Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to strip and swim. That’s just an easy way to get yourself arrested. Swimming naked in the middle of your school won’t guarantee that you’ll find a girlfriend, but taking risks, being spontaneous, embracing the unknown and doing everything I didn’t during my first week at college will.
During my first week at Florida State University, I left my dorm to go to class. I only left my dorm to go to class. When my parents dropped me off, they went gung-ho at Publix, so I was stocked with enough Top Ramen and Kraft Easy Mac to feed a small army for a month. I figured that my reserve could last me all semester. Mac-and-cheese, class, ramen, class, mac again, repeat.
Before I knew it, it was Friday and I had been out of my dorm for a grand total of 10 hours. My RA, Kelli, barged into my room that night and said, “Max, you’re going to a swing dance class tonight.” She grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and dragged me across campus to the dance. I can’t thank Kelli enough; she started me on a streak that’s still going. The class itself was difficult, mostly because I have bricks for feet and less rhythm than a seizing squirrel, but I enjoyed the “free dance” afterwards. I didn’t care about the dancing, but I got to actually meet people.
Eventually, I was paired with this one girl. Both of us were new to swing dancing, so we decided to stick together and practice what we were taught. Dancing can be fun at points, but it gets boring when you’re doing the same two steps over and over again, so this girl and I started talking as we practiced. It turned out Liz* and I are both from Miami. “Finally,” I thought, “someone I can speak Spanglish with!” Somehow 17 songs came and went; it was midnight, and the dance was over. She started to walk away back to her dorm.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “Someone call the FTC because this is false advertising. I want to hear about skinny dipping!” Calm down; you made it to the good part. Even though I rarely left my room, I still had made a handful of friends, and I knew they would be hanging out at Landis fountain that night.
I mustered all of my courage, pulled in my stomach, puffed out my chest and asked Liz if she wanted to go with me to the fountain. She turned around, and in the most excited, scared and shy way possible, said, “Yeah.” So we ran, skipped and swing danced our way down to the fountain to meet up with my friends. When we got there, some of them were already in the fountain, fully clothed. They waved at us to join them.
So, of course, I said the only logical thing that came to mind. “OK, but I’m not wearing clothes.” I stripped down to my boxers and jumped into the fountain. Liz came in, too, leaving her clothes next to mine. So there we were, sitting almost naked in a fountain with three of my clothed friends. Then someone put on the Les Misérables soundtrack and then the weekend became a blur.
What I do remember is that 22 show tunes (about an hour and a half) later, I stood up to stretch my legs and realized that my boxers weren’t where they were supposed to be. I remained standing, paralyzed by this change of events, so everyone saw my lack of underwear. Doubtless, I turned redder than Liz when she read this. The unfortunate effects of frigid water on the male anatomy didn’t help to abate my embarrassment, either. After I gave up trying to cover myself, we started searching for the lost undergarment.
The case of the missing boxers was never solved, but we all became much closer in the process. Most of us went our separate ways for the night, but Liz and I didn’t leave each other’s side until Sunday night. We started dating and are still together, but we’ve neither been back to the swing dance class nor the fountain that brought us together.
As I was saying, definitely DO NOT go skinny dipping on your campus, but if you somehow find yourself naked in a fountain, keep your eyes peeled. You might be spending a whole lot more time with that girl swimming next to you.
*Name changed to protect privacy.