“That Night” — Shreya Gulati ’19

I am going to my first college party.
You know, the kind with those men
Ogling and drooling over some girl’s dress,
Offering to buy her a drink,
Seduce her onto the dance floor,
Awkwardly jumping to the heavy beat of the music.

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We enter, and take it all in: the deafening music,
The size of this crowded club party,
The flashing lights on the dance floor,
The gleam in the eyes of these men,
The counters cluttering with empty or abandoned drinks,
The number of sequins on just one attention-seeking dress.


I myself was wearing a sequined-dress,
Not really paying attention to the music,
When someone handed me a drink.
Here, at this pointless party,
I was offered a drink by one of those men,
And now I am being seduced to the dance floor.


It starts to feel warm, so I drop my coat on the floor,
And now of course he is only looking at my dress.
I tried not to think about stories involving these men
And focused on the blaring music,
The few people that I should probably know at this party,
And the bit of white powder on the rim of my untouched drink.


While he (rarely) isn’t looking, I secretly empty the drink
Onto the feet of those bouncing around on the cement floor;
Suddenly sick of this college party,
Of how this man seems to be doing a case study on my dress,
Of the incessant reverberation of the music,
And of my taste in college men.


I mean, I have friends that are men.
Relenting, I let my guard down and drink
Until I can’t anymore, leaning close and talking loudly over the music
I toss my shoes aside and feel a chill as I put my bare feet on the floor,
Only slightly giddy and wishing I had at least tried to dress
Daringly to fit in, trying to remember the last time I actually went to a party.


I looked around, wondering why we hadn’t been busted from this floor
Yet soon the streamers and sequins begin to merge with the dresses
That are jumping around to bass-heavy music at some silly college party.