Coming as a surprise to many who know me, I decided to attend a private women's college instead of one of the big state schools to which I had applied. Said private women's college was also Southern Baptist, which I am not. But, I liked the campus, I liked the people, and I loved the size. The size lends itself to more a personalized education and more leadership opportunites.
Off I went. I joined the masses of girls swarming into the mandatory dorm life. We were not permitted to have cars our freshman year, except for those few who were able to plea some sort of economic hardship. Though my broke life seemed like an economic hardship, my dad saw no reason for me to have a set of wheels in college. In my group of friends my freshman year, one girl had a car and it became something of a community vehicle. In order to reach it, you had to schlep across campus to the horse riding ring turned freshman parking lot.
This schlepping was the most fun after dark when we returned to campus. It was against the rules for us to ride in the security officer's car. Oh - did I mention security? Right. While there was technically no curfew, the campus locked down at 11pm on weekdays and 1am on weekends. If you came in after hours, you had to show ID at the gate, and a security vehicle followed you to the parking lot, and then trailed you to your dorm. If a date returned you to campus, they had to leave their ID at the gate and they had five minutes to drop you off and return to the gate before campus security came after them. It was a great way to impress guys, really.
In fact, the whole dating game was a little skewed at our small college. No men, I'm sure you're saying, had to play a role, but that wasn't actually the problem. There was no shortage of men at the big university down the road and they seemed to like us Angels pretty well. Did I mention that our mascots was the Angels? Yeah. The fraternities often serenaded entire dorms beneath our windows and threw their comrades into our lake when they became lavaliered.
The embarrassing part of dating, aside from the dad-esque security guards breathing down their necks, was the process by which they had to pick us up. The dorms were locked down. Upon arrival, our gentlemen callers had to use a telephone outside on our dorm porch to ring us that they had arrived. Someone would then let them into the first floor parlor - I swear, that's what they were called - where they would wait until you met them. They were not allowed into the upstairs parlors, only the first floor, until our junior year when they began Male Visitation Days. (!) This was big news. On the third Sunday of every month, between the hours of 1:00 and 4:00pm, you were allowed to sign in male guests and they could come up to your room. With the door open, of course. And that was that.
Though I'm making fun of it, I actually really enjoyed going to a women's college. And during our years there, the college actually dropped its affliliation with the Southern Baptist Convention when they said that women couldn't hold positions in the ministry. That didn't exactly jive with the goals of women's empowerment that a women's college possesses. The college featured greasy southern cooking: ham fried rice, Carolina bar-b-que, and biscuits galore. If you called the Dial-A-Menu, they'd tell you on Mexican night that we'd be having [insert drawl here] "Cheeeese qwesa-dill-ahs". What more could you ask for?
Make up was never necessary until you actually left campus, pajama pants were acceptable class wear, but few girls were ever without their pearl necklace, sweatshirt or not. Alcohol was strictly forbidden on campus, but class songs were all the rage. A little competition called Cornhuskin' played out every fall, something I'm not even going to try to explain here. It was a little step back in time, but it worked for me.