Doc (echsdoc) wrote in saintolaf,

The First Nighter, Vintage 1962

When I was a freshman at St Olaf, back in autumn of '62, one of the old traditions of the school was called the First Nighter. The school did a variety of social events then in order to break down the isolation and loneliness of the freshmen. This particular event was an evening of all blind dates, no exceptions. Everyone had to dress up in thhis/her finest, then head over to Hoyme Hall. Boys and girls were all lined up and taken through a doorway, where they met their dates. Then it was fancy dinners for all and a special event. Our year it was a performance of Oklahoma. Plenty of time was included for meeting and learning about our dates.

The nervousness everywhere was palpable. I can still remember the wait to see my surprise for the evening.

And you know something? There was an element of real cruelty in the air that night, too. The boys had what is called the Witch's Pot. Every boy anted in a quarter. The winner at the end of the evening was the guy in the corridor (Kildahl in my case) who had the least desirable date or the worst evening. He won the pot. It is a cruel and shameful act that is only mitigated by the fact that we knew for sure that the girls were doing the same thing in their dorms.

Sauce for the goose; sauce for the gander.

By the way, St. Olaf locked all girls in their dorms at ten o'clock. The guys were free to roam around all they wanted. The logic was that if they girls were locked up, who cared about what the guys were doing. Sweet, eh?
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