Hotty Toddy: the Ole Miss experience
We get into Oxford around 9:30 Friday night and check into our room. Oxford is the kind of town that your 22 year old brother and your grandmother would both love. It's quaint, with lots of local restaurants and shops around the main square. And on Friday and Saturday night it's full of drunk college students.
We are going to a place called The Library. April, who is 31 but looks 25, asks some students how to get to there by shouting at them, "Hey kids, which way is The Library?" At 27, I'm decidedly not ready to call 21 year olds kids. They look confused by this but point us in the right direction.
The Mustache Band is playing at The Library. Because of this there's a $20 cover. $20?? How many college students pay that much money to get into a bar on Friday night? At Ole Miss, hundreds of them.
The Mustache Band is playing Sammy Kershaw's "Queen of my Doublewide Trailer." I no longer care about the cover. In Nashville, almost every bar has live music, but rarely do you hear the early 90s stuff, the country music of my childhood... John Deere Green, Seminole Wind. Bands on Broadway play Rascal Flatts and Jason Aldean. I once paid the band at Paradise Park $40 to play "Straight Tequila Nights." My boyfriend, an Illinois grad, points out that no one at his school would have known these songs. I agree that a majority of Vanderbilt students wouldn't either.
Queen of my Doublewide Trailer also happens to contain the most romantic line in country music history: "Honey let's just go on home and have some onion rings and watch TV."
I already told you how not to get a date, but the most likely outcome of a guy whispering that in my ear is marriage.
The Mustache Band
We moved from the country section of the Library into an open air room playing rap music. There are 2 or 3 huge Ole miss basketball players in here dancing. Easily the tallest guy I've ever seen is creeping up on April while she dances. She comes up to his knees. The guys in our group agree that her boyfriend is on his own if things get sketchy.
Bars close super early in Oxford so we leave and try to buy beer at the gas station, where we learn that you can't buy beer after midnight. And you can't buy cold beer ever. Defeated, we head back to our room and fall asleep.
Around 3am I am woken up by an angry man yelling outside our room. It seems he caught his poor underage son trying to sneak into the hotel room drunk. The conversation is a violent, and one-sided, mix of the following:
"You f-ing moron. You dumbsh-t. Where were you drinking?" - and most alarmingly- "Now I'm going to have to take you to the hospital."
I think we are going to find a body out there in the morning. Hey kid, if you're reading this, please let us know you're okay. And exactly where DID you get drunk? Because we couldn't find any alcohol after 1am.
The next morning is ideal tailgating weather. We get brunch at City Grocery and then walk toward campus. I'm wearing a Vanderbilt shirt and keep hearing "Go Dores" from Vandy and Ole Miss fans alike. We stop along the way to meet up with friends staying at a house near campus. In the living room is this painting:
I take that as a good sign.
The Grove is truly magnificent. The tents are so densely packed that it can be difficult to move between them. And it's true: almost everyone is well-dressed and attractive. Most guys are wearing khakis and a button down. The girls' tailgating attire varies from jeans to dresses. Some of the co-eds look like they haven't changed from going out last night:
The tailgate next to ours features a chandelier and a four piece band. Our tailgate has an enormous flatscreen with the UT/Mizzou game on.
4 piece band
Ole Miss fans
One of the girls in the group, Whitney, was a DG at Ole Miss so we walk over to her sorority house. It's one of those huge Southern sorority houses that I wish we'd had at Vanderbilt. She takes us upstairs to use the bathroom, which must be what bathrooms look like in heaven. It's well-lit and surrounded by mirrors. There are 6-7 girls fixing their hair and putting on makeup. I ask one of the house girls what this looks like on a Saturday night. She says they bring drinks, play music, dance and get ready together. It's the sorority version of a baseball locker room.
We leave the DG house so I can accomplish my only goal of the day: get the hotty toddy cheer on camera. My Vanderbilt shirt is making everyone suspicious of being filmed so I ask my friend Ryan to try. He succeeds spectacularly. Thank you ladies.
At this point we've been drinking for 6 hours and decide to head to the stadium. But not before we take whiskey shots from airplane bottles. My parents are so proud of me.
I'm the only girl with a ticket so we leave the rest of the group tailgating and walk over. When we arrive at our section, I have quite possibly the least mature conversation of my life. The Ole Miss fan at the beginning of our row looks at me and says, "You aren't sitting in this section, are you?" I say yes and he says, hotty toddy girl. So I say, go Dores. I'm five people down the row when he yells back, your colors are ugly. (Black and gold is ugly? In a conference where UT orange exists?) I tell him he's ugly. Then he says that I'm ugly. Now I feel bad for calling him ugly since he's blind.
Vandy miraculously pulls out a win with Aaron Rogers cheering from the sidelines. It's a great game, sitting in Oxford on a clear Saturday night surrounded by beautiful Ole Miss fans. Observing the hedges that run alongside the field, Ryan, a Michigan fan, turns to me and says, the SEC likes a very groomed shrubbery. Thinking this is a metaphor, I agree...
Yes, yes we do.