This Wednesday, necks craned from neighboring Mods, people stood perched upon nearby picnic tables and a pack of hundreds of students pressed against the perimeter of the back stoop of Mods 27A and 27B. Removed from the electric anticipation, on the other side of the Mods’ curtained doors, 12 jittery college boys stood, ready to shed their inhibitions as well as more than a few pieces of clothing.
Strip Mod. To freshman and first-time show-goers it’s a foreign term that elicits a comedic mixture of confusion and astonished curiosity. To upperclassmen, it’s a timeless BC tradition. To the men of Mods 27 A and B, dare I say, it’s a lifestyle.
Ever since the late 90s when a group of Mod-dwelling soccer players began the tradition of performing a nearly nude striptease during the last week of classes, every successive group of guys living in Mods 27 A and B have performed the annual striptease to the great excitement of the student body.
The Strip Mod is notorious enough that when housing selection rolls around, those upcoming seniors with a preferential pick time face serious deliberation as to whether or not they are up to inheriting this storied and sexy tradition. Choosing Mod 27 is an unofficial, yet bonding commitment to dance.
After putting it up to a group vote, Tyler Schaeffer, A&S ’15, and his 5 roommates “decided to take the plunge and choose one half of the Strip Mod.” While Schaeffer was confident that it would be “a great memory and bonding experience,” his roommate Sahil Narkhede, A&S ’15, was less certain. “My body isn’t ready,” was his instantaneous response.
The guys’ first task as mod strippers in training was to find choreographers and make their music selections. Fortunately, once the group settled on choreographers Kat Li, A&S ’15, and Amanda Ehrlickman, CSOM ’15, all they had to do was present the duo with songs and a theme, and were given “the mix and the moves,” in return. “We couldn’t have imagined doing it without them,” praises Schaeffer.
Once the preliminary decisions were made, it was time to set to work learning and rehearsing the soon-to-be famous routine. As enthusiastic as all the group members were about honing in on their dance skills, Salvatore D’Amico, A&S ’15, and the rest of the crew cited “finding time for all 12 of the guys to get together and practice,” as a significant challenge they faced.
With so many conflicting schedules and a need to rehearse away from the prying eyes of passerby, the group spent many cold, late nights running through the dance both indoors and outside on the patio in order to get the spacing just right.
Despite the stresses inherent in coordinating the schedules of so many busy students (after all, they are just part-time strippers), during rehearsal the group had “so much fun that sometimes it was a challenge to get down to business,” said choreographers Li and Ehrlickman.
Through all the late night rehearsals and the funny moments, Billy Shyne, CSOM ’15, reflects, “I think the strip has [also] brought us closer together.”
And while putting together a routine undeniably served as a bonding experience for the guys of Mod 27, it also allowed them to step outside the routine of school and try their hands at a completely different kind of project.
“It’s great to do something creative and constructive for once,” says Schaeffer. “To do something with no expectation… besides good times and a learning experience.”
“Good times” is an understatement for what the group brought to an enthralled audience when they finally took the stage and unashamedly shook what their mamas gave them to Britney Spears’ “I’m a Slave 4 U” and a multitude of other seductive songs.
Making a statement that their performance would not just become one in a long history of mod stripteases, the boys ended their dance with an ingenious imitation of the Plastics’ Jinglebell Rock dance from the cult classic movie “Mean Girls.” The only thing missing was a fanatical front-row mom (although that may have been reason for concern).
After watching their trainees perform, Li and Ehrlickman say they are “completely confident that [the boys] will make the naughty list this Christmas.” The roaring crowd would seem to agree.