Despite the elevated status some of you hold me to for my ability to pen moderately entertaining quips while drinking a case of Keystone light, I have not always been the fraternity man who writes before you today. There was once a time in my adolescent life when I went to high school every morning donning white Converse, a time when I viewed uncomfortably short pastel shorts as nothing more than a product of a bygone era. Needless to say, I was a loser, but that all changed the day I first came in contact with Greek life.
Early in my junior year of high school I began looking at colleges. And, since I had little to no idea of what college actually entailed (besides what Animal House and the straight-to-DVD American Pie franchise had taught me), I formed my initial impression of my potential future schools based on the notoriety and tradition of their sports. This train of thought lead me to a mid-November tour of one those Big Ten universities at which the girls think it’s sexy to wear striped overalls (and honestly aren’t entirely wrong). Luckily, one of my buddies I played basketball with in high school was a freshman there at the time and was more than willing to give me the honest tour that the hacky sack enthusiasts who ran the student tours were either unable or unwilling to provide.
My buddy, let’s call him Jackson, invited me to a tailgate on Saturday morning. Not knowing what to expect, I arrived at a house that reeked of cheap beer and shame and was greeted by a jittery and clearly sleep-deprived pledge who immediately asked “who do you know here?” I hesitantly gave Jackson’s name and uncomfortably stood outside while multiple GDIs were turned away yelling random poorly construed insults, my favorite of which was “I’m actually Greek I don’t have to stand for this bullshit.” After a short while, Jackson came outside and gave me a hug, assuring his pledge brothers that letting me into their private tailgate wouldn’t result in them having to endure another sleepless night of standing in a moldy basement listening to Miley Cyrus’s greatest hits.
I went into the backyard to find it full of hay, a project the pledges had been working on since dawn, and was taken into the house where the kegs were stored. Jackson immediately handed me a beer and a shot of bottom shelf vodka. Besides the occasional beer with my dad at a baseball game, I had never drank before. But, determined not to be a complete and utter loser, I gladly accepted what was offered. After about an hour of drinking whatever was put in front of my face and shooting the shit with Jackson and his brothers about college advice and the crazy situations they’d gotten themselves into, I noticed that a relatively attractive Asian girl was looking my way and giving me a smile that could only mean one thing. With the confidence of Danny Glover and the standards of Danny DeVito, I walked over to my new friend, introduced myself, and before I knew it she was offering to give me a tour, under the impression that I was an 18-year-old senior who had just been accepted to this school. The “tour” consisted of naming about half of the buildings between the house and her dorm room, and concluded with 16-year-old me giving her the best 90 seconds of her life, losing my virginity in the process. Afterwards, I stumbled back to the house, found Jackson, and got some drunk food before heading to the stadium and meeting my parents for the second half of the game.
Drinking shitty alcohol, meeting great people, and disappointing average-looking women in bed — in many ways, this weekend foreshadowed my college career. And, quite frankly, I wouldn’t have had it any other way..