I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it smells.
God awful if you’re sober.
Like a drunk girl’s tears, like a frat boy’s pride, like the dedication it took to light a single cigarette in these 30 mph winds.
It smells like sweaty girls dancing on tables, like one night stands with the person you said you would never get with again, like forgetting to close your tab out and buying a round for the whole bar by accident.
It smells like block – we don’t know who we’re playing but we’re damn sure we can out-drink them.
It smells like the four pairs of shoes I ruined this semester from icing out drinks on myself without really noticing.
It smells like fear.
Fearful visitors who are scared they won’t make it ‘til noon.
It smells like finals week, but not your average finals week.
The type of finals week where we spent 40 hours in the library thanks to the addy we popped, took the test, then went straight to the bar to clear our slate of the worthless knowledge we crammed and regurgitated no less than 20 minutes ago, so we can be fresh for our test two days from now.
It smells like ice.
Not only the cubes in our cup that we’re about to throw on the floor before chugging our drinks, but the sheets covering the pavement we figure skated on to get here.
It smells like me getting carried out of a bar on Friday at 7 p.m. because “It’s happy hour,” and my brother getting carried out the very next day because he turned 21.
It smells like the type of friends who will carry you out and bring you a bagel the next morning, because you’ll be carrying them next weekend.
It smells like lies, but only the classic ones like, “I’m only going out for half an hour tonight” and staying ‘til close…then going to more parties.
It smells like embarrassment, like taking-your-shirt-off-on-stage embarrassment, like laughable embarrassment, like I’m-never-drinking-again-until-tonight embarrassment.
Yeah, that’s the smell, and it’s as bad as it gets.
But if I could bottle it and sell it as perfume, I know 40,000 kids who would line up to buy it, plus the 40,000,000 alumni who would not only buy it, but cherish it, and probably endorse it.
This is college, and this is our favorite frat house.