A fratting mess
Has anyone in the history of the world ever attended a fraternity house while sober? Am I the only member of this sad minority? Come to think of it, I wouldn’t be surprised if Plato and the Greeks were drunk on good old Greek wine themselves when they established fraternities, which a wise — probably drunk — man once told me were derived from philosophical musings in “The Republic.” And let’s be honest — unless he were drunk, is there any other way a smart guy like Plato would actually believe it was a good idea to put a bunch of fledgling adults in a house together to be supervised only by upstanding gentlemen like Sam Adams and his bud Weiser?
Whatever the intentions of our fraternal-minded forefathers, the experience of partying among brothers is so quintessentially college that it can really only be accurately captured by sober observation. And let me tell you — I mean sober, to the nth degree. True to the dictionary definition. Completely, utterly, that-boy-in-the-corner-still-has-absolutely-no-redeeming-qualities sober.
The night began in underwhelming fashion. For once, there was none of the typical front-door groveling, when girls seem to think there is a direct correlation between the amount they stick their boobs out and their likelihood of getting in. Meanwhile, they are degradingly sized up by the loyal doormen like a bunch of strippers — albeit the classy kind, for politicians and ambassadors — while any first-year boys realize they may as well spend the night alone watching porn for all the luck they’re about to have.
Luckily, there was to be none of that, and we got in without a hitch. The first thing I noticed was the floor, and then the walls. I stood paralyzed, struck by the haunting similarities between this place and my personal conception of hell. I am a staunch member of the camp that claims girls do not sweat, but rather glisten, but upon entry I had a brutal realization that even sweat is too nice a word to describe the phenomenon both men and women undergo on the dance floor mid-twerk.
The biddies, the bros, the floor, the walls: They were all, well, moist. Commence shuddering.
While most new entrants booked it over to the bar, I grabbed a Solo cup and went on a mission to find the kitchen, where I hoped I could fight my crushing sobriety with a healthier kind of hydration. Sadly, it would seem water is as hot a commodity in fraternity houses as toilet paper, because there is no way that what came out of that sink can be classified as H2O.
I doubt this was so much a plumbing problem as the result of years of confusion about things like sponges and trash cans and a general lack of comprehension about hygiene. I understand these are difficult concepts to master and this “hygiene” thing is nearly impossible to grasp, but, seriously? There should be no place in the world grosser than a fraternity bathroom. But there is, and I promptly fled the scene.
I decided to check out the dance floor, figuring that it, at least, would lift my spirits. I could find a nice boy, and 50 Cent would help me waltz this increasingly disturbing night away. Right? Wrong.
A college dance floor is regretfully not home to the ghetto-fabulous beats that make the boys and girls actually want to get down and/or “get jiggy with it.” Oh no. What they play is a distinctive brand of house-pop-puke that sounds like the love child of Carly Rae Jepsen, Skrillex and an out-of-control bassist. And there is nothing — and I mean nothing — about that combination that would make anyone want to pop, lock or drop it. As I looked around, taking in the scene — which consisted of couples who obviously thought they looked like a grinding version of Venus and Adonis, oblivious to the fact that they really looked the poster children for loss of dignity — I realized that the fraternity scene is no place for a sober woman.
I left soon thereafter with no immediate plans to return. If we’re being optimistic, we could say it was an important, eye-opening experience — I now understand why drinking is so important to college students. After all, if everyone were sober, they would realize they are literally drinking punch out of a trash can. And trust me — even though that might be the only time that trash can has been used, I hope every girl at this school would realize that’s just wrong.
Julia’s column runs biweekly Tuesdays. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.