For those who don’t know, 10/10 is the traditional Grinnellian drinking marathon party that begins in Norris and concludes on High Street. It’s a privilege that we , as self- governing adults, have earned, and is arguably one of the most talkedabout events on campus. And sometimes I feel weird about it.
Let me preface this by saying that I am not opposed to the idea of 10/10 on its own. It’s a cool concept— an outdoor moving party where everyone is invited and social barriers are broken down.
It’s the drinking culture that makes me uneasy. I’m not sub-free, and I have imbibed at each of the past festivities. But I’m also a one-drink wonder who doesn’t like to push limits, which immediately sets me apart from most of the other partygoers. It’s fun for a while, but once I realize that almost everyone around me is FUCKED UP, MAN, it’s isolating. I’m in the weird position of being able to remember having had a solid conversation with someone who the next day won’t even make eye contact with me. It’s like it didn’t happen.
There’s also the “marathon” analogy that is so often made. Usually it’s in the context of the phrase, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” which is sound advice to those who are prone to making the mistake of going too hard too fast and ending up in trouble. But “marathon” also implies that it’s a competition, and that not completing the full journey to High Street is a failure. I have never “made it” past Loose, and every year I have gone to bed with a sense of disappointment in myself, as if I have missed out on some quintessential college experience because there is something wrong with me that prevents me from being a party animal.
But I’ve also had some weird and wonderful 10/10 experiences, which should not be discounted. I’ve talked to people I would otherwise not have met, learned the difference between “flirting with” and “flirting at,” and tried my hand (and the rest of my body) at streaking. The positive energy is contagious, friends who have graduated are back, and the free food keeps on flowing. And I think it can be even better.
What I’m trying to convey is that we can make this a better community event that includes more people by reducing the emphasis on alcohol. This may be an unpopular opinion, but what if we rebranded 10/10 as a community event at which drinking is allowed but not a social obligation? More snacks and fewer kegs?
I also think we need a way to keep up the spirit of the party in a manner that encroaches less on people’s personal spaces. Yes, the loggias are an obvious semi-sheltered and lit venue for the sojourning partier, but using them as the main thoroughfare for 10/10 means that students living on North and South campuses who don’t wish to participate are still, in a sense, forced to do so. There is no obvious solution to this, but maybe moving the party to Mac Field and then to the various South campus beaches (assuming artificial lighting can be supplied) could allow for a compromise of a moving party that is not as directly disruptive to personal living spaces.
10/10 should be fun for as many people as possible, and we have the capacity to make that happen.