Not even an hour after UR’s “Chamber Boys” kicked off their Alpha Male Competition, an event in which UR students registered to go on a staged, three-minute date with a woman from off campus in the name of charity, their house band received a noise complaint from Wilson Commons staff. Good – the gentle chaos had begun.
Most UR students know the “Chamber Boys”, a group of upperclassmen with a WRUR radio show that unashamedly picks apart all things quirky, raunchy, cringe-worthy and controversial on campus. The show has featured a local Rochester stripper along with a mock God who said on-air that the Holocaust “makes you more fun” in heaven. Needless to say, the “Chamber Boys” routine is a classic example of the phrase, “you either love it or hate it.” Regardless, the boys shake up the division between the sacred and profane on campus, and in doing so they make UR culture much, much more interesting.
The Alpha Male competition on Feb. 22 featured the “Chamber Boys” disturbing the equilibrium like they do best, this time in a softer and more lighthearted context than usual. As is the case with “Chamber Boys” productions, by getting involved you give yourself up to near-inevitable embarrassment. The Alpha Male competition was no exception, as participating students had to sign a waiver consenting for their date to be published on YouTube in all its awkward glory. However, this time the cringes were in the name of scientific progress – each participant in the Alpha Male Competition meant another $20 donated to the American Cancer Society.
Entertainment wise, the Alpha Male competition was by and large a success. The event’s 14 participants served as an accurate sample population for the diverse nerd culture that dominates UR’s student body. As a result, when plopped in a date with a woman whose graceful composure most UR males could only hope to match, funny situations arose. What’s more, participating students agreed to suffer through challenges, created by the Chamber Boys and picked from a spinning number wheel, during the three minutes of their date. Thus, the champion alpha male was not simply the guy who could charm his date for three minutes. No, that would be too easy. Instead, the champion alpha male was the guy who could charm his date for three minutes while incessantly scratching his armpits or complimenting her eyes (a tactic with considerably less of an enchanting effect when repeated every 10 seconds.)
Also deserving of mention was the event’s house band, UR’s own “Jay Walker and the Crossing Guards”. The band performed classic rock, soul, and modern pop covers in between dates, attracting passerbies and keeping the competition rolling while new participants/victims were sought out. Say what you will about the Chamber Boys, but they know how to organize an event that doesn’t drag, a statement that certainly cannot be made for all of the student-organized attractions here on campus. The inclusion of the house band, along with the Chamber Boys’ role as commentators during dates, kept the three-hour competition engaging from start to finish.
To offer an analogy that blows a college fundraising event absurdly out of proportion, the Alpha Male competition was the “Chamber Boys” equivalent to Van Halen’s “1984”. Like the album that opened up mainstream audiences to aggressive rock through its incorporation of synthesizers, the Alpha Male competition gave the Chamber Boys a chance to showcase their biting style of humor in a setting more inviting to the average UR student. Considering this, along with the fact that no participants broke into tears and the event raised money for cancer research, the Alpha Male competition was a success on all fronts.
Howard is a member of
the class of 2017.