Animal House is a great movie. When you're 13, it makes fraternity life look like the greatest thing ever. You and all your friends just hanging out, drinking some beers, harassing jocks, and having sex in the back of borrowed automobiles. Unfortunately, not all frats are as fun as those crazy Deltas and not all frat guys are as effortlessly cool as Bluto and Otter.
Frats can be divided into two categories. The first are big state school frats where parties are made out to be insane orgies that get posted on college girl fetish Web sites. The other (which I experienced) are small private university frats filled with preppy types, where every social event is based around Greek life. Think George Bush at Yale and that's probably pretty close.
The university that I attended has one of the strongest "Hellenic councils," or whatever they're called, in the United States. Freshmen weren't allowed to join frats, which didn't bother me because I never thought that I was "frat material" anyway. After a year of being told, "Sorry brah (as in bro, or brother) you're not on the list," I realized that if I was ever going to have any fun at this college, I had better join a frat.
At the beginning of my sophomore year, my friends and I went to recruiting events at almost all of the frats on campus. Every place gave the same speech: "Yeah, it's like a really tight brotherhood, but we're not cliquey like the other frats on campus. I mean look at 'x' (the only, or one of the few, minorities in the frat) He's different from us, but he's still our brah."
There was this one place, widely known across campus for being the lamest frat, and their speech was TOTALLY different. Maybe the president (I think his name was Raj) knew that his frat was fucked, since it had only ten or so members, and he thought, "Shit, I've got nothing to lose." What happened next blew me and my friends away. Raj sat all of us down in the main room of the frat house and went into this impassioned speech about how he was going to make us men and mold us into leaders for tomorrow. If you'd ever met Raj, you'd realize how hilariously hypocritical this whole charade was because when Webster defined "hippie stoner," he was thinking of Raj.
Most of the other places were disappointingly typical during rush events. I've always thought stereotyping was the result of laziness and generalizations, but what I saw proved me totally wrong. What's that? I'm at Sigma Chi (the jock frat) and the rush event is to see who can throw a football the farthest? It was exactly like in Revenge of the Nerds. You know the Alpha Alpha Alpha frat that always harasses the nerds, with that big cross-eyed bear looking guy? I saw guys who ACTUALLY looked like that. It was amazing. We went to Sigma Epsilon (the metrosexual frat) and the president looked like he just came off a fashion shoot for American Eagle. We even tried Delta Upsilon (the jock/date rape/trust fund frat) and they told us how easy it was to "fuck drunk freshman sluts."
I finally decided that the only frat that interested me was Lamba Chi. I thought the brothers were pretty funny because most of them looked like they were characters from The Goonies. They also played that Ewok chant from Return of the Jedi when these two small brothers fought this one fat brother. I figured anyone who had such a keen sense of irony was probably worth getting to know. So when I had to choose one frat to pledge, it was Lambda Chi.
The initial pledge events mostly involved getting too stoned, drinking too much and passing out. All in all, they were pretty boring, but the idea was to get to know the brothers. There were a lot of pointless drinking games. I remember one time, we pledges hadn't properly completed an "assignment" (I think it was the one where we had to get a girl from each sorority to sign a picture of Jenna Jameson). As punishment, we had to drink a handle of cheap vodka, but no one could drink out of the bottle twice. Things were looking grim until this fat guy, nicknamed "Lunchbox," stepped up and drained probably one fifth of the bottle. Twenty minutes later he passed out and we didn't see him for the rest of the day.
After a week or so of this sort of thing, we finally got to have "mixers." Well, now I was excited. See, during rush, the brothers at Lambda were telling us all these great stories about how much sex we were going to get just because we were in their frat. The public have this misguided notion that college students join frats for free beer or something like that. They don't. They join so they can get laid. Constantly. On a side note, if you want free beer, don't join a frat, just get on their guest lists. I ended up paying $200 in beer money in just one semester. It was lame.
I think the first mixer we ever had was jungle themed. I only remember this because I had to spend like four hours cutting down bamboo (which is one tough bastard) and taping it to the walls of the house. No one tells you that pledges do all the setting up and cleaning for parties before you join. I guess it just slips their minds. . .
After hours of pointless decorating, the party started. I got to work the door early in the party, which is actually a lot of fun because you meet everyone that enters the house, so when you go in later, you can be like "Hey" to cute girls if you're so inclined. I figured the older brothers would be old pros at the whole mixer thing. Like know ALL the girls, have lots of funny stories to tell and introduce me to the people that I didn't know (which was mostly everybody). Nope. Did not happen. Most of the brothers were quite inept when confronted with members of the opposite sex. By the time they'd try and talk to a girl, they would be too drunk to say anything worth hearing. Anyway, it didn't particularly matter because, unbeknownst to me, Lambda Chi had a reputation for being the "sketchy frat" (sketchy, next to brah, is the most used word in Greek life) Most of the sorority girls who were supposed to show up never did. I don't remember how the night ended, but if it was anything like the nights to come, it probably involved getting too drunk, puking and going home alone.
At almost every party Lambda Chi hosted, there were basically no girls. To this day, this is one thing I've never understood. None of the Lambda brothers were particularly good looking, but it would seem that these sorority girls could at least come over for free drinks to "pre-game" before they went on to other parties (pre-gaming is one of the three phases in The Frat Party, I'll explain that in a second). Most of these girls would knowingly go to frats where there had been rapes and go there on a regular basis, yet somehow Lambda was the sketchy frat. Hmmm, I guess date rape isn't THAT sketchy.
