The Taylor Stigma

When John Doherty ’59 came to speak at the Veteran’s Day All-School Meeting, he reflected on (of many things) the old Andover fraternities from his days at PA, which, he asserted, no longer exist today. Unfortunately, Mr. Doherty committed a slight error. One Andover fraternity still exists; I would like to introduce Taylor Hall, home of Andover’s “bad boys.” Despite its poor reputation for rule violations, this dormitory exemplifies the best of fraternal qualities. Now, before I proceed to explain exactly why Taylor epitomizes a fraternity, I believe a proper definition of terms is in order. “Fraternity,” in my sense, does not mean “Animal House” or decadent parties, but its original Greek meaning: brotherhood. While watching “The Good Shepherd” this winter break, one line in particular evoked a Taylor Hall sentimentality—“Cambridge boys stick together like glue”. This is not to say that Taylor boys exclusively talk with one another, but we do “stick together:” we sit together at Commons, reserve “T-unit Only” pews at All-School meeting (where we certainly make our presence known), cheer the loudest at basketball games and usually bombard Ryley—often in dance-themed uniform—just when the dances start to get hot (Coincidence? I think not). Consider our dorm picture, which was a perfect representation of the Taylor pride. Everyone dressed in exactly three items of clothing—a jacket, a tie, and a pair of boxers. Taylor has arguably the highest concentration of male sex appeal on campus. This can be determined not only by the fact that every Taylor boy has a girl on the dance floor on Ryley Saturdays, but by the fact that on Quad Day (or Cluster Day, now) Taylor boys pull hundreds of dollars of profit from selling our kisses. Ask any girl on campus where all the hot guys live, and the answer will always be Taylor. Finally, the dorm itself is one of the most coveted on campus: the only dorms on campus that can compete with the beautiful Taylor facilities are sequestered in the far reaches of Abbot. It is the top destination of all soon-to-be-ex-Rockwellians—historically the bastion of freshman popularity—and is the number one choice for pull-ins. Additionally, among the ‘09 students who stacked Tucker House this year, one of their prime motivations for doing so was the access they gain to Taylor the following year. This combination of positive attributes could create jealousy among the student body—particular some of the less fortunate males—but also, potentially, to additional administrative focus on disciplinary issues. Is Taylor under the administration’s microscope because of its extra-visible position on campus? The bad-boy stigma of the dorm perpetuates itself with the years, and I can in perfect honesty state that I have never abused a substance of any kind, and have never felt pressured to do so while in Taylor, nor witnessed any said abuse. Is Taylor’s reputation undeserved? I would caution to say it is a little exaggerated, except for one thing: we do have the hottest boys on campus.