The men of the Womb pose in front of their house for the biannual womb formal photo shoot. Nic Rowan | Courtesy

As tra­di­tional formal dances for Greek houses draw near, campus dor­mi­tories and off-campus houses are imi­tating the events by putting on their own formals and date parties, while remaining true to their own cul­tures.

On-campus res­i­dences Nied­feldt and Simpson put on a formal and date party, respec­tively, on Sat­urday, March 24.

The Nied­feldt Formal, better known as “Nied­formal,” began with the pledge of alle­giance, fol­lowed by a three-course formal dinner com­ple­mented with jazz music, in the Searle Center. After an awards cer­emony hon­oring each res­ident of Nied­feldt, res­i­dents and their dates enjoyed dancing.

Junior Nied­feldt RA Samuel Cassels says that although Nied­formal appears to be a new event for the dor­mitory, the event is actually rooted in a history from before his time as a res­ident advisor.

“Nied­formal hap­pened before, but it’s been a long time. At least 10 years, I would think,” Cassels said.

Since this year’s Nied­formal was awards cer­emony-themed, each res­ident of Nied­feldt received a per­son­alized award for a unique attribute, being honored with this award after the dinner.

Some awards given to the res­i­dents included “Most-Likely-To-Burst-Out-in-Song,” “Most-Likely-to-Fix-Things-with-Duct-Tape,” and res­ident Charlie Adams was awarded “Most-Likely-to-Not-Know-What-You’re-Talking-About-When-You-Say-Central-Hall.”

Mrs. Phyllis Nied­feldt fully funded the event, using it as means of teaching Nied­feldt res­i­dents eti­quette.

“I think that Mrs. Nied­feldt would be very happy,” Cassels said. “Mrs. Nied­feldt is a strong believer that guys can benefit from eti­quette and a formal setting. For example, each res­ident had to bring a date to the formal.”

Entering through the infamous doors of the Simpson dor­mitory lobby while encoun­tering a black banner with a skull and cross­bones that reads “Sur­render the Booty,” as pineapples line the room, Simpson-ites and their dates entered into the realm of this year’s pirate-themed Simpson Date Party.

“When I was a freshman, seniors said there were date parties in the past, simply for the sake of ‘kicks and giggles,’ and that’s why they restarted it,” sophomore RA Josh Bailey said. “The whole idea is to have a good time, and not be too serious.”

Although Simpson date parties are viewed as a tra­dition of the dorm, prior to the spring of 2016, this event had not occurred for several years.

In recent semesters, Simpson Date Party themes have included a thrift store-theme with bowling and a “Get-Jacked” workout-theme with laser tag.

“The way it works is we will usually pick a theme and a fun activity, then have a small party after­wards for the Simpson res­i­dents and their dates,” Bailey said. “It’s great to bring in girls from other dorms, because most Simpson events are heavy on the guy-side.”

The current Simpson RAs selected the pirate-theme due to the theme’s cre­ative pos­si­bil­ities — namely, some guests dressed as the tra­di­tional pirate, Peter Pan-inspired char­acters, and even “pirates” of videos.

“Being on the RA team, we really try to find ways to get guys involved and create a dis­tinct culture,” Bailey said. “Date parties are unique and great way to not only build Simpson culture but bring in people from outside Simpson.”

At the corner of Manning and Fayette Street, and char­ac­terized by its off-white color, plastic flamingos strewn across the front lawn and glaring front porch lights, off-campus house “The Womb” cel­e­brated its semi­annual “Womb Formal.”

The “Womb-mates” — a term that ini­tially inspired the naming of the house — put together their first Womb Formal, where the 8 house­mates cook a meal, invite dates, and dress for­mally, in the fall of 2016, during their junior year.

Senior Dean Sin­clair, who has lived in the Womb for nearly two years now, says that for the first Womb Formal, the “men-of-the-Womb” — another coined term for the house­mates — and their dates ate dinner at Hillsdale Lanes, while everyone dressed in suits and dresses.

“It orig­i­nally was just us being silly. You weren’t allowed to bring your girl­friend, and it was just us trying to make a spec­tacle in public,” Sin­clair said.

The fol­lowing semester, set in the Womb adorned with antique floral wall­paper, wood accents, and eclectic arti­facts including vintage phones, large paper lanterns, and even pop art of Hillsdale College Pres­ident Larry Arnn, the the Womb-mates decided to enjoy a home-cooked meal and formal activ­ities in their house.

“We got into the theme of making food our­selves, and setting up a long table in the living room,” Sin­clair said. “This is when Womb Formal really became a genuine thing.”

Sin­clair, a former member of the Delta Tau Delta fra­ternity who served as the fra­ternity social chair, came up with the idea from a formal he had once planned for the fra­ternity.

“The Greeks are really on to some­thing,” Sin­clair said. “They really did provide some sort of inspi­ration, and the idea would have never occurred if Greek houses didn’t do it.”

The main tra­dition sur­rounding Womb Formal is “toasts,” where ini­tially every member of the Womb will make a toast to the fellow house­mates, the Womb itself, and then his date. After­wards, each date makes a toast to the Womb and to his date. They then end with the “long toast,” where one guest will make a per­sonal toast to each person at the table.

Sophomore Peter Takach, who will live off-campus in the Womb next year made a toast, said “I will not dis­ap­point you gen­tlemen! I promise to carry on the tra­dition and legacy of the Womb!”

The Womb, for the stu­dents that live off-campus in the house, means much more to them than merely a res­i­dence. They say they would con­sider it a “home,” and Womb Formal is a means of showing their appre­ci­ation for the house.

“This house did change us, and in the future we won’t be able to live with friends like we do, now,” Sin­clair said. “This won’t last forever.”

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Isabella S. Redjai
Isabella S. Redjai is a sophomore and George Washington Fellow from Irvine, CA, majoring in Politics with a minor in Journalism. This is her second year writing for The Collegian, and she currently serves as the Opinions Assistant Editor. She enjoys drinking Blue Bottle Coffee, reading the Wall Street Journal, and watching Audrey Hepburn movies.