Running with the Buffaloes

Among the Buffaloes

They say you can’t go home again. But if this is true, then why do they have homecoming? You know, that bizarre autumn ritual that typically involves football, dance royalty, parades and “fight” songs. Personally, I’ve never been one for proudly waving the school colors, even when I was in school. And that was back before all the prostitute, test-taking and sexual harassment scandals – back when there were even a few national championships to cheer about.

So, it is beyond me why I allowed myself to be talked into attending the homecoming of my alma mater, dear, old CU, home of the Buffaloes, the black and gold, Ralphie and Abo’s late-night pizza window. Now, when I say “homecoming” I mean it in a general sort of way because, despite a degree from the aforementioned institution, I still do not make enough money to afford the $54 price tag for such a game. Which is just fine seeing as how they stopped serving beer several years ago (a story for another day.) Besides, do you know how many pitchers of beer you can get for that kind of money? Definitely enough to get you through the seven-inning stretch, or halftime, or whatever they call it.

So, flanked by several likeminded and exceptionally thirsty buffalettes, I decided to wear out my homecoming welcome at a popular watering hole where I wiled away many a late-night, uh, studying session in my youth. Never mind that the game was blacked out, leaving us to feign interest in a match between two Texas teams I’d never heard of. It was all in the spirit of reliving those glory days and showing today’s co-eds that, despite popular belief, there is life after those seven or eight years of higher learning. Life that flashed before my eyes as we narrowly escaped death by Audi while trying to parallel park on The Hill. Trying to remain upbeat, we were soon greeted with an accompanying middle-digit salute, and I began to lose sight of my school spirit.

Not that it mattered. As we made our way down the sidewalk, it was apparent there was plenty of school spirit to go around. Only problem was, Paris Hilton seemed to be the new mascot. I know I’m not exactly a fashion maven, but can someone please tell me what sort of business high heels have being worn to football games, or anywhere outside a funeral, wedding or red light district for that matter? Before the hipster heel wearers out there rebel, allow me to state that these were not your usual, tasteful Blahnik’s. We’re talking glossy, banana yellow, porn star stilettos. With leg warmers. And did I mention the mini skirts, which weren’t so much short skirts as longer underwear. It wasn’t a good look for Pat Benatar 20 years ago, and it’s not a good look now.

And lest you be as incredulous as I was, this was not an isolated incident – and I am loathe to report I have the photos to prove it. It was as if we had stumbled upon “The Real Life” Zone – with droves upon droves of Nicole Ritchie clones, complete with requisite white Jackie O. sunglasses and earrings bigger than the space station (and visible from there as well).

“Maybe it’s just a sorority prank,” we hoped, in wide-eyed bewilderment as we ducked into the dark bar and out of the gilded glare of Louis Vuitton

chihuahua-carriers and bleached blonde hair.

Sure, I’ve been guilty of falling prey to more than a few fashion trends over the years. Stirrup pants, Flash Dance sweatshirts, big bangs, bomber jackets and shoulder pads all figured prominently in my closet at one time or another. I will admit to sending more than one taffeta prom debacle to the dumpster, and yes, I used to peg the bottoms of my jeans, probably way longer than I should have. Then there were the times that my friends and I were mistaken for a traveling softball team.

I even tried to clamber aboard the high-heel bandwagon a few years back. I marched into a shi-shi Midwest department store (I know, an oxymoron, but just go with it) and ordered up a pair of the pointiest, deadliest, blackest heels in my size. The smug salesman snickered as I tried to cram my foot into the impossibly oppressive space. After years of ski boots and hockey skates, this would be a cinch. But try as I might, I could not stuff my toes into the tiny leather torture chambers, and finally admitted defeat. “How does Sarah Jessica Parker do it?” I asked, exasperated from the struggle and feeling a little dejected from my defeat.

“You have to train your feet,” the salesman told me, adding some backhanded consolation, “Some people just don’t have the right foot for it.”

Several lifetimes of Chinese footbinding, and I still wouldn’t have the right foot.

So, I guess I have a small amount of respect for the modern woman who can contort her foot on a regular basis and still remain mobile, all in the name of high fashion. But 5-inch gold lamé pumps, a CU Buffalo T-shirt, more chains than Mr. T – all in broad daylight and with a straight face? Come on.

Just to be sure I was not falling victim to the dreaded “kids these days” syndrome, and fearing the worst for my own daughter some 20 years down the line, I asked a Durango native currently in attendance at CU if I was missing the fashionista bandwagon entirely. Was it time to admit defeat, trade in the In Style for Women’s Weekly, cut up the Gap card and open an account at Talbot’s?

She confirmed my worst fears.

“They dress like that all the time,” she said. But before I had time to commit stiletto hari kari, she gave me hope for humanity and reason to go on living, at least for now. “What’s so funny, is they all dress exactly alike. They look ridiculous.”

At last, confirmation that, although I was getting old (as eivdenced by my complete lack of knowledge of, that my latest fashion aversion was not so much a factor of age as it was good taste, and the lack thereof. And at last, I had reached an age where I could spot it faster than a fake bake and Botox.

But at least there was hope. A few sensible, real women still existed out there, and I could always return home, to the land of real, sensible shoes. And that was the best homecoming a girl could want.

– Missy Votel



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