I'm done with fraternity parties. They are, quite literally, all the same. You walk up to the frat house, get something that identifies you as either being under or over twenty-one years old, then enter the house and walk downstairs to the dancefloor. The music is loud, the strobe lights are blinding, and most people are too intoxicated to talk.
It's always the same. The only place to socialize is in the backyard, but now it's November. It's getting really cold out. So, the only choices are freeze or go somewhere that you can't see or hear anything. No thanks.
I've been to three fraternity parties this semester. There are four fraternities on my campus. For the sake of avoiding a lawsuit, I will refer to them only by one letter. They are C, Z, D, and K. If the fraternity houses were Harry Potter Houses, C would be Gryfindor, K would be Ravenclaw, D would be Hufflepuff, and Z would be Slytherin. C are the all-stars, the cool dudes with a reputation for the best parties. They certainly put a lot of effort into them. K are the "good ole boys," a much more traditionally Southern group. D don't really do much. They're the newest fraternity, they're still being established. Z have a reputation for being the douchiest, most downright evil fraternity on this campus. Z defend themselves as being the only "authentic" fraternity on this campus, having not yet given-in to progressive ideas such as gender equality or drinking responsibly. All fraternities drink, but most of them will make sure people don't get hurt - or sexually assaulted. S has a bad reputation for both of those things.
The first party I went to was a toga party hosted by C. It was September, I was one month into my first semester of college. I was a Chihuahua in the Serengeti, a domesticated animal suddenly thrust into the uncivilized wild. At that point, I was still practically a senior in high school - a tight-assed, goody two shoes who'd barely even so much as snuck a drink from his father's liqour cabinet. What the hell was I doing there? I suppose it was to gain experience. Still, I had no idea what kind of Dionysian cave of madness and intoxication I was walking into. Everybody there seemed to be operating by a code I had no idea existed. The dudes I knew would say hello but quickly break contact. The girls I'd been awkwardly trying to flirt with for the past month would look at me for a brief second, confirm my presence, then get the hell away from me.
"Hey Sean!" somebody called out. Oh, thank God! It was a group of Juniors from my US History class and the Debate Team. They could enlighten me on what I did not know.
Hanging out with them made the night much better. But out of that group of juniors, one in particular would not only shape that party but the shape of my semester. Again, for the sake of avoiding a lawsuit, I'll refer to her by a letter. I'll call her S. In all my previously-sheltered years I have never encountered anyone like her before. She is a wild, rebellious, hard-charging alpha-female who launches herself at any goal with extreme vigor and determination. She is also the most unpredictable individual I've ever met. In times past, that unpredictability would have scared me. But now, I actually found it attractive.
"I'm 97 percent lesbian, 3 percent straight," she told me. I asked her numerous questions about college life and parties, which she answered in great detail.
Then she kissed me.
Yeah, quick and out of the blue.
Now, a little bit of context here. I haven't had a girlfriend since middle school. My lips haven't been touched by a girl's since I was fourteen. I can say with absolute honesty that so much time without physical contact with someone you're attracted to is not healthy. That brief, spontaneous kiss blew my goddamn mind. Like a curse had been lifted, like I might suddenly keel over with my feet in the air. It managed to make a not-so-great party somewhat worth it.
In the interlude between the first and second parties, S and I would spend a good deal of time together. She became a mentor for me, showing me how to navigate my way around hedonism and other aspects of college life. She, above all people, is the most responsible for my metamorphosis from high school senior into a college freshman. From boy to young man. S has changed my life by introducing me to a side of life that I had never been exposed to.
I also started feeling really attracted to her. Not just turned-on, I'm talking crush territory. Now, more context: throughout senior year of high school I was in love with a girl who didn't feel the same way about me. Throughout the summer, I reflected on that period with bitterness and sadness. S was the first person to pull me out of that slump. Being around her helped heal my still somewhat-broken heart.
So, what's the problem? Well, I did mention she was "97 percent lesbian." I interpreted that as "bisexual," but that was not the case.
The second party I went to was a Halloween party hosted by C. It was so crowded, so chaotic, it made the toga party look like a dinner gathering. I tried to talk some of the very-attractive Freshman girls, only to be ignored as usual. But I realized something that night. I realized that every guy they were talking to, laughing with, and grinding on were sophomores and juniors. They were only interested in older dudes, not freshman. I looked around, I saw that nearly every freshman guy was in the same situation. I was disappointed to be rejected, but it also gave me hope for the future. One day, I'll be a sophomore or junior, and there is will always be freshman girls looking for older dudes. I was about to leave the disappointing Halloween party when S texted me and said she had a surprise for me in her dorm room.
I got my hopes way higher up that I should've.
No, it was not what I expected. After a brief detour to her room, I returned to the party with S. I started flirting and dropping hints that I liked her, but she was sending clear signals that she was not interested in me. Since that night, I done a good job snuffing out what ever crush-thing I had on her. I still value her as a friend, though. At the very least, S is like a sister to me.
That brings me to party number three. This one was hosted by Z. 9 out of 10 people told me not to trust them, that nothing good would come out this. But I decided I had to do this. I'd heard enough stories about Z. I had to see for myself what it was like. What kind horrible atrocities would I witness? What kind of crazed debauchery could possibly happen?
The worst part about it was that it was boring. It felt less like a party and more like an event trying to be a party. I saw outlandish things like hedonistic messages painted on walls and black lights illuminating certain colors. There were two stripper poles set up on the dance floor. But the thing I noticed most about the party was how few people were actually there. Compared to C's two parties, this one was dead. While C's parties attracted people in the hundreds, this one only had about two dozen people. I thought about C's parties and I remembered that they never did anything outlandish like stripper poles or glow-in-the-dark paint.
That was when I realized the bare truth about Z. Their douchbaggery was not based on misogyny or hedonism. The truth about Z was that they were not really a fraternity, and in they went way too far in their attempts to be one. They claimed to be the only "true" fraternity on campus, when really they are the most pathetic.
In short, fraternity parties are all the same. You show up, you choose between the disorientating dance floor or the freezing backyard, and that's it. That's no fun. It's certainly not worth wasting hours on.