Photo by Darren Bertram.
Photo by Darren Bertram.

Welfome to Princhips, where it’s reproductive season again. A group of horny superorganisms called student groups are vying for your attention and panting for your consent.

Though the average life expectancy of an individual within a student group is four years, groups live longer than this by assimilating younger members before the older ones leave Princeton to die quietly. Single groups have been known in some cases to live for a hundred years or more.

Each year, a largely random event produces a group of about 1300 viable freshmen for the groups to breed with. Before they are even mature enough for reproduction, they are made to come to campus and watch the displays of student groups who will one day try to mate with them. This phenomenon is one of the strangest on Earth.

Displays come in many forms. Performance groups have developed a specialized mating ritual of particular interest. Freshmen convene at the same time in Richardson two nights in a row to see displays from all performing and singing groups. Freshmen fill Richardson beyond its capacity, putting themselves at risk according to fire code. It is not known how the Freshmen know to congregate, but they do so with remarkable consistency year after year.

Dance groups often begin with a signature call, for example, “APHRO DISIAC”, “BODY BODY HYPE HYPE”, “HIGH STEPPERS WHAT.” Much like the calls which evolved in Pokémon, a dance group will shout its own name. In addition to this, each call contains differently stressed syllables, allowing it to be uniquely identified at great distances and over significant background noise. Different groups’ displays seen at this event include beautiful singing, carefully coordinated dances, breathtaking performances—and bad versions of these three things.

The most important ritual in all of this is the Activities Fair. Freshmen once again pack themselves into a dangerously small space—one never designed for human occupation—and entertain the displays of various groups. The group seeks the netIDs of as many freshmen as possible. Groups appear to have an innate intuition of the amount of time required to talk to a freshman to gain his or her net ID. Therefore, they are practiced at being just compelling enough to ride freshmen over the threshold.

The first step towards getting a net ID is to get the attention of freshmen via a specialized greeting, often in the form of an inquiry. These inquiry greetings seem to relate to the function of the group, though they can be general or specialized, e.g. “Can you write?”, “Do you like musicals?”, “You look South Asian!”, or “Dancing gets you laid.” Each of these greetings has a different Freshman Response Rate (FRR), but, in addition to getting netIDs, they serve to distinguish freshmen who may be willing mates.

Competition within groups is extreme. As would be expected, groups whose niches are the most similar compete the most intensely for freshman resources. Tension runs high as groups are passive-aggressive about which is the best. Indeed, many a cappella groups have gone so far as to develop elaborate bureaucratic methods to reduce this competition. It is surely competition which has caused groups to develop such desperate strategies for picking up freshmen.

Some groups which do not have enough reproductive fitness on their own employ a “sneaking” strategy, by which they act like a group of universal appeal, trying to reach the amount of time necessary to guarantee a netID before giving an accurate impression of what the group looks like. For example, a conservative magazine asks “Are you interested in writing or publications?” and secures a yes before a member with an anti-abortion pin comes and introduces himself, adamantly refusing to let liberal alignment excuse you from a signup. Many groups are proficient with guilt as well as with guile. They will align their inquiry greeting with a question that is impossible to answer negatively in order to compel signups, e.g. “Do you care about Israel?” or “Do you want to help fight world poverty?” From the safety of moral high ground, these groups can be incredulous at freshmen who express anything less than infinite compassion, and are known as the most aggressive.

Some groups do not practice sexual selection and let any capable freshman mate with them. For these groups, the next stage is a waiting game until freshmen arrive ready to mate. Those groups that practice sexual selection wait days or weeks before selecting their mates. Some have further processes of humiliation for their courted freshman, such as singing, dancing, and the critiquing of writing samples.

When freshman mates have been selected by groups and coupling occurs, there is a near universal tendency to engage in a sexualized ritual by which freshman are gathered and doused with a strange odorous foam whose function is an utter mystery. An excitement for the reproduction is generated which is often out of proportion with the emotion felt by any involved party. It has been hypothesized that this is a bonding exercise necessary to make newly coupled freshmen feel as if they have made the right choice in partner.

After the freshmen have been coupled with their groups, they simply wait for the next semester when they can display for the new generation. Nothing else is observed to have precedence or even comparative significance in their lives. Many times you will see actual sexual actions occur within a single group, (e.g. make-outs, coitus, heavy petting), but this appears to have nothing to do with a group’s actual reproduction.