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There are many outside of our ranks who would look upon Greek life as a homogenized conglomerate of frat stars and frockets, devoid of diverse opinions and assorted attitudes. I’d like to correct that mistake. Under our lettered exterior lurk critical and divisive topics, broken down into two competing schools of thought. Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at those two types of people.
There is no denying that certain regions of our great nation foster different Greek environments. Although we all shelter under the same letters, the differences in regional fraternity culture become immediately apparent when compared in the same light.
The East Coast, home of the original thirteen colonies, also plays host to many of the founding chapters of Greek letter organizations. Clad in ivy and yacht clubs, these WASP-riddled bastions of the American dream seem to fit the fraternity mold perfectly. Take a stroll along the arbor-lined sidewalks of any eastern seaboard campus and you’re bound to see more quarter-zips, mid-thigh pastels, and untucked button-downs than a New Jersey horse race. Between the sheer volume of undercuts and layered vests, a sailing culture that actually exists, and very, very old money, the East Coast is a dream for anyone truly looking to live life to the whitest.
The benefits cannot be understated. It’s something you know when you see. It’s an upper-middle class utopia, where Nantucket gets its own shade of red and drinking a Dark and Stormy feels like coming home. It’s watching Tom Brady trip his way into another Super Bowl. A place where classy women in cropped riding boots love horses almost as much as they love disobeying their fathers. Along the salt marshes and bays run currents of patriotic pride that filter into your bones like a Revolutionary warrior. Ever been in Boston for the Fourth of July? It’s magical. Although blatantly blue in the elections, the East Coast is still the birthplace of our nation, and that is something to be truly grateful for.
Along with the prestige and esteem so characteristic of the Atlantic side of the country, the not-so-hidden negatives can be a profound sense of arrogance and entitlement. Full of legacies and lacrosse lackeys, some may say that it’s a culture you have to be born into to become. That may be true, but since when did tradition become the enemy? I would rather see it embraced. There’s also a reputation for being a bit vanilla, but then again there must be a reason that flavor is so damn popular. Because it’s awesome.
Welcome to the West Coast. A place where Pike can actually be described as a top house. A place where cargo shorts are still worn to social events. A place where you’re just as likely to puke on a palm tree as in a public restroom.
As in practically everything else, the West Coast likes to forge its own culture and diverge from the established norm. By and large, Greeks sheltered under Pacific prejudices have a distinct flavor of their own. Much like the diversity of their student bodies, it can seem like the Golden Coast shelters as many kinds of ‘frat’ as there are chapters. There are Cali-prep fraternities, gym-rat fraternities, and even wannabe thug fraternities. Whatever you want out of your brotherhood, there’s a chapter that supports it.
Of course, not all chapters seem so unrecognizable. And in the paraphrased words of the late, great Tupac Shakur, the West Coast does indeed know how to party. Probably because their campuses are surrounded by desert wastelands. Any place with a water feature becomes an instant attraction. Ever ridden a wakeboard through a canyon-cradled reservoir? Or hit a pool party with a hundred of your best friends? Even played a round of golf in the wintry depths of December? Blissful. And with their year-round perfect weather and bikini-clad babes, who could blame them?
As such, the women of the west are practically a topic all their own. It seems as though for any given IGBOTD, the odds of her not being from a sunshine-bathed state school out on the West Coast are as low as my writing skills. From the inter-Arizona accolades to the California coastal cuties, it can seem like the Pacific is a wonderland of tanned cheeks and flawless faces. Whether blonde or brunette, it’s fair to say some of the hottest women in the college game today reside on the West Coast. Shame on you if you’re going to stand there and sully the good name of the Beach Boys, because I’m certainly not.
In parting, whether you wake up with the sun over the Atlantic or set it to rest in the West, in the end we all share the same letters and values. No need to get all Bloods/Crips on everyone. Tune in next week for a breakdown of the Midwest versus the South..