That time I was in a sorority, Part 4

24 Jun

So! (*claps hands*) moving right along! I’m going to try really hard not to depress you guys today. Yay!

Sorry it took me so long to get Part 4 out. I started writing it and realized my tone was really snarky and snotty and I don’t want to pigeonhole here. Not every sorority is bad and not even all the girls in the sorority I joined were bad. I didn’t want to be totally bitchy so I needed to give myself some distance. Here we go!

You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here.

I realize now that I’m probably not going to be able to tell you about the time I spent in the sorority in a linear fashion. So I present to you: bullets! Consider them mini-stories, if you will.

* My freshman year continued. I attended chapter meetings (EVERY Sunday), where we discussed very important sorority business such as themes for formals, philanthropic work, t-shirts (oh there was SO much talk about t-shirts) and a sundry list of other random items. This is where we did the secret handshake, had to say the secret words to get into the room and sang the secret songs.

* I also attended various events throughout the week and on weekends and did my best to have fun.  However, I was going home a lot. My boyfriend was home and I missed my parents and I just wanted to be there. So, I’ll admit, I typically did the bare minimum of what was expected of me (and HOO-BOY were there expectations. Attendance was counted at everything and you could expect to be scolded if your attendance was lacking).

*I was assigned a sorority “mom”, made her a paddle (What’s a paddle, you ask? Oh, it’s a piece of wood, in the shape of a paddle, which you decorate with paint and sparkles and LOVE and present to your sorority mom. Geez, I can’t believe you didn’t know that.) (Although now I’m wondering what the history of the paddle is. Did it originate with hazing? Were rushes actually beat with a paddle? I’m too lazy to look this up, but it seems a rather violent tradition.) I also met the other members of my “family”. Let me make a little comment about this. Some of these girls took this family shit seriously. I mean, they knew who their “grandmothers” were, who their “great-grandmothers” were, had pretend “cousins” and there was lots of “Mommy” this and “My baby!” that. Totally, totally weird.

* I was encouraged to participate in intramural sports. I did not participate in intramural sports. I am not good at sports and didn’t want to commit myself to spending weekends with these people who I already wasn’t sure about, while making a fool of myself trying to hit a softball or spike a volleyball. No thank you.

* I began to consider ways that I could contribute, since I was still trying desperately to make the most of it. I decided I would run for my chapter’s representative of the Panhellenic Council (the governing body of fraternities and sororities on campus), which would also make me part of the executive board of my sorority chapter. So toward the end of my freshman year (I think. My timelines are fuzzy here, it may not have been until the beginning of my sophomore year) I ran, and I won. By a hair. The support was not….overwhelming. Again-quiet girl, never there, yada yada. But no one else seemed to want it. So I got it. I would now be part of the decision-making process in regard to what girls would get the “lesser” positions within the chapter, along with taking care of any disciplinary action.

*Speaking of disciplinary action. This is interesting. We had a code word that we were to use when girls were out partying and someone thought they were getting out of control. We were told to go up to the girl (who was making out with a guy, dancing on a table, puking, whatever) and whisper this word in her ear. She was to go home immediately. See, part of being in a sorority is representing the chapter in a respectable, womanly manner. Getting drunk and acting a fool was not acceptable. So the exec board would handle these instances and the drunk girl would be called in front of the board and reprimanded for simply being a girl in college acting like a slut or a drunk or whatever and making the rest of us look bad.

 *At the end of my freshman year, I agreed to live in the sorority house my sophomore year. The sorority house was really just a dorm, and wasn’t anything at all like some of the houses you might see at larger universities or in the movies. No gorgeous old house with a large porch and sweeping staircases. No cooking and cleaning staff here, kids. I was going to room with Lori and was really happy about that. And truth be told, I was kind of excited to live in the house. I was hoping that and being on the exec board might make me finally enjoy this sorority crap.

* I went home for the summer, drank too much, had a lot of fun, and didn’t speak to any of my sorority sisters (I don’t think) except for Lori.

* I returned to school in the fall, right after the deaths of two of  my oldest friends and the death of my grandfather. I was not in a good place. But I was busy right away, planning rush for that year. Oh, rush. How can I explain this to you all adequately? If I thought it was weird to watch a bunch of young girls sing to me as I walked into a room, it was even more weird to be the one singing and yelling and clapping into these poor freshman girls’ faces. And the planning! SO much thought went into these songs and the skits and what we would wear. WHAT WE WOULD WEAR OMG FTLOG. I wish this next sentence wasn’t true, but it is. During one chapter meeting leading up to rush, we spent over an hour (OVER AN HOUR) arguing about what color flip-flops we would all be wearing during rush one night. Seriously. There was yelling! BUT THE PERIWINKLE GOES BETTER WITH THE YELLOW SHIRT. NO! WE SHOULD WEAR YELLOW TO MATCH OUR SHIRTS. That’s an hour (over an hour!!) of my life I’ll never get back.

* I was also educated about what it meant to be a legacy. A legacy is someone whose sister, mom, aunt, grandma, or cousin was a member of the sorority. Sororities want legacies. They hunt them down during rush and shower them with attention and try desperately to convince them to join. We were encouraged, nay, instructed, to single these girls out and talk to them. Completely ignoring the fact that maybe their sister, mom, aunt, grandma, or cousin was in a chapter across the country and they may not feel as though they fit in here. Doesn’t matter. WE WANT LEGACIES!!!

*So after rush each night, we would go and talk about all the girls we met. There’s just no nice way to phrase that. We talked about them. We were told to take notes as we talked to each girl so that we could rank them later. We talked about what they looked like, what they wore, whether or not we thought they would fit in, if we thought they were weird, if we thought they were dumb, EVERYTHING. I felt dirty. And I’ll be honest with you all- I like to gossip as much as the next person, but I did not like this part at all. Partly because I knew at one point they had discussed me in much the same way, but mostly because I felt like we were farmers discussing that year’s crop. So we ranked them each night and that, combined with the way they ranked us, would determine who we would see the next night.

*The worst was probably the final night of rush. That was when things got serious. That was when we would decide who we were going to invite. There was yelling. And tears. And more discussion of these poor girls and the whole time I just felt yucky. But there I was there on bid day, trying to jump up and down and be excited like everyone else, shoving t-shirts in the faces of my new “sisters”, welcoming them to our house.

AND here I am AGAIN at over 1,400 words. I’m going to stop pretending I know how long this is going to go on before I’m finished.

AND I just re-read it and I still sound bitchy and snarky. Oh well. I suppose it’s simply reflective of my experience.


4 Responses to “That time I was in a sorority, Part 4”

  1. Triplezmom June 24, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    I can’t imagine. But I remember toying with the idea, at least until I went to my first frat party.

  2. Life of a Doctor's Wife June 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    Oh my. This sounds like such an alternate universe! Especially the part about grown women calling each other mommy and baby. I mean, I get that things seem normal when you’re in the midst of it and it can be fun, but as a person who has no experience with this world, it is odd!

    Also, you could write 10,000 posts about this. I am fascinated.

  3. Maggie June 27, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    GAAAAHHHH! I am fascinated as well, but convinced my exposure to sororities is best left to blogs and television shows. The whole “who should we pick” discussion gives me hives.

  4. romcomreviews June 28, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    All I have to say is “Amen, sister!” I still don’t know how I lasted through 7 semesters of sorority life. SEVEN! And I, too, was on the super secret “Standards” board or thh executive team as you referenced it. Insanity. If you ever want a a guest post … let me know.


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