It wasn’t a good idea if you were a girl to be seen going into or coming out of Drew Hall. It was like the de facto freshmen boys dorm, and the only reason why I even dained to go inside is because I was visiting like an upper class-man friend who was an R.A.
In “Palm Treo”, Brittany and Eric talk about the secret parties that the RA’s at Howard University were throwing in 2005. Their podcast “For Colored Nerds” is a show where BFFs Brittany and Eric humorously deep-dive into the uncool topic of their choice while testing the outer limits of their friendship.
You can hear Brittany & Eric’s Podcast For Colored Nerds here: http://www.forcolorednerds.com/
WATCH For Colored Nerds LIVE FEED at the WNYC Greene Space: http://www.thegreenespace.org/story/watch-live-colored-nerds-guests-tracy-clayton-and-rembert-browne/?hootPostID=85483957cf3792e00a6b9a6fa2b8ef04
Sampler from Gimlet is still on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/sampler/id1068516341?mt=2
“The Deacons” from Gimlet is also on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-deacons/id1170956022?i=1000378127812&mt=2
Episode 3 was Produced by Bart Warshaw
Kismet production team is Zoe Saunders, Danny Lewis & Ryan Sweikert
It would have to have been, maybe like 2005 at Howard University in DC, in Washington DC.
When you go to Howard, the school of business is super intense.
The year before I had been extremely nerdy.
You had to have these meetings, you had to do all this stuff and it’s so serious. But the other part that, it just gives you a pantsuit habit that you cannot shake.
I was really proud of this 3.8 GPA that I had achieved.
Yeah I always had a solid 3.0.
When people would go out, they’d be like: ” Oh we’re going to this party, do you want to come along?” More often than not, I was like “No, I’m going to hang back.
I didn’t go to class that much. I can say it now, because I already earned my degree, and they have all my money, but oh my god, 99% of my problems in college were caused by the fact that I just didn’t go to class.
That was basically what I observed a lot of my peers doing, and I was like :”How are you doing your homework?” But I also recognized that I really hadn’t done anything. I hadn’t gone out, I didn’t really know anybody, and I didn’t really feel like I was getting that “college experience” so my sophomore year I was like: ” I’m going to make some new friends, I’ll gonna expand my network, spread my wings a bit.
It wasn’t a good idea if you were a girl to be seen going into or coming out of Drew Hall. I was the de facto freshman boys dorm and the only reason I even deigned to go inside is because I was visiting an upperclassmen who was an RA.
RA is like a resident assistant; we were the people who watched over everybody and played a little bit a cop, a little bit a therapist and we got free housing because of it.
The rules around visiting other dorms were pretty strict.
The school has all the dorms kind of on lockdown.
So our friend would get around that.
The big draw being an RA, you could have guests basically anytime. The other thing we recognized that we could now do was throw parties.
Really fun, low-key parties. Howard University was a dry campus so no alcohol allowed, anywhere at all, whatsoever.
We got another friend of ours to buy us some alcohol.
And they took that really seriously.
Which you weren’t really supposed to have, but we were going to keep things on the hush. And then we needed people. My friends, they were like: “Oh, we’ve been hanging out with these girls who are really fun, they’re freshmen, but they’re cool.”
Basically what we would do is that a bunch of us would get together on Thursday nights and drink.
One of our friends was like: “Ok, we could throw it in my place” Because he had, like, decorated.
Jason’s setup was super sweet.
He had this tie dyed sheet.
He had a separate bedroom and separate living room.
And I want to say a Bob Marley Poster, but I could be wrong about that.
It looked like a dorm room, but to me it may as well have been the Hilton.
The night comes for this party, and we’re just hanging out.
Jason was hosting Trash Thursdays in his dorm room apartment, and he was talking about getting plans together for his birthday party, and he was like : “Oh it’s going to be at the Resident’s Inn, in Dupont Circle, which I was seventeen at the time, I mean that’s as good as Diddy’s white party.
These three girls show up, they’re all really loud.
I asked some inane question about what was going to be happening at the party or could I bring somebody or some detail, he was like: “Oh you gotta talk to Eric.”
And they were just like talking, like they ran the place, just shouting and living it up. I don’t remember what conversation she was having, but I heard every single word of it.
And I was like: “How the fuck is that?”. And then you have to understand, Eric now, bald, angry all the time, dad, husband, Eric in 2005 was like…
Her voice just carries.
Eric now is so serious, Eric in 2005, no disrespect to Eric…
And I say this lovingly, she’s just..
I adore him, obviously, even though he drives me crazy.
She is just a very outgoing, and somewhat extraverted person.
And I’ve always liked Eric as a person.
So for me it was almost intimidating.
Eric was wearing double his body weight in Polo. He used to wear polo EVERYTHING. Because he just loved to wear polos!
I don’t remember what she was wearing.
My father is somebody who wore Polo until it came back around in style in 2004, and Eric is the only person who I’d ever met at that point in life who had more Polo than my dad.
Brittany, she has a very natural, curly fro, I mean that was her jam back then.
I could tell that he was a sharp dresser, because the other thing that I will give Eric credit for is that he did not wear sneakers, so I could tell that he took himself seriously.
I was really trying to project new confidence that I was the go-between of the group.
So I asked him whatever question I had to ask him and he’s like: “Hm, let me think about that.”
I had bought this…
Then he goes in his pocket and he fishes out…
It was called a Palm..
Treo. It came with a stylist.
So he just whips it out, and he’s starts…
I would always take it out and pull out the stylist, and be like : “Oh, we should meet up!”, and then would literally go through my calendar and recommend days.
This is not the inauguration.
Even then you could go on the internet.
Like Wifi is not even a real thing.
It had a touch screen.
So I knew that this person meant business because he had a Palm Treo and he was using it to plan someone else’s 21st birthday party.
It’s the corniest thing, it was massive.
I remember being simultaneously impressed but also being like : “Who the fuck is this person?”. I was like: “Oh can I bring so and so?” and he was like : “Hmm, yeah I think we can figure out a way.”
And that night was pretty fun, so eventually we were just all taking, but then it turned into a louder, more raucous thing, to the point where I don’t really remember how it ended, just that we didn’t get in trouble.
I do remember meeting Eric for the first time and just liking him. I remember thinking that he was smart and that he was funny, I think? Or at least he thought I was funny, and I think that’s how most people’s friendships start, you know what I mean?
Everyone had a really good time and people were like: “Oh, you should do this again”, and we were like: “we should just keep doing this!”. At first we would bounce between all of our dorm rooms.
We didn’t go to the same place all the time, that would just seem to suspicious.
That was becoming this ongoing problem. So we actually started sneaking into the classroom buildings late at night.
One time we had them in a practice room, a piano practice room.
It was always kind of this core group.
Wherever we could find space, where people wouldn’t look for a bunch of kids drinking on a Thursday night.
In college you can have a four hour conversation with one person and that’s just a Tuesday. And it’s always been the majority of our relationship- a really obsessive amount of talking, too much talking. I remember it was awesome because that’s what I had been missing.
I don’t know if I necessarily subscribe to the idea that everything happens for a reason, or there’s meaning in everything, but I will say that anytime I’ve met somebody who ended up being important to my life, I was able to tell pretty immediately.
Eventually the parties faded away, so then we mostly started hanging out. Over that time we just started to get close.
I don’t know if Eric actually knew that we were going to be this close when we met, but I actually did.