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Formal name

Tomorrow night, first-year students will convene at the Omni Hotel for the First-Year Formal. Never heard of it? Recent alums will remember it as the “Freshman Screw.” For decades at Yale and other universities, the "screw-your-roommate” dance has involved setting up roommates with dates; the “screw” part has both a sexual connotation and a suggestion of embarrassing your roommates, often by prescribing an awkward way for them to meet their blind dates. (“They instruct them to look for someone carrying handcuffs, waving lingerie, or singing ‘Strangers in the Night,’” explained Frances Brown ’02 in our December 2000 issue.)

But this year, on the suggestion of the Yale College Dean’s Office, the First-Year Class Council decided to change the name, in order to “encourage inclusivity and downplay the sexual undertones” of the event, as the Yale Daily News put it.

Alums, have any tales of memorable screws (er, formals)?

Filed under freshman screw, first-year formal
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