Loading icon

Thoughts on NQR

Arts & Culture | November 30, 2010

Nelson Pancetta and Rigatoni Spacecase

“And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
-Genesis 2:25, King James Bible

Although unlikely that God would approve of using the Bible in this context, I’m going to do it anyways. On December 10, after classes end and before reading week begins, the student body will transform the Res Quad into a place of sublime jubilation. The administration calls it the Nighttime Quad Reception. Students call it the Naked Quad Run. The terminology, however, is irrelevant. More than anything, NQR is an opportunity for all Tufts students to channel the Almighty and heed the words of Genesis—get naked, and do not be ashamed.

It is not often in life that hundreds of naked people can run circles in the freezing cold with almost complete legal impunity. Not to take advantage of this special moment would be a disservice to the exceptional quality of our Tufts education. Everyone’s nipples are hard; everyone’s balls are small. The cold is the great equalizer. NQR is nudity devoid of sexuality—it is the student body coming together, shedding our physical and emotional layers, celebrating the conclusion of the semester, prolonging the impending pain of finals, and giving one, big, collective, body-sized middle finger to the powers that be.

Many, in the afterglow of NQR, will pine for a return to the naked revelry of that chilly night, longing to reclaim nakedness as something not aberrant but natural, even commonplace. There are others, of course, who will be relieved to have gotten the whole frigid flesh fest over with, seeing it as a sort of freakish rite of passage that is best done and done quickly. Those of the first camp are a minority and often find congenial company in campus groups like Wilderness or Mountain Club, bastions of “naturists” that do their best to make nakedness a regular part of their college experience. However, the majority of the students will refrain, citing too much work, townies, insecurity, or moral misgivings as cause for abstention. Their reserve shouldn’t be surprising: given our Puritan origins, Americans are generally more prudish than, say, the Europeans, when it comes to parading their chaste unmentionables. But to those thinking of sitting this year out, heed us for a moment.

Imagine yourself twenty years from now, married with children and a spouse who loves you and whom you love, despite the sagging flesh and predictability conferred by several years of your conjugal routine. Lying awake in bed one night you reminisce, as you often do, of your college years at Tufts University. You think fondly of the merrymaking and joyfulness experienced while stumbling along Frat Row, gallivanting across Boston on Senior Pub Nights, and dressing up for three straight nights on Halloween weekend. When your mind eventually wanders toward that fateful night every December, when your drunken friends beseeched you to come join them in a naked jaunt around the Res Quad, will you be filled with the satisfaction of a job well done, or will you longingly regret that you failed to take advantage of a golden opportunity when carefree youthfulness permitted it?

Do your future (and present) self a favor. Take off your clothes, join hands with your peers, and discover what it truly means to be a Jumbo.