I was reading the blog of my buddy Hans Dix, a cool cat and the author of The Campus Hustler, tonight and came across his article An Open Letter to “Freshman Roamers”. This got me thinking about my own fraternity experience when I was in college and the difference between the social and non-social folks. When in college you should strive to be as social as possible (without it tanking your academic life, of course) and I remembered a particular sorority party I attended.
My comment on his article follows after the horizontal line.
Boy howdy do I have personal experience with #3. I shall now regale you with a story from my college days also known as “The Before Time”.
I rolled into a sorority party with four of my boys (this was a “no alcohol” party and I was completely sober the entire time); our entire fraternity was invited but only five of us actually showed up. Go figure. Hot sorority chicks making food for all the fraternity guys and only five of us from my group showed up? Damn near sacrilege is what it was. Anyway, we get there and all five of us are greeted warmly; I lingered to talk to and flirt with the two ladies working the door and the rest of my guys basically just went straight in without saying anything other than “hello”. This is the point where it went completely downhill for everyone except me. This is the point where I’d like to turn your #3 into both #3a (“Check your Attitude”) and #3b (“Actually Attempt to Be Social”).
True to form, unfortunately, my guys go off by themselves and huddle in the corner together (I was standing in the line for food, meeting guys from other fraternities, and making new friends). Every time I tried to include my guys and bring them over to talk with my new friends it was met with the most extreme form of shyness and stand-offish behavior I’d ever seen. It wasn’t any better when I started trying to introduce them to women (women whom I’d only met about fifteen minutes prior) but they were reticent to be included there too. At this point I just gave up since it seemed like they were happier in their clique and I went back to talking with the guys from the other fraternities and the ladies from the sorority.
Eventually my boys left without telling me (i.e. they abandoned me) and I wound up being the only person from my fraternity still at the party. “Fuck it”, I thought, “I’m having fun and meeting tons of people so I’m staying”. I stood around telling jokes and playing off what other people said; I was just having a grand ol’ time. I finally grab some food and flirt with the two ladies cooking then go off with two of my new buddies to a couple of couches so we can down the grub. We’re quickly joined by six members of the sorority.
Now, I have a VERY unique side-profession and that fact got passed around the sorority since it came up in conversation with the door gals. Apparently they referred to me as “exotic” and “you have to meet this guy”. I started getting opened left-and-right by these chicks. I began telling some of my stories from my side gig to the ladies and the crowd starting growing; when I finished my first story I looked around and an extra nine women had joined the group. The two guys with me had no idea where they came from but they weren’t going to question a good thing when they saw it. I do have my darker side and my stories exemplified it; I think I genuinely frightened at least a few of them but it worked out well.
A few more stories and I had to be on my way amidst the pleading of “Nooooo don’t goooooo!” I had class in the morning and it was one of the few I actually bothered showing-up to that year (programming class regarding something I already knew but I was tight with the instructor so he’d know if I was missing). I still talk to the friends I made that day.
That same sorority put on a party later that year and several parties after that. My fraternity was no longer invited with a single exception: I was always asked for by name.