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Every Hour Of Your Night In Frat Land

A Girl’s Perspective

As a fifth year senior (I like to call it redshirting even though I definitely do not play a sport), seeing freshmen stumble through campus like lost puppies is the textbook definition of bittersweet.

On one hand, the world was your oyster, every night was an unpredictable adventure, and life was like a box of chocolates: you never knew what you were going to get. All that has its downside, though. Sure the world was my oyster, but that doesn’t mean there was always a pearl. The unpredictable and unfamiliar “adventures” were often more dangerous than I thought at the time. I mean, Uber didn’t even exist when I was a freshman. The dorito church and Google maps on a phone with less than 10 percent battery were usually my only hope of getting back home in one piece. I even convinced a Canyon driver to take me back to East once. (Mike, if you’re reading this, I still remember you and I still consider you my fairy Godmother.)

I live very close to Frat Land this year, and last weekend had the privilege of watching the new freshmen on all levels of intoxication navigate through their new stomping ground. It reminded me of how those nights always seemed to go from 0 to 100 and then all the way back to what seemed like a negative 10 in a matter of hours.

Now, before you come at me saying “this isn’t how frats are” or “#notallfrats” or whatever you think will invalidate my experience, I will say #notallfrats before you. There are some frats on campus that are completely dry, and some filled with more heathens than hell itself. I’ve enjoyed myself at frats, and I’ve had some of the worst nights of my entire life at frats. Your results may vary, and I’m probably remembering this through rose colored glasses, but here is an hour-by-hour recap of my undergrad nights at Penn State frats:

9 p.m. – 9:05 p.m. – I try to take a nap to distract myself from the fact that these parties start at midnight.

9:05 p.m. – 10 p.m. – I stare at the ceiling, wondering if these parties start way too late or I’m just lame, and also wondering why I can’t ever take naps.

10 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. – I try to find an outfit. I hate them all. I have an existential crisis. I borrow my friend’s dress for the fifteenth time this semester. We straighten our hair in the same room and talk about how much fun we’ll have and, honestly, this might be one of the best parts of the night. These are the moments to cherish, people. Everything in my life since then has changed except I’m still best friends with this girl. Hang on to the people you can have a blast with sober and alone.

10:30 p.m.- 11 p.m. – I’m taking shots of alcohol worth roughly 99 cents in a small dorm with 15 people I don’t even like that much and don’t respect at all. Ten white boys all wearing the same polo will not stop talking about “ratio.” Maybe you should’ve just joined the frat yourself if you were going to constantly worry about this. I definitely need another drink.

11 p.m.- 11:45 p.m. – I start to get excited. I’m thinking about elevated surfaces and the songs I can sing while dancing on top of them. I keep looking in the mirror to see if I look “okay,” but I didn’t bring any makeup so it’s not like I can “fix” anything. I reluctantly accept my “okayness.” The boys claim “white girl wasted” is a thing, but they’re already drunker than us and they all have that drunk facial expression. You know the one.

11:45 p.m.-11:55 p.m. – It’s finally time to board the White Loop. I don’t know where we’re going, but it’s supposed to be the best party ever and I buy into that every time. I need to learn to lower my expectations. There are “tits out for the boys” chants, but I never see anyone deliver.

11:55 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. – “Who do you know here?”

12:00 a.m. – 12:30 a.m. – Jesus Christ, it’s midnight. Everyone here is so beautiful, Penn State has to be the most attractive campus in the world. I feel nervous even looking at these people. I need a shot.

12:30 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. – I’m pretty sure I just waited a half hour for a shot. I get to the table and this guy says I have to either make out with him or flash him for a shot. This really happened. I make the executive decision that I can live without a shot. His brother tells me he’s “not always like that,” so apparently it’s okay to sometimes be like that.

1:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m. – Here’s the turning point of the night. It’s when everything starts being really fun or the literal worst night of your life. It’s usually dependent on how douchey or refreshingly awesome the boys are. [I don’t mean that like your night revolves around these boys, but it is their house, and the awesome boys will play good music, always be down for a fun conversation, and might even have food there. It took me until the end of sophomore year to realize if the boys are douchey no one is forcing me to stay. What a liberating experience.] No matter what, three things are certain: sweat, hands on or around various parts of your body, and Stacy’s Mom. I’m going to get motherly for one second and tell every boy to get your hands the hell AWAY from a girl who very clearly wants nothing to do with you. If a girl says no to you, get away. There are thousands of girls at this school and probably hundreds at this party, you’re bound to find one who is actually into you. And if you don’t, take a look in the mirror. Girls should be able to have the time of their lives, wear whatever clothing they want, and drink alcohol without getting assaulted. I’m not saying every frat or even many fraternity men are like this, but there are enough out there that this reminder is valid.

2:00 a.m.- 2:03 a.m. – Zombie Nation.

2:03 a.m. – 2:30 a.m. – Choose your own adventure… “late night,” drunk food, or sleeping on your best friend’s floor because your roommate locked you out and you lost your key.

A Guy’s Perspective

On the other end of the spectrum, being a guy at Penn State (who’s not in a frat) makes the world of Frat Land that much different (but similarly frustrating).

Sure, there have been some awesome nights at frat houses that resulted in great stories. There have also been absolutely horrible nights in the same houses — each adventure is different.

I don’t have the experience of the super-senior above, but I’ve visited these houses frequently enough during my time here. That being said, here’s my hour-by-hour recap of a night at a Penn State frat:

10 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. – For any guy, the pregame is the most important part of going to Frat Land. Shots? Check. Ratio? Check. Do we know someone who could get us in? Maybe this dude, but probably not.  Ask around for apartment parties one last time? Nope. Let’s start walking.

10:30 p.m. – 10:50 p.m. – Finally arriving on frat row. Chills run down my spine. I’m having war flashbacks from the sight of each house. There’s just things that happen in these houses that can never be unseen. So why am I even here? Oh yeah, I can’t get into bars yet. “Where are we going?” Listen for the house with blaring music. Basically all of them? Exactly.

10:50 p.m. – 10:55 p.m. – “Wait do we have the ratio for this?” I swear the word “ratio” triggers the gag reflex more than my taste aversion to honey rum. We go through it again. Eight girls, three guys. Someone has to hide in the back.

10:55 p.m. – 11 p.m. – We get up to the door and to get to some guy, apparently a brother, standing behind a folding table. “Who do you know here?” No one. We never know anyone. Let us in the damn house. We shrug, he looks at this pack of people. Counts the number of girls once, twice, and finally a third time. “Yeah, go in.” But that’s not the end of the struggle. It’s never the end of the struggle. As I start to walk in, another brother throws his arm across door. “Yo, who are you?” One of the girls grabs my arm. “He’s with us,” as she pulls me over the threshold.

11 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. – I’ve been here way too many times. I can point you toward the bar, the bathroom, or even the one spot in the house that isn’t steaming with body heat. For a guy, getting a drink at the bar is almost as difficult as getting into the house. The usual routine ensues. First, try to get a drink yourself. I̶f̶  When that doesn’t work, have one of the girls get you a drink. A dude’s walking around with a handle of Montezuma, but I can’t do tequila. He looks at me, gives me a head nod, and extends the bottle. Before he starts to speak, I’ve chugged what I could. I’m a random guy in a frat house — can’t be picky.

11:30 p.m. – 12 a.m. -This is good. This is good. Sure, I see people I’d rather not see. Yeah. War flashbacks, been here too many times. Been through it already. It’s cool. Keep drinking. Head back to the bar. Grab the handle. Act confident. Fill up your cup. It’s simple; the brothers won’t notice. I’ve got my drink, and life is good. Now they’ve got the bag out. You know what, it’s cool. Slap the bag. I love this place. This is why I come here.

12 a.m.- 12:30 a.m. – Where’s the trash can?

12:30 a.m.- 1 a.m. This place sucks. The room is boiling hot like the hell hole it truly is and people continue to stream inside. I’m crushed into a corner trying to pry open the windows that are sealed shut. This is the end. This is where I am going to die.

1 a.m. – 1:30 a.m. There’s light at the end of the tunnel…well, the stairs. There’s a mad rush to get down the stairs and the hell out of this house. Finally out the back door and free. Dripping sweat, shirt unbuttoned, and speaking incoherently, I’ve survived yet another night at one of our school’s finest “philanthropic and community service brotherhood” houses. So, Sheetz or Canyon?

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