There were a few nights where The Frat Party, as in the social event, yielded memorable and unique results. Most nights, it was the same thing. Here are the three phases of the typical Frat Party.
Phase One: The Pre-Game
Amongst college deans, the infamous pre-game is probably the most evil thing imaginable. I never understood the term "pre-game." To me, drinking was a leisurely activity and comparing it to some sort of athletic competition always irritated me. The pre-game starts around 9 PM at a friend's dorm room or some similar setting. There must be hard alcohol present and it must be consumed in shots, Jell-O or otherwise. Sometimes there are drinking games, but this really depends if your friends are "drinking game" type people. Mine weren't. The idea of pre-gaming is to get you pleasantly drunk, so by the time you're at the frat party, hearing "Summer of '69" for the hundredth time, it doesn't seem so bad. If you're really good at pre-gaming, you can time it so you're getting really drunk just as you walk out the frat house's back door and into the line for the keg.
Once, I went into a Sig Chi (the jock frat) off campus house to visit a friend for some pre-gaming. There were a bunch of girls there, which wasn't anything too unusual, but what I saw next was just baffling. You know those Animal Planet documentaries about the whooping crane? The ones where the female whooping cranes do some elaborate dance to attract mates and the male cranes are just kinda sitting there watching? That's exactly what I saw. All the Sig Chi brothers were leaning against the walls or sitting in chairs while all the girls got up on this coffee table in the middle of the room and took turns doing little dances and giggling. They were all exactly like the whooping cranes.
Phase Two: The Party
The party lasts from approximately 10:30 PM to 2 AM, these times varying with how dedicated you are to the cause of getting paralytic. The party does not exist at any fixed location. Rather it is a quest to be at the best party on campus at any given time. A place might be great from 11-11:45 PM, but then be dead for the rest of the night. The trick is to know where to be and when to be there. I was never socially adventurous enough to perfect this, but I had a friend or two who had the routine down. Going out with them was always like a workout, and you had to keep your eye on the prize. You're having fun talking to that girl from French class? Too bad, because I just heard the Pi Phis and Tri Delts are all at SAE and its CRAZY!
The best parties usually have some sort of centerpiece; a reason for people to stop by. Most often, frats will try and make the party themed, like the aforementioned jungle party. Sometimes it's naughty schoolgirls and nasty teachers, or pimps and hos or, if you're lucky, the classic toga party. Other times, frats will construct eight foot long beer bongs or make an "ice luge." An ice luge is responsible for the one and only time that I ever blacked out. It consists of a large block of ice that has two long channels etched into it. Someone stands at the top of the approximately four foot long piece of ice and pours hard liquor and a chaser (only if they like you) down the channels. The ice ends up making the liquor so cold that it tastes like nothing. Add this to the fact that you have to drink everything that comes down the luge, or risk being covered in liquor, and you have the setup to get everyone at your party ridiculously wasted.
However, these fun and games only last as long as the booze does, and once that's gone, it's off to the next frat house. The party ends when you realize that you've been to all the good places on campus and people are starting to hook up or pass out.
Phase Three: Endgame
The Endgame is the climax of the night. If you've played your cards right, you could be going home with someone. If not, you'll probably end up vomiting in the trash can next to your bed and waking up your roommate with your drunken moans of pain. Truth be told, it is remarkable to me how little sex most frat guys get. Like in most animal communities, the alpha males get all the women and the rest of guys (i.e. the majority) are left with the table scraps. If you see a suspected beta male go home with a really hot girl, it's probably because she's got herpes and all the alpha males already know this.
Because most frat guys don't get laid, they end up blacking out. Blacking out can often be a stated goal for an evening, as in "I'm gonna black out tonight brah, who's with me?" The more experienced drinkers take a looong time to black out and they use this to their advantage. There was this one pledge, named Serge, and he was widely known throughout Lambda as being the weakest drinker. One time, at the end of the night, some brothers got this HILARIOUS idea to write all over his face with a marker and then put their balls on his face, all while he was passed out. Remember when you were like eleven and stuff like that was funny?
I never ended up joining my frat. I quit the day before initiation for a number of reasons. The whole pledge process was made so intensive and time consuming that I literally never got to do any school work. More importantly, I never got to see my friends who weren't in the fraternity. They were all being replaced by a bunch of guys that were O.K. with eating expired bologna and stale potato chips. Oh yeah, and there was also the fact that my "brothers" made some sorority girls shave my armpits in a cellar while everyone laughed at me... But anyway, the whole Greek system is incredibly dated and lame and really isn't fun at all. I'm sure you'll meet people that tell you otherwise, but chances are they work for Price Waterhouse Coopers and you already hate them.
-Written by Anonymous.
Party Issue Features:
:: History's Greatest Parties ::
:: Your First Dinner Party ::
:: Getting In With the In Crowd::
:: The Truth About Frat Parties ::
:: Miss Dixie Longate Throws a Mean Tupperware Party ::
:: It's Not Strange To Throw Your Dog a Party ::
:: How To Set The Whole Thing To Music ::
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