For years, we are told that manners matter – that politeness and niceties may seem trivial, but in fact communicate much about our values and upbringing.

Freshmen, you’ve lived at home for 18 years and, in that time, your parents have ingrained in you the basics of etiquette that allow you to function in society. Chew with your mouth closed. Keep your elbows off the table. Maybe even how to use all the different utensils at a fancy restaurant.

But there are also things your parents didn’t teach you, either because they didn’t know them or because they chose to ignore their existence. I’m talking, of course, about party manners. So, gather round, freshmen, and learn how to make yourselves welcome in our endowments and apartments.

Always remember that upperclassmen know who you are – you constantly telegraph it. Walking across campus, you look up when the planes fly overhead. It’s obvious that you took the time before your 8:50 class to actually blow-dry your hair straight.

It’s no different on Friday or Saturday nights. We can see you coming a mile away, with your massive herds of 20 girls in tight black pants and brightly colored tank tops. Up on the rooftops, it’s a senior’s world and when we graciously allow you into it, you have to play by our rules.

If you want to feel remotely welcome, please don’t show up with your entire Harbin floor. It doesn’t make you look cool or popular; it makes us more likely to tell you to get out. If you actually do know the hosts and they specifically invite you, feel free to bring a friend or two, but not your entire Problem of God section.

Many times, my dear freshmen, you show up at our parties and fit in perfectly – because they’re themed parties. We dressed up to look trashy as a joke among friends, you did it because you thought it looked cool. If you find that you’ve come to a party where all the seniors are laughing at how silly they look and you feel your outfit is eerily similar, for the love of God, get rid of it.

You must understand that, unlike you, we aren’t just interested in alcohol. We’re more interested in our friends and the fact that we’re celebrating something, a birthday perhaps. If you find out that the soiree you’ve discovered is for a specific purpose like that, it would be really cool if you’d find the girl in the sparkly crown and wish her a happy birthday. Do that and there’s a good chance you’ll become known as “that really cool, thoughtful freshman” and not one of the many jerks who showed up, drank our beer, trashed our apartment and left.

Believe us when we tell you the party is kicked. If the keg is obviously empty and so are the bottles on the kitchen table, under no circumstances should you go searching for more alcohol. You want to open the fridge and see if anything is in there? Fine, even though it’s rude, go ahead. But for some reason, there are those among you who feel it’s acceptable to ransack cabinets, vegetable drawers and freezers, looking for booze and even taking food. You do that and you deserve it if one of the hosts goes ballistic on you. You also deserve whatever you get if you steal our silverware, dishes or glasses. There are 200 plastic cups out there, what makes you think you are special enough to get something made out of glass that you will probably break, cutting several bystanders and leaving crushed shards on the sidewalk for days to come?

Even if the rumors of more alcohol hidden in the bedrooms are true, you have absolutely no right to it whatsoever. What gives you the impression that you can legitimately rummage through personal belongings looking for hypothetical beer?

As a general rule, only people who are legitimately close friends of the housemates have a right to ask for anything at a party. Having an RA who lived across the hall from the host’s freshman year roommate last semester when he was in temporary housing after coming back from abroad does not count as knowing the hosts.

You, as a freshman, are allowed to be outside or in the living room. You can go to the bathroom too, but that’s it. I don’t want you flirting with some guy in my upstairs hallway. I don’t want you leaning on my door, talking on your cell phone. I certainly don’t want you touching my computer or my clothes, and don’t you even think about passing out in my bed and throwing up. The only people allowed further into my home than the bathroom are those who can list the names and ages of my siblings.

This is my party and you’re lucky enough to have been allowed in, so don’t whine about the conditions. If we’re running low and want to have a sassy girl ID at the keg, that’s our prerogative. And maybe, if you’re lucky and you behave yourself, we won’t begrudge you being there. Not too much, at least.

Mary Goundrey is a senior in the College and a Contributing Editor for THE HOYA. The Unforgiving Minute appears every other Tuesday.

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