents joining in, so these extra precautions were met without protest.
On one side of the Quad, Memorial Church was fully lit, and on the other, a giant screen counted down to midnight when the kissing would begin. Tables covered in condoms, mouthwash and signs about the importance of consent lined the entrance to the event. Many of the attendees were sporting FMOTQ bro-tanks featuring a bingo board displaying the names of different cohorts within the student body one might kiss, for instance, a freshman, the Tree or a Dollie. Others made their own bingo boards to wear around their necks.
The crowd began filing in soon after 11:00 p.m., but the scene was pretty subdued until the Band rolled in around 11:30 p.m.. They kept the crowd dancing and sweating until 11:55 p.m., when students were treated to a movie reel of famous kisses. A couple of students glanced up for pointers, but everyone else just waited for the countdown to conclude.
At the stroke of midnight, people sprung together. Kissing commenced between seniors and freshmen, sophomores and juniors, boyfriends and girlfriends, best friends, boys and girls, boys and boys, band geeks and cheerleaders.
It seemed very awkward at first, and there were big groups of students afraid to leave their friends, but after the first few minutes, it was clear that there was nothing to lose. Eye contact was enough in most situations, but people still made valiant efforts to use their best pick-up lines.
For reasons still unclear to me, a significant number of people did not want to make out with hoards of drunken strangers. However, the observers gave foolproof rejections perfect for any time you don’t want to pucker up.
After a while, vodka-flavored saliva loses its appeal, so most people headed toward the exit by the 12:45 a.m. conclusion.
The next morning, the talk around the breakfast table revolved around everyone’s magic numbers. The general consensus was that three kisses was respectable, five to nine was impressive and double-digits were just gross.
There were a lot of awkward hellos in the dining hall and a lot more faces around campus that seemed vaguely familiar. Otherwise, it was just another beautiful day at Stanford.