Remember that episode of “Skins” in which everyone goes to Frist and stuffs their faces with pizza? Well, maybe not, but a night out, when the music is just right and you’re squinting your eyes, will, at best, bear an optimistic resemblance to a Skins episode. (U.K. version. Let’s not speak of the American attempt.) After a night out, Frist happens, and we sit bleary-eyed on rickety wooden chairs in fluorescent lighting, eat fries and chicken tenders and forfeit any right we have to compare ourselves to the coolest kids on British television.
Frist past midnight reminds me of how suburban malls reminded Tina Fey of African watering holes. That scene in “Mean Girls” is a classic, and the analogy shouldn’t be belabored, but Frist is even less of a figurative comparison than the one Tina makes. Alcohol brings our behavior closer to animals’, and after enough people spill water at the water dispenser, there forms a small pool at the entrance of the servery.
Street flirting continues at Frist, and some men eat a lot to impress the women. Well, I’m not sure if it’s universally impressive when men eat a lot. I just asked my roommates their opinions, and one said that it was and the other that it wasn’t. Maybe it’s just that it makes for a good story the next morning. “Dude, do you want to hear what I ate last night?!” Well, yeah, I probably do want to hear about all the gross shit you ate — and that’s not sarcasm.
What does it mean that you ate a Studio 34 flatbread chicken pizza without cheese, but with buffalo sauce, pepper and garlic on top? It means that you took control of your night and made sure you ended up satisfied. I respect that. Other variables of a night out, especially since everyone is drunk and so damn slippery, are almost totally out of your control. But choosing to go to Studio 34 because it’s your favorite spot, and because you can customize your flatbread pizza, is a stance against letting any force outside of yourself drive your night. You walk yourself to Studio 34 (which is a totally valid late-night option that is terribly underrated — more variety than Frist, a pretty sexy underground vibe and much better for when you want to avoid crowds), spend a small sum of money (or not: “I didn’t buy a drink because there was a water fountain and I was being economical, lol”) and suddenly everything is mostly the way you want it.
Sometimes all you need is to stall for time while angling for a hookup. You suggest getting food and hope that walking back from the Street to “the Wa” or “Frist” will be enough time to convince them to redirect to your room. If it is enough time, you end up buying a sandwich at the Wa, bringing it back to a room in Forbes, stuffing your faces and then eating each others’. Honey mustard kisses and crumbs on his collar.
I’ve heard that Forbes girls lure boys back to the 08540 with the promise of a trip to the Wa. A friend in Forbes told me the story of a boy who let his sandwich get cold so he could make out with her instead. I’m impressed that she won the “girl vs. sandwich” challenge — I’m pretty sure I lost that battle last night. I swear I wasn’t trying too hard, barely at all. But one “Oh no, it’s totally fine; go get a sandwich” and before I blinked, he was sprinting up Washington Road. I respect that.
There are other options for post-Street eating — there always are, and I’ve seen people make some difficult decisions at 1:40 a.m. To Frist or to Haven, that is the question. You hear word of free pizza at Frist, the usual suspect, but that can’t distract you. You can jump-hop-skip, but it’ll still take you 12 minutes minimum to get to Hoagie Haven before it closes.
Friday nights mean that the Frist Gallery is closed, but people are only peripherally cognizant of this, so hordes inevitably end up in Frist anyway, flooding the C-store with business. Girls sit on the TV couches cross-legged, swapping snacks with their friends; everything is delicious and, if you choose healthy options, totally Zen.
You go home and hydrate responsibly with the full bottle of water you always leave at your bedside table before going out, seeking comfort in the jar of Nutella that sometimes finds its way to the same table. You wake up with the smell of hazelnut in your hair and a hint of chocolate on your pointer finger. You are a champion.