Neither of us had ever been to a Toga Party before coming to the Pole. Charlie, the food material’s person, and Sara, the welder, had been planning on having a Toga Party since not long after we arrived.
They started the party preparations by finding a bunch of pictures on the internet of people in togas. They wrote “Wash your sheets” over the pictures and posted them all over the station, but did not give any details. This did a good job of generating curiosity and interest in what was going on. About a week before the party, they put up signs with more information about the party, and everything was set. On Friday night, several of us went out to the summer camp lounge in order to set up for the party. It was quite an ordeal, and if set up was that much fun, the party was definitely promising. I can’t say that any party that I’ve helped set up for involved welding and drilling holes in the room’s support beams. I guess that’s one of the benefits of being at the South Pole, we’re always surrounded by trades-people who can do just about anything for you.
By the end of the night on Friday, all of the furniture had been pushed out of the middle of the room, several speakers had been wired and hung, red lights had replaced all of the white light bulbs, Christmas lights had been strung up all around, two stripper poles had been put up, and the “Stabbin Cabin” had been built. The Stabbin Cabin was a little “room” that involved a wrestling mat floor and had curtains mostly all around it. The idea was a place where people could go to make out. There were little cards really crude sayings put up all around the cabin, none of which I can really put in this blog. There was also a plate of “protective gear” provided. After setting it all up, we definitely felt like we were getting ready for a high school party. But, hey, we’re at the South Pole, and we’d never been to a Toga party, so we were looking forward to a good time.
The next morning, we saw Charlie in the galley at breakfast. He was pissed! Apparently some people had been partying in the main station, quite hardily. When things started getting out of hand, some people moved the party out to the summer camp lounge where we had just finished setting up for the Toga party. Charlie told us that the decorations had been messed up and that someone had puked all over the place. It was quite a disappointment, and by the end of the day was a source of contention between a few people.
When we showed up for the party on Saturday, only a couple of other people were there. Lynette and I tried for quite a while to arrange our togas before ending up with our final designs.
People began to trickle in, some with sheets barely tied on, and others with elaborate designs. The first order of business was that everybody got a nametag, and was instructed to come up with their stripper name, which involves your first childhood pet and/or the name of the street you live on and/or your middle name. Lynette’s name was Kitty Muff Darry, and mine was Dick El Camino. The second order of business for the night was making the jungle juice, which consisted of a bottle of rum, a bottle of vodka, and some Raro (New Zealand’s version of Tang, which is mostly what is available in the galley). The third order of business was to thoroughly mock anyone who came through the door without a toga. And, finally, the last order of business was to get down!
The music was going strong, and after about an hour, the place was pretty packed out. The dance moves were great, and people were having a great time after a week of hard work. The stripper pole was a big attraction, and Glen, the insulator, was the biggest surprise of the evening with his moves.
The jungle juice got stronger and stronger, and people started breaking out the bottles of hard liquor.
This seems to be a trend on Saturday nights. Things are going fairly well, with quite a few people making a fool of themselves on the dance floor, but nothing harmful. Then, people feel like they need to start drinking from the bottle, and things go downhill pretty quickly. From what I’ve seen, nothing too bad has happened as of yet, but it seems like every weekend tensions get high between a couple of people and/or someone has to get escorted to bed with the help of two shoulders. Oh well… I guess that’s the way things go. Anyway, everybody was just having fun, for the most part, and Lynette and I had a great time. At least now we can say that we’ve been to a Toga party!