March 22, 2006: On the Campus
Heading for the slopes; fear of getting hosed
By Adam Gottesfeld ’07
Among those who believe “that the fiercest mountain in the Northeast is not in the Poconos or in Killington, but lurks above Little courtyard” are a group of students who call themselves the Riders of Spoon Mountain, their nickname for the hill behind the Witherspoon dormitory.
On the weekend before Valentine’s Day, a storm dumped 17 inches of snow onto Princeton. For some, it was a major inconvenience. But for the Riders of Spoon Mountain and others, the campus became a winter sports playground.
When George Brell ’08 saw the fresh powder, he grabbed his skis and headed out behind Witherspoon. There, he piled up snow and built a ski jump. “I’m from Alaska. I’ve been skiing since I was very young, and I just naturally look at things and evaluate them in terms of skiing,” Brell said.
Students without skis improvised. With trays borrowed from the dining halls, some sled-boarded down the makeshift slopes behind Witherspoon.
Others sat on trays and sledded down the snow-covered Blair archway steps. Staying on the tray, however, is not easy. First, a path the width of the tray needs to be cleared. The trip down requires practice to develop a sense of balance, so that the sledder doesn’t crash into the piles of snow on the sides. Sledders fall off a lot until they develop a rhythm, warned Adam Malin ’07.
But the thrill is worth the risk, Brell said. “I know I got a couple of strange looks, but as a whole people seemed pretty excited about it,” he said.
Jon Fernandez ’08 usually wakes up after 1 in the afternoon on Fridays. But on the Friday before the snowfall, he was pacing around his room and puffing nervously on cigarette after cigarette at 7 a.m.
At 7:45 he heard footsteps outside his door — the sound he had been dreading all morning. Clad only in plaid boxer shorts, Fernandez threw open the door to find out which eating club the visitor had come from — only to find a student delivering a copy of The New York Times.
“I was a neurotic mess until about 10 a.m., when my roommate woke up and told me to calm down,” Fernandez said. “He told me that he had heard all the eating clubs hose everyone by 9 a.m.”
Like most sophomores who bickered eating clubs the first week of the spring semester, Fernandez feared getting “hosed” (he was admitted to Tower Club). While most commonly associated with being denied membership by a selective eating club, “hosed” has become Princeton’s universal term for rejection. If a professor does not admit you into his seminar, you’ve been hosed. If McKinsey declines to interview you, you’ve just been hosed.
While students said they didn’t know why the term “hosed” is used instead of “rejected,” they had their theories.
“It is something to do with how you can use a hose to clean things, or move things around, and thus hosing is ‘cleaning out’ things you don’t want,” Sarah Erickson ’07 suggested.
“I feel like at some point on Prospect Street, with all its crazy exploits, a bouncer threatened to turn a hose on those wanting to get in a club on a particular night,” Fernandez said.
For most students, despite the silliness of the term itself, hosing is awkward and painful. Proper etiquette requires friends to hose friends in person. “There’s nothing quite as painful as telling a friend that he has not been accepted, since in reality it is like telling him that he is being excluded from the group you’re in,” said Alfredo Fiallo ’07.
The experience is even worse for the hosed. Students who have been hosed agree that there are no words the hoser can say to make the hosing more pleasant.
“No matter what, it feels personal and it hurts,” said Erickson, who was hosed by Tower Club last spring but became a Tower member after bickering again in the fall. When it was her turn to be the hoser, she found the experience to be almost as painful as getting hosed.
“It was a lot harder than I thought it would be,” she said. “Knocking on someone’s door, and knowing that that knock is the last thing in the world that they want to hear, is really hard.”
Adam Gottesfeld ’07, a Woodrow Wilson School major and Tower Club member, was hosed by the Tigertones as a freshman.