Monday, May 6, 2013

Frat Star MVP 2K13

A new reader reminded me of this topic, which has been on my list since the inception of this blogpad.  This is a subject is a little tricky to write about without using identifying details, but not impossible, so I'll give it a shot.

A fraternity is a group of guys selected by a previous group of guys who have gone through a similar experience. All the other stuff is variable: how much they have in common, what type of activities they do alone and together, and how often.

At my particular frat, we raged our faces off. This is not atypical, but we of course liked to think we were the craziest. Raging is a fairly primal experience. You are with a bunch of guys, fucking poisoning your brain with alcohol to just before the point where all your systems shut down. This all to the tune of some competitive drinking game. Was I very good at every drinking game? Why are you even asking that question?  I still like raging occasionally, but not as much as back in the day.

But fraternities are not just about drinking, obviously. 

And to get to the issue I'm "supposed" to be addressing: what was it like to be a non-hetero in a fraternity?

Well for the whole pledging process I didn't really think there was anything that made it that weird. I guess it was weird that we did some stuff in our boxers--like we'd all be blindfolded and in a dark basement and have to answer questions or perform some task. When I write that it makes it sound weirder than it actually felt. The first few times it was a little weird, and I would glance at other bros bodies a little out of curiosity, but I was never near the moment of getting a boner or anything.

I get the feeling that that's what some people imagine it's like though—that you'd be really scared of getting a random boner. But honestly, as 18 year olds, I think I was no more likely than anyone else in the room. 

And maybe I'm just unusual in that I wasn't lusting after my pledge mates, but I wasn't. There were a couple older brothers in the house that I had a bit of a mancrush on, but that was not at all the reason I joined. I could have easily joined this other fraternity that was rushing me that was kind of for pretty dudes. But those kids were kind of tools, and just kind of wanted to bang them, not hang out with them. 

We never had to do anything sexual together or anything "homoerotic" really. We would walk blind folded in our underwear and hands-on-shoulders to locations sometimes? There wasn't much other physical contact while half naked like that. However, I have heard through the grape vine that some of that stuff does exist. I know for a fact that one frat had the pledges eat ice cream off of eachother's bodies while blind folded. The details aren't certain, but the story goes that this closeted NH kid had to sit there with ice cream on his stomach and watch while his pledge brothers crawled up in blindfolds and ate it off of him. They didn't know the kid was non hetero at the time, but that's pretty fucking up. It's also kind of funny, but maybe I'm twisted. 

For most of us, the fraternity was a place to go have a fucking blast getting super fucked up together. We'd also throw parties, and people would sleep with people, but that wasn't the focus. I have been back and visited a handful of times and it's less lame than I thought. Bros who are way younger know who I was because of stories and myths about me and a some other kids. I had predicted that going back would make me feel old and uncomfortable, but it didn't. Maybe I've just "matured" less than I had imagined, ha. 

Keep in mind that this is occurring at one of the top colleges in the entire world. So, while things would be pretty neanderthal at times, the bros doing this stupid shit were like valedictorians of their high schools and are largely heading towards the top of their field, whether it was medicine, law, business or whatever. 

I really enjoyed drinking and chilling and bonding with the bros. Some people I liked more than others, but that's inevitable. What I didn't like was that there was some ingrained anti-homoness in the fraternity. At one point the question was brought up "What would happen if a brother brought a dude as a date to one of our fancy, get-dressed-up parties? No one seemed to have any answer. There were many progressive and/or liberal people in the room who were very pro gay rights, but no one stood up and said the obvious answer:
It only sounded weird as a concept to them because they couldn't predict how it would play out. But realistically, there would be nothing to "play out". The two bros as dates would be assumed to not be dates. Even if they were snuggling or-some-shit, people would still assume they were hetero, because hetero guys do kind of cuddle. Yes, if dudes were obnoxiously making out in public at the party people would stare and talk, but not that much more than if it were a guy and girl being obnoxious.

For my group of friends, we didn't participate or contribute much after sophomore year. We were legal and we just had other shit we wanted to do more. So I never really hazed kids or anything. I was also never really hazed in any atrocious way. Most of the things they told us to do were mostly a matter of you against yourself. This is another thing that outsiders don't seem to realize.

When they say "do this task", it's usually something that's psychologically challenging. Like you have to eat something that's gross. After you've eaten something gross you realize that it's really not that gross. It's kind of like city people who stay in a cabin with electricity and plumbing and feel like they are really roughing it. But after you've slept in a sleeping bag in a tent out in the middle of no where a few times, you develop a different understanding of what is necessary.

So when I read about how traumatizing and horrible pledging, I can't really agree. I can agree that it's dumb and strange, but it's not particularly "scarring". It changes your outlook on what you can take mentally and physically, but I think largely in a good way; it gives you perspective to how difficult or bad a situation is.

And I don't think that everyone in the frat was automatically my brother for life and trustable with anything, but there is something potent about going through a set of experiences, both positive and negative, with a group of people. We suffered together and we did really fun shit together. Honestly, I think we bonded most from just being put into a small space together for hours on end. You're uncomfortable, but so is everyone else, so you drink and smoke and talk and argue and laugh.

When I'm out, I should really go back and hang out at least once and exercise my pseudo-authority status to nudge a few minds. For the most part, these are good guys that recognize good guys, and as long as that's true, I really believe that won't give a shit about orientation.

Much more to say on this topic for later post(s). 


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  2. is there an uncensored version of the third pic??? haha

    i didn't rush at all, because i entered college when i was 20, and by soph fall term i was already legal to get my own booze and shit.

    i think it definitely varies across universities. as sweeping a statement as i'm going to be making, i'm pretty sure state school frats are a lot wilder than private school frats.

    the hazing that some frats in my school entailed watching pterodactyl porn together, finishing a gallon of milk, or just basically running errands for the seniors.

    also i completely agree with the whole camaraderie thing. i was in the army for two years, and till this day i'm still super tight with my army buds. i'm totally out to them and they've come with me to gay bars, such fucking bros seriously

  3. This reminds me a lot of what it's like for me being a member of a varsity sport at my school. I'm out to them, and as of now, I'm the only guy who is "out" on the team. We get changed in front of each other, we shower with each other. I've seen them naked before, but I don't really think much of it.

    It always surprises me when other gay guys ask what it's like showering with these guys and seeing them naked. I always get asked if I get a boner, or how I avoid getting one being around a bunch of naked guys. Like you said in your post, I'm not lusting after these guys. Sure, some of them are really attractive, but I'm not trying to seduce them or flirt with them. They're my friends and brothers, and I like running and drinking with them more than I'd like to have sex with them.