Sunday, September 26, 2010

Two Saves at Frat Houses

Fraternities are great examples of male social groups. Fraternities can be wonderful experiences of brotherhood, friendship and community. Sometimes they are just drinking clubs. Sometimes they have bizarre initiation rituals & stupid rules. Sometimes they have closet case homosexuals who use the fraternity as a way to score other closet cases. Sometimes they have budding rapists. This is a post on those fellows.

My frosh year of college, I remember wanting to join a frat. The plan: my fall would be spent scoping out the frats, and then in January I would rush and then accept a bid. Fall season was full of open parties, crush parties by invitation, and closing with semi-formals and Winter formals for the members. if you got an invite to a crush party as a frosh, it was a sign they liked you. A crush party was an invite your crush party but really a 'rush' party for prospective pledges to get around the rule of one week for rushing in January. The open parties were the initial hurdle.

Open party season started right in August. Each weekend, the emails would go out and flyers would be passed out. You'd get a crew of people together and make the rounds. Maybe a west campus swing or a north campus swing. One night a pack of 6 of us (4 guys and 2 girls) went on a north campus swing. Halfway through the night, we went to a frat with T & E in their letters. I was handshaking the soph members, and we all grabbed beers. About 20 mins later, my friend Jon grabbed my arm and dragged me to a corner. I saw a female friend incoherently babbling on a couch. We asked her how much she had to drink, One, and if she saw them pour the drink herself, No. We were 18, but knew what was up. We told her we'd walk her back to the dorms. We asked her to stand. No luck. We hooked her arms around our shoulders and walked her out. Douchebag frat boy said she could always stay there if she couldnt make it back, and we gave him the dagger look. On the walk back, what struck me as odd was how sweaty she was. She stopped and puked at one point, and we walked her back to her dorm. Her nerd roommate acted pissed about us barging in, and then we said "get her clothes off and get her to bed, she's sick". All 6 of us met for brunch on Sunday, recapped what had happened, and crossed that frat off the list for rushing.

The second incident was in the second semester in the middle of a classic cold Ithaca winter. I had a few friends who were pledging a house Sigma is in their name, and they invited me, my girlfriend (GF) and whatever girls she could round up to their house for a Friday unadvertised party. This was basically the upperclassmen using the frosh to bring in tons of frosh girls for easy prey. Alcohol + Nerd 18 yo girls = Easy Prey. I figured it out after seeing the girl-guy ratio at the party which was the best I'd seen all frosh year. The party was winding down and the clock showed close to 2am. I was playing darts and noticed my girlfriend's best friend being circled by sober looking upperclassmen. I pulled my ears away from the dart trash talk, and listened for anything. I heard certain sex act talk from two of the guys, and then asked my friends about those upperclassmen circling Thalia. She was enjoying being the center of attention with bad pool playing in super tight clothes. One of my friends got the point, and then he and I had to figure out how to extract her from the pool table area (in the basement of course) and out the house.

Side note: Thalia was an annoying spoiled brat. She thought she was an 8 when she was a 5. She was self centered & self absorbed beyond anything I had seen. She was also a dance and theater kid. I'd outscore her on Spanish exams by 15-20 points and she'd cry since she'd study for hours (I didn't study at all), and would try to tear me down by saying "But I speak it so much better than you, I dont get your why you score high". There was no talking her out of anywhere when she was the center of attention. She also broke a buddy's heart and was a bitch to him. I can't believe she is a PhD who does child issues research.

We figured a plan. I'd start to be affectionate with my GF and hint that I had talked the girls into a 3some, and my friend would help support the lie. Appeal to the frat pervs brains with a sex thing. Before we started the ruse, I got one drink with my GF and explained the plan. I recall saying, "Just shut up and go along with this so your friend gets out safe". She agreed, and we put on our ruse. Of course, the spoiled brat bitched about leaving and fought pretty hard, until my GF gave her whatever girl code they had, and then she went along with it and we got out of their fast. The douchebags wished me luck with the endeavour. I recall a drunken temper tantrum on the cold walk home. Once again, the crew went to bed, reconvened at brunch, and set stories straight. My friends pledging the frat felt weird and ashamed by their brothers' acts (no fault of theirs). It is a creep-predator image that is hard to shake once seen. No thank you came in public from Thalia. We heard "I'm an adult, it's my body and I can handle myself". I also heard later that night, "Thanks, GF explained blah blah. I can't trust blah blah, I shouldn't drink so much, Thanks," and got an awkward hug. Here's a video about her research (dismissive wank motion).




Thalia Goldstein:Developing Empathy Through Theatre from Andrew Swaine on Vimeo.

After rush period, I received two bids. I didn't want to join one as they said no to my best friend. The other was the All American boy frat and had a beautiful house. The juniors loved my game at parties. The seniors loved me for my Goldeneye skills. The sophomores were rich kid jerks, and the other frosh given bids were the annoying kids desperate to use the line "I'm in a frat". After seeing their house a couple years later, my mom asked, confused, why I said no to Alpha Delt a Phi. It didn't feel right. I would later bartend a lot of those frat/sorority parties, and even worked formals for the frats I passed on. I regret nothing.

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