H1N1 partiers play chicken with the swine

There are only so many ’80s-themed parties one can attend before American Apparel runs out of gold lamé spandex pants and shoulder pads stop being ironically funny and start being a regrettable fashion statement.

It’s only natural that students start branching out to new theme party ideas, but it’s not long before everyone and their mother has been to a golf bros and tennis hos party, a white trash party, a mustache party, a highlighter party and a Nickelodeon party. And you know your party is mainstream if your mother has the same “Doug Funny as Quailman” costume as you.

Rita Yeung | Daily Trojan

Rita Yeung | Daily Trojan

More original ideas are necessarily sought, but there are only so many different themes that you can put “bros and hos” in front of before they start becoming esoteric. Generally, the themes “Penguins and flaming-os,” “Puritan Bros and Quaker Hos,” “Moby Dicks and Mrs. Dalloway Chicks” and “Magician Bros and Assistant Hos” tested poorly in focus groups.

But fear not; it is unlikely that the next Facebook event invite you receive will be for a party themed “Sloppy Joes and Barbeque Hos,” though it would be great to finally put that bikini made out of hamburger patties to use.

It turns out that the latest cool party to throw is a swine flu party.

At first, this idea seems to make little sense because there is nothing less conducive to drinking than surgical masks (unless you are drinking Natural Light).

After a second glance, though, this idea makes even less sense.

Swine flu parties are a rumored and perhaps mythical phenomena, which exist concretely only in the realms of Internet discussion boards.

At a swine flu party, one guest has the H1N1 virus and the rest of the guests show up to expose themselves to the virus, and to enjoy beverages and cocktail weenies in the meantime. The reasoning behind this seemingly wanton recklessness is that the exposure to the not-necessarily deadly H1N1 virus will provide immunity for a later and potentially more dangerous strain of the virus.

According to The New York Times, this “vigilante vaccination” isn’t completely devoid of sense. It’s not unheard of for parents to purposely expose their children to chicken pox so they can avoid it later in life. Similarly, when the 1918 flu pandemic swept the world, some papers reported that patients exposed to the earliest strain of the virus were less likely to die later on.

Still, the consensus of the Center for Disease Control is that a swine flu party is “certainly … something that we would highly recommend not happen.” Or as a flu specialist interviewed in The Times put it, “totally nuts.”

The swine flu virus is still too unknown to make willful exposure to the virus a wise idea. It is the medical equivalent of marrying your high school sweetheart who looks like a yeti because you’re not sure who else is out there; but, sometimes it’s better to face uncertainty than to marry a yeti.

So if you receive an invitation for a swine flu party, your best bet is to put away your “slutty scrubs” and platformed surgical booties and consider going to that “Rakes and Hoes” party — American Apparel just started carrying gardening clogs!

Laura Reeve is a senior majoring in public relations. Her column, “Folk Laur,” runs every other Wednesday. For more “Folk Laur,” check out Laura’s blog at dailytrojan.com.