Greek Male Pageant “Xi Man” Comes to Penn State
The “Xi Man Competition,” is a Greek male pageant conducted nationwide at numerous universities by the Alpha Xi Delta sorority. The event’s proceeds are donated to the philanthropy Autism Speaks. At the University of Delaware, the competition has developed into a huge spectacle, spanning across an entire week. Penn State’s branch of the sorority decided it was time to institute this male beauty contest of sorts here in the valley.
“We’ve never had a big philanthropy for Autism Speaks. It seemed like a good way to get the whole Greek community involved, and it was something that our sorority could do,” said Jenna Wilson, Philanthropy Co-Chair for Alpha Xi Delta.
A virgin to a gentleman’s exposition of this caliber, I was unsure of whether I would be witnessing a medley of men struggling to maneuver in heels and revealing dresses, or something straight out of Chip n’ Dale’s. To say the least, I was partially right on both accounts, minus the heels, and replace the dresses with spandex and yoga pants. I’ll get to that later.
The competition incorporated three events: a costume runway walk, a talent show, and a Q & A session; all to be judged by a panel. After MC’s Kaitlyn Csaszar and Steve Sawa introduced the contending bros, little time was wasted plunging into the first event. The men walked onto the stage one by one, strutting their stuff in a similar manner to the Tobey Maguire in Spider Man 3. And not the whiny Tobey, but cool Tobey. Some of the guys assumed the identities of pop culture icons like Charlie Sheen (Ray Sammons IV) #winning, and The Situation (Troy Coville). Others crafted their own personas, like Brian King’s State Patty’s Day Leprechaun, and Nick Bosci’s Gentleman Goo Goo. While some of the guise’s displayed careful attention, a few appeared as if they thrown together minutes before the competition.
Segueing into the talent show, the second event was disappointing to say the least. Apparently, almost every contender did not possess a single talent, and so they resulted to “dancing” to party favorites. To call it dancing would be a stretch. For the majority, it was more a series of painful stripteases accompanied by spastic movements, doing what bros do best by showing off their finely oiled 500-pack abs, or lack thereof (sorry). While it was humorous the first time, and possibly the second time, one can only handle so much dick outline being thrust into their face. However, a few acts provided redemption within the myriad of convoluted acts. Rohan Ravipati payed homage to his club Second Floor Stand-up, by performing a quick comedic routine. Taking the crowd by surprise, Pranoy Mohapatra laid down a rap, centralizing his lyrics on his day to day activities here at Penn State and getting money. Despite having to read off a paper at times, Mohapatra won some laughter with lines about his PNC card, and how he is “gettin’ an A in biology.”
In the final event, the candidates each answered a variety of questions like “If you could be any animal, what animal would you be?” and “What does brotherhood mean to you?”, always ending with, “Why should you be chosen as the first Xi Man?” To my utter disbelief, I learned that frat brothers like to party, and that they are really good at it. While some questions were intended to garner whimsical responses, many of the boys did not pick up on the serious inquisitions.
After a brief intermission, in which the panel tallied up the points while Wilson and Philanthropy Co-Chair Kristen Ericson discussed the mission of Autism Speaks, it was time to christen the Greek champion. In third place was Dave Bonney, in second place was Brooke Perry, and in first place, and the first to be proclaimed Penn State’s Xi Man, was Ryan King. Beyond the title, King received a crown, a chic sash, and, best of all, a football signed by the world’s favorite old-timer, JoePa.
“It feels great,” said King, “A lot of weight is off my shoulders now. I was worried all day, and kept practicing my routine.”
To King, this event was more than just about winning the competition. In his Q & A session, he explained the large role autism has played in his life, as a friend of his, Nicholas, suffers from the disorder.
“I did this because of the experiences in my childhood. I wanted to get the awareness out there. I was glad I could show support for Nicholas and his family,” he said.
Seeing as this was the first time that the “Xi Man Competition,” was held here at Penn State, the pageant encountered a few rough patches. Here is a brief list of improvements that I believe could help progress this annual exhibition:
- Smoother transitions– In between almost every event there was a solid few minutes of awkward silence. The MC’s seemed unsure on how the transitions were to be conducted, allowing the Alumni Hall to ebb into a snare of conversations. In order to maintain the audience’s full attention, the evolutions from event to event need to be more clearly defined. This could also be aided by the insertion of music at appropriate times, like when the panel was tallying points.
- Greater effort by the competing men– While the Greek gentlemen shined at times, there seemed to be a lack of thought placed into their performances. Be more creative with the costumes, answer the serious questions appropriately, and show some actual talent. I am sure you all are capable of more than hastily engineered dances. I am not saying that none of you gave any effort, but I’m sure you are capable of more than running around stage, and taking off your clothes. Which brings me to my final point…
- Less dick– I get it. Dicks are hilarious. But there were more mantackles flopping about than in Bruno. I am sure that you can assert how many power tools you own or that you could dick slap a shark if you really wanted to, in ways other than showcasing the silhouette of your dong sprout as if you were Vanna White. Coville defined the situation (see what I did there?) best when he stated, “I crossed a lot of lines tonight.” At the very least, a little less underwear, spandex, and yoga pants action, please.
All in all, the event was a success, and the attendants agreed. Raising over $1,500, Wilson was more than pleased, proudly stating that the competition had reached capacity, having inform student’s that there were, “no seats left.”
Looking ahead to next year’s “Xi Man,” Wilson discussed the changes necessary to push the event towards University of Delaware status.
“We are going to start earlier and advertise more. It is established now, so it will only get better. It will just take more PR,” she said.
First Annual “Xi Man Competition” Contestants:
- Ryan King- Phi Kappa Sigma, Freshman, First Place
- Brooke Perry- Zeta Psi, Freshman, Second Place
- Dave Bonney- Phi Kappa Tau, Junior, Third Place
- Nick Bosci- Phi Sigma Kappa, Senior
- Jon Bronstein- Alpha Tau Omega, Sophomore
- Troy Coville- Sigma Chi, Freshman
- Rohan Ravipati- Alpha Kappa Psi, Sophomore
- Tom Stilley- Lambda Chi Alpha, Sophomore
- Pranoy Mohapatra- Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI), Freshman
- Ray Sammons IV- Zeta Beta Tau, Junior