By Grace Wagner
Dear Fraternity Gentlemen,
I’d like to begin by thanking you for inviting me into your home with open arms. I realize you have gone great lengths to achieve the perfect space for us to get to know one another ― there’s the mattress halfway down the stairs, the upside-down couch in the hallway, and of course, the many broken doors that bring it all together. If you have yet to do so, may I recommend changing your major to interior design?
When I am not trying to differentiate between reality and a Restoration Hardware magazine, I am comforted by the aroma of the perfect blend of urine, Natural Light craft beer, aging soda and the remnants of a Juul rip. Like the scent of my grandma’s perfume, this blend of fragrance is a reminder of my greatest memories. As my feet stick to the pristine hardwood flooring, I am pleased to know my shoes will allow me to savor that sweet smell the following morning, along with the various, unidentifiable scraps that have sprinkled your floor like confetti.
I can sit back and relax knowing that you gentlemen have planned the evening ― dictating not just what I drink, but also what I wear.
Finally, I feel at home. I can sit back and relax knowing that you gentlemen have planned the evening ― dictating not just what I drink, but also what I wear. The themes of such events never cease to amaze me with their ingenuity and novelty, allowing me to express my creativity in the printed tank top that I and, funnily enough, 30 other girls bought only hours prior.
The warm embrace of sweaty hands grabbing at my waist, or ― if I am only so lucky ― my ass, is a feeling I will never forget. No longer do I have to ask for someone I have never seen before to aggressively thrust toward me! And ― to clear up any confusion ― yes, when I jump away from you, that does in fact mean I want you to continue your efforts more forcefully.
Additionally, your instincts do not deceive you when you try your darndest to steal a kiss or a quick hook up, even if I reject it initially. After all, you would know what I want better than I. Nothing says romance like your breath on my neck, sweat dripping on my shoulders, and an acute sense of claustrophobia.
When the fun and wholesome evening gets to be too much, I am able to seek refuge in one of your lovely bathrooms. Though I have to navigate around the mysterious dark hairs, soggy towels and shaving cream that lathers the counter, it is worth it when I reach the few sheets of toilet paper and watery soap you left for us ― a luxury I am not used to in other gentlemen’s homes. The expected pounding on the door will surely arrive with impressive strength, and I will give my usual, “One moment, please.” The immediate jiggling of the door handle is a gentle reminder to us both that your time, even a second, is not