That Guy: Scott Brown

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March 25, 2007

6:19 PM

Scott Brown is this year’s Mr. William and Mary for a reason. He’s got it all: charisma, radiantly approachable attitude, great taste in eveningwear. His charm spans four spoken languages, and though his conversation of the world is fast-paced and smart, his love for things nearest and dearest — his family, his dog shelter, his softball team — requires no translation. That Guy describes the perks of W&M stardom, where to buy briefs in waist size 83 and how to sweet-talk one’s way out of death in the desert.

**So, Mr. William and Mary, what’s your talent?**

p. My talent was a three-part blitzkrieg. I began with some karaoke to “God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You,” then I moved into a beatbox, which I’ve been doing seriously since a young age and then I moved into some free-styling. I also had a bit of a costume change: I went from my somewhat conservative Northface into my Biggie Smalls shirt with my ten-point Jewish star and the rest of my bling.

**So what would you say sealed the deal for you?**

p. I think I look very good in a black bikini. I also had Clay Clemens’s name tattooed on my ass. There was a big heart with Clay’s name on it with an arrow through it. Plus Larry the Caf man and I had a natural banter as appreciators of food. I took the eveningwear seriously: I wore red and black — very sexy, very classy.

**Are people treating you differently?**

p. During Campus Golf I brought a dog out with me. I work at a dog shelter during the week, and on Saturday I brought one of my dogs out — it’s a total chick magnet, by the way — and people came up to me saying “Hey, I know you!” People have been wonderful about the whole thing, very gracious.

**You’re an Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies major. Where does your interest come from?**

p. Growing up my parents would always leave the TV on, so when I was playing with my Lincoln Logs I was also watching CNN. I have an insatiable appetite for the world, and I always loved knowing what was going on. The Middle East was kind of natural for me to go into, but then of course 9/11 happened.

**Tell me about Tunisia.**

p. The people were so incredibly gracious. I got invited to weddings, received marriage proposals, bargained in the markets. Riding a camel in the Sahara Desert was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Standing on the Algerian border where they filmed the Star Wars pod race, the berbers, going out and spending the night with drunk Tunisian students — it’s just such a different country. It’s a dictatorship, so the president’s face is everywhere. I survived, and there’s nothing I love to do more than sit outside at night smoking sheesha, drinking tea, talking with the old men about whatever. It was an incredible experience.

p. I almost died in the Sahara Desert. We were being approached by these desert nomads called berbers, and they offered to give these girls a ride on their beautiful Arabian horses. They were carrying swords and jewelry, and to make a long story short the professor told us not to take a ride because they would charge us. For example, if one of the girls had gone for a ride with them, he would have said, “Give me all your money or I’ll cut your throat.” It’s the middle of the desert, it’s 120 degrees at six in the morning, we’re 10 American college students, all white. So the girls didn’t take a ride but they did take pictures, and the guy said, “You will pay me now.”

p. I was the only one who spoke Arabic, so I went over and said, “Hellas,” which means ‘enough’ in Arabic. They looked at me like I had four heads. I said “That’s my wife, that’s my sister, and that’s my sister-in-law” — it’s very much a patriarchical society — “and you have no permission to speak to them.” The berbers asked where I was from, and I said Egypt, and they asked what city, and I said, “On the Nile.” They were basically sitting there smoking and wondering what to do, and I said, “If you don’t leave them alone I will tell the elder.” They don’t put up with harassment of tourists, it’s a crime. So they turned.to me and said in Arabic, “Tunisia and Egypt, in the Koran, we are brothers. I will let you go. I’m very sorry.” But ultimately I thought I was just going to be a headline on CNN News: Local, chubby, Jewish kid gets chopped up in the Sahara Desert. Remains are found in Oasis.

**Do you see these experiences playing out in your future?**

p. With the language skills, I’ve been sniffing around a little bit. I’ve made some trips to different government agencies, several varieties, including one that starts with a “C” and ends with an “IA” a couple of times. I’ve gotten one or two offers, but I want to keep my options open. I think next year’s plan is to spend the summer in Morocco and then go home to work at the family business, and then go to graduate school. For now, I’m taking it slow. I don’t want to pigeonhole myself.

**Since you bring it up — what’s the best part of working at a Big & Tall store?**

p. I started working in the store when I was five. My great-great-grandfather founded it in Boston in 1946, and it has been in my family 60 years. My father now works there, my mother works there; my grandfather, who is 83, still works there (in some capacity). We carry the largest sizes in the world. We carry up to waist size 90 and ship all over the world. We’ve fitted pro-athletes, celebrities. We ship to “Lost” (the big guy on “Lost” is one of our customers), Ted Williams (the greatest hitter of all time) is a customer of ours.

p. So that’s what I do over the summer and over Christmas break. Christmas season is basically known as tuition season in the Brown household. So if Jared from Subway is successful in convincing the country to go slim, I can’t go to college anymore. It’s not that I’m rooting for people to get fat, I just want to finish. Bigmen.com — shameless promotion, but it’s very important to me.

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