B.A. in The Experience: Best Buys for Campus Life
If you're headed to college you already know you need a backpack and a laptop. An alarm clock, some storage cubes, an extra-long twin bedding set. At least 9,000 quarters for laundry. So I'm not here to tell you whether to go High Sierra or Timbuk2, or what kind of sheets to buy (though I myself always enjoyed the ones made out of T-shirts). I'm not here to tell you how to get organized and settle into the college routine. Screw what you need to survive college, I want to help you milk these 4 (5, 6, 8?) most formative years of your youth for all they're worth. Here are my top picks for the College Experience, your best bets for living the good life on campus and off.
(Note: All items' prices are listed as they were at printing. Prices are subject to change.)
You and your lady friend from the 3rd floor need some alone time in the bedroom. Or on the top bunk, as the case may be. You also need some alone time to study, decompress, hang out with your hand. The Privacy Pop Bed Tent ($130) attaches to most standard-issue twin or full size bed to form a cocoon of seclusion and shield from the curious eyes of third parties.
Stash Stashes. Cash, jewelry, passports, mint condition first edition Star Wars action figures. Items that indicate you are sexually responsible. Items to assist the aforementioned hand in your Privacy Pop. The Pillow Safe ($30) will hide them all right under your nose. Literally. For items you want to protect without exposing them to body heat and all-night drooling sessions, check out this huge collection of diversion safes ($11 to $35) made from common household items.
The GateKeeper ($50). This automatic PC/Mac lock could save you from stolen papers, embarrassing photo leaks, and prankster friends taking over your Facebook account when you excuse yourself for a 5-minute whizz break. The small GateKeeper keyfob automatically locks your computer when you walk away from it and unlocks it when you return. A USB lock plugs into a PC or Mac port, you carry the key on your person, and the 2 components link via Bluetooth. They can be set to respond to proximities between 0 and 100 feet.
The Coolest Cooler ($485). From must successful Kickstarter campaign of all time, to most successful homecoming margaritas of all time. This multi-cooler packs a blender, a speaker, a waterproof USB charging port, a bottle opener, plates, a knife, and a corkscrew into its rugged, LED-lit design.
Deaf Leopard Train Horn Gun ($550). The Deaf Leopard Train Horn Gun is for people who want to stick it to the opposing side at 130 dB when their team scores. It is also for people who want to scare the ever-loving snack size Snickers and Skittles out of the kids this Halloween. If you are one of these people, then it's time to hit up Mama for $550.
Hidden Flasks. Hey, I'm not encouraging underage drinking or breaking the rules, but if you're going to do it, I am encouraging that you not get caught. Masked flasks are available in almost any disguise you can imagine. Above you see the sneaky old school NES cartridges ($20 to $25), a nice addition to dry dorm rooms. For those first few sweltering football games there is the booze-smuggling sunscreen flask ($9), and when the colder months roll in, the Freedom Flask ($40), a liquor "bladder" that installs over and dispenses at the same spot as yours. And extra special for the ladies: The Booze Tube ($13), a flask made to look like, and slipped inside an accompanying pouch that says, "Tampon".
Boobs Ice Luge ($17). Why not put a positive spin on the cold reality of interacting with women? Each boob has its own feeding funnel, so party goers can ride twin-style on the molded areolas of anatomical perfection. The luge measures 12" x 12" x 8", and holds about 2 gallons of water. Keep in mind, though, that the entire freezing process takes 48 hours. If you don't have time to prepare a nipple-nuzzler, this Wingman Shot Glass ($8) is almost as fun to shoot. You'll forgo the anatomical parts, but maintain the buddy system during use.
Party Shark Costume ($180). Your school mascot may be the Tigers, but no one's going to deny entrance to the Party Shark. Especially since Super Bowl XLIX's dancing Left Shark will hang onto its pop culture relevance at least through Halloween.
BACtrack Go Keychain Breathalyzer ($29). I'm going Mama on you: don't let living it up devolve into being stupid. Check yourself before you wreck yourself with this little key carrier that doubles as a sobriety tester. Blow into the BACtrack tube for 5 seconds, and its law enforcement-grade fuel cell sensor will display your current BAC in 3 digits on its LCD screen. Make good decisions. Don't drive, text, or Tinder drunk.
DrunkQuest: The 90 Proof Seas ($20). Dungeons & Dragons for the boozin' 21+ crowd. DrunkQuest combines fast-paced card game mechanics with shades of the D&D fantasy world with a few 6-packs and a liter or two of Captain Morgan for a party game of competitive entertainment and epic inebriation.
Hangover Cures. There's the kegger, the rager, the all-nighter, and the next morning. Also known as the hangover. For the headache that makes you wonder if you could maybe convince the campus health center to administer a Cortisone shot between the eyes, I always go with ibuprofen over other common painkillers for 2 reasons: 1) A doctor friend (a real one, not Cornelius in the lab coat he bought on Ebay) told me ibuprofen trumps naproxen here because the former attacks acute pain, while the latter deals better with aches and soreness that require extended relief; 2) A pharmacist once told me that my brain felt like it was about to explode out of my head and nose because alcohol swells the body, especially the sinus cavities. Ibuprofen has anti-inflammatory in addition to a painkilling properties. Aspirin does too, but I like my aspirin in Excedrin form, and that adds caffeine, which will just exacerbate the dehydration you're already experiencing.
Which brings me to my next hangover topic: dehydration. Another doctor friend was the first to expose me to the hangover miracle that is Pedialyte ($7). While it's best to take some, and try not to spill the entire bottle on the floor, when you get home from drinking, the bottle of concentrated electrolytes rehydrates shriveled prune innards the next morning too. And you thought the #1 Pediatrician Recommended Brand was just for diarrhetic babies.
If busting a move on the drinking floor has left you feeling like you're going to unleash a volcanic eruption of vomit, try...getting to the toilet as fast as you can. If the nausea is a little more mild and you're not into activating the ol' gag reflex, try some activated charcoal ($5). It's been known to suck up a stomach's badness like a Dyson in an antiques store. Like Pedialyte, if you have the wherewithal to pop a couple of the black pills before your hangover settles in, all the better.
Once you've gotten past the searing pain, lip-cracking dehydration, and Drake Passage levels of nausea your hangover brought along for its visit, you might find you're kind of hungry. In fact you might find yourself in a general state of kind of hungry at other times too, or possibly at all times. My favorite dorm- and apartment-friendly hunger slayer is the Hamilton Beach Dual Breakfast Sandwich Maker ($52). A tidy pile of bacon, egg, and cheese cooked, stacked, and stuffed between a toasted English muffin, with no other equipment or utensils required.
Delonghi Perfecto Indoor Grill ($60). An average of 4 stars from over 500 Amazon reviewers, claim this countertop BBQ turns out "perfectly grilled food to your preference" right from the walled warmth of your dorm room. Or shared kitchen during the crapperific winter months. College should not mean sacrificing your Sweet Baby Ray's-slathered baby backs!
X-Mode Energy Shots ($22 to $30). Kegs of beer, boxes of wine, and energy shots on tap. X-Mode comes with a boxed dispenser and refillable Mode-2-Go bottles. The bottles are marked with 1-ounce and 2-ounce lines for responsible raw energy consumption and to remind you that under no circumstances, none, not even if you used to work at the soft-serve ice cream store, are you to drink X-Mode straight from the tap. Why? Mainly because a single shot takes effect 100 times faster than coffee, and since it's so quick and easy to use, it's even quicker and easier to overuse.
I Will Not Be Your Father Condom ($3). Three bucks. Yoda says, "Far less than 18 years of child support and a lifetime of herpes, that is."
Wool & Prince Hardly-Ever-Wash-Me Shirts ($68 to $128). Date in an hour. Laundry piled high. No quarters in sight. While other men's shirts soil in a day or two and wrinkle at the rub of a belly, these babies fight both odors and wrinkles for months at a time. Literally. 100 days was the test period for donning a Wool & Prince shirt with no form of maintenance other than the daily spritzes of Sure Fuck cologne wearers would use anyway. Choose from button-downs, Polos, and crew necks.
Morninghead: Man's 5-Second Hairstylist ($10). A cap lined with a proprietary, super-absorbent cloth material that drinks up a few ounces of water, and distributes them evenly across its surface. Put on the Morninghead like a shower cap, scrunch the water through your hair, and your mop is ready for smoothing in 5 seconds. No more sopping wet follicles, no more water oozing down your face and onto your clothes, and no more bending over and risking a concussion smacking your head against the faucet. It's like a ShamWow! for your head.
Erox Arousal Body Spray ($60). "Erox is a functional fragrance containing two patented human pheromones and a new, patent-pending, organic pheromone-like compound derived from sea coral. Combined, these three ingredients create a very social and receptive mood in both the wearer and his audience." That's the description from Erox. I would have gone with, "Erox. You're two sprays from a lay."
Cannabis Killer Candle ($17). I'm not suggesting or condoning any illegal activities here, I'm just pointing out that if a lady...or your parents...are coming over you might not want your room smelling like the inside of a head shop. I'm pretty sure this candle cuts into the odiferous scents of dirty socks, stale beer, and week-old Taco Bell too. If not, try this crystal gel goop ($25) my mama told me about.