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Many outside of our ranks would look upon Greek life as a homogenized conglomerate of fratstars and frockets, devoid of diverse opinions and assorted attitudes. I’d like to correct that mistake. Under our lettered exterior lurks critical and divisive topics, broken down into two competing schools of thought. Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at these 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 heart of the nation. The great majority of the middle class. The beating breadbasket of the country. The Midwest. Perhaps no other region epitomizes the hard work, American grit, and unifying spirit of what made this country great quite like the interior. From the suburbs to the small towns, this part of the country full of great cities and Great Lakes is often overlooked and underrepresented in the fraternity discussion. I hope to makes its value a bit more clear.
First, the aspect of normalcy found in the Midwest is greatly under-appreciated. Wherever you go, you can bank on finding people with similar values and histories to your own. Growing up in the suburbs of Ohio turns out to be a remarkably similar experience to the suburbs of Missouri. Just like there’s a benefit to joining a fraternity full of like-minded individuals, there’s also a benefit to being in a region where you’ve all experienced the same upbringing. It means you make friends fast, and fit the mold perfectly.
Second, Midwest frats actually know to party, and party well. While they may not be as glamorous and flashy as an Arizona pool party or an all-day SEC tailgate, when you get a bunch of kids together that grew up sneaking booze in their parents’ basement and are finally out in the wild to let loose, you’re bound to see some magic happen. Not to mention many campuses are surrounded by waves of corn fields, leaving little else to do besides get hammered drunk on a Wednesday. The archetypal “college town” was born in the Midwest, and nowhere else is it better exemplified so thoroughly.
Just like the Midwest is the backbone of the country, the fraternities there represent a great untapped majority speaking volumes to their college campuses. Full of average guys doing above-average things, these Midwestern fraternities deserve some respect.
What virtues can be said about the Southern fraternity culture that haven’t been extolled already? The massive chapters, rich traditions, and extensive “good old boy” networks make this region a veritable paradise for those of us in letters. From the Gulf Coast shores to the pine-barren flats of the interior, the South stands as a beacon of fraternity culture setting the trend for the rest of the country. There’s a reason so many people try to imitate Southern style.
The urge to keep up appearances, together with the satisfyingly Southern spirit of competitive gamesmanship, has led to the creation of some of the biggest houses in the country. Walking along fraternity row, peering through Spanish moss over a perfectly landscaped lawn, one can’t help but feel this is how a group of young men were meant to live. The ease with which you can attract women from across the campus to your houses is no surprise; the walls deliver the panty-dropping message without you ever having to say a word.
And speaking of the women, Southern girls possess a charm and class all their own. Tanned from the beach, slipping into a sundress for gameday, they deliver a duality of elegance and debauchery that would get even the most respectful of gentleman going. Sure, her mother taught her how to be a lady, but behind closed doors, you can bet she knows a thing or two in the bedroom.
Finally, the Southern way of life seems almost tailor-made to fit fraternity life like a glove. Inherently, in this republic of conservative culture, brotherhood and camaraderie are instilled as early societal norms. There’s a genuinely special Southern humor that blends well with the “boys will be boys” mantra that is so common in this region and seems to have been tragically lost elsewhere. The South likes to have fun, but in a way that combines the sophisticated with the absurd. It lends itself to a unique charm that is imitated by many, but truly shown by few. Suffice it to say, the rest of us are in awe, so don’t disappoint.
No matter what college campus you call home, or which culture you choose to make your own, remember that we all share the same values uniting us in both letters and traditions. And if you really can’t handle that, maybe try moving to Texas. They seem to have their own thing going on down there. Check out last week’s breakdown of East Coast vs. West Coast..