WHO IS THE PRINCETON COAT THIEF?
If you’re like me, then you have received countless emails from your residential college listserv that sound something like this: Hey Guys! Sorry to spam, but I lost my coat at (insert eating club here). If you accidentally picked it up, let me know! If you’re not like me, it means you are a rational human being, and you unsubscribed from said listserv after being inundated with mildly disturbing requests for everything from fake dreads to “panda butt sex gloves.” But let’s ignore my slightly masochistic loyalty to ButlerBuzz for a moment and focus on the real issue: coat theft. The sheer volume of these sad emails between the months of November and January sparked my sensationalist curiosity regarding the nature of this sartorial crime. As both a coat theft victim and one time perpetrator (Sorry again, John Bogle), I feel especially compelled to explore the tantalizing question in your inbox: who is the Princeton coat thief?
Scenario 1: The Accidental Thief
This harmless partygoer forgets to check for the personalized label that her mother ironed into her navy, J-Crew pea coat and walks off (at a reasonable hour) with the wrong one. Upon noticing the mix-up the next morning, she produces a piece of monogrammed stationary from a tidy desk drawer, writes a heartfelt apology note (in cursive) and places it in the stolen coat’s pocket. This Good Samaritan then promptly returns said coat to last night’s club on her way to Sunday morning chapel. Manicured hands clasped, she prays for your forgiveness.
Scenario 2: The Drunk Girl
It’s Princetonween and a very drunk Rosie the Riveter bounds up the boozy basement stairs at TI. Her friends are donning their coats for a short trek down Prospect Street when she sees it: a floor-length faux fur coat, irresistibly unattended. A combination of tequila fueled lust and midnight boredom causes her to slip on the coat and run, laughing maniacally all the way to Canon. Her friends trail behind shouting an indecisive mixture of cheers and reprimands. After completing several laps of the sticky taproom, her latent conscience interrupts her ecstatic catwalk. Fear sets in, and the once soft coat begins to itch. She can’t return the contraband to TI for fear of being caught and/or sent to court mandated therapy for kleptomania. Then, a stroke of beer-soaked brilliance: FREE COAT, she screams, tossing the polyester pelt on a nearby princess as she makes her exit.
Scenario 3: The Entrepreneur
This Goldman Sachs summer intern knows a lucrative business opportunity when he sees one. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday he arrives coatless to a club, generic East Coast good looks to ensure his anonymity. He mingles for an hour, his blue eyes darting furtively around the room before leaving in your Barbour coat, which he sells on the black market—located two nautical miles below Firestone—for 100% profit. Averaging three over-priced raincoats a week, thirty-two weeks a year, The Entrepreneur nets more in an academic year than most schoolteachers.
Scenario 4: The Hoarder
He emerges from his single once a weekend and slinks through the bitter night to the street. He chooses a club at random, slips anonymously by the bouncers, and weaves his way through a thicket of gyrating bodies and tangled limbs to the coatroom. His stomach growls at the buffet of goose-down before him. Hungrily, he pulls on coat after coat until his slight frame can bear no more. Out a backdoor and into the darkness, he returns triumphant to his room where he melts into the heap of jackets where his bed should be.