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THE FALL ROUNDUP
Alexander Wolff
August 31, 1987
PERSUASIVE HOSTESSES HELP COLLEGES LASSO TOP PROSPECTS
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August 31, 1987

The Fall Roundup

PERSUASIVE HOSTESSES HELP COLLEGES LASSO TOP PROSPECTS

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Well, what if she is overwhelmed by my boyish charm?

Not likely, even in this age of Joan Collins. Hostess group supervisors are constantly reminding their charges that they are sophisticated college women. Betty Ling's line is, "Why'd you be interested in a 17-year-old boy when you've got 150 men down on the field?"

Indeed, TCU's Cathy Coleman recalls seeing center Preston Nix, whom she had recruited, on campus the following fall and asking him how he was doing. He said, "Just fine, ma'am." Says Cathy: "I said he didn't have to call me ma'am, but I was happy he was doing fine anyway. He didn't think of me as a date; he thought of me as a mother."

You could, however, lay a little groundwork for that one fine day when you achieve BMOC-hood. "One guy I showed around asked me out after he came on campus the next year," Georgia Girl senior Dana Pike says. "I wasn't interested. But then he kind of grew up a lot, and I wouldn't have minded. Only by then he had a girlfriend."

What if I'm persistent?

You'll be in the obnoxious minority. One recruit asked Sweet Caroline Rhonda Baker, "If I come here, will you go out with me?" Rhonda could tell him she was engaged, but for those who aren't, the perfect response leaves a hint of possibility without the curse of obligation. The savvy hostess uses allure as a lure, up to a point. Tracey Ryan, a Washington State hostess, is not available. "But," she says, "it's not like you want them to know that. Let them come to school here and find out." Says TCU's Grider, "Our girls are trained not to be shocked or appalled, just polite."

So, they're trained?

Expertly. Horned Frog Associates have role-playing and brainstorming sessions. (Sample role play: "What to do if he starts hitting on you." Sample brainstorming topic: "Come up with 10 nonalcoholic things to do that aren't geeky.") Auburn Tigerettes attend two weeks of seminars covering everything from makeup to telecommunications skills, and receive a 68-page handbook.

Needless to say, NCAA rules are covered thoroughly. Your hostess won't knit you a gold lame sampler, or so much as fetch you a Coke. And although many hostesses do go on to become flight attendants, they won't be stepping off the school plane in your hometown to pick you up for your 48-hour visit. Ole Miss is on probation right now, partly because it permitted Rebel Recruiters to do just that.

"Our girls are too smart to give anyone any money," Grider says. "Besides, if they get any money, they're probably going to go out shopping."

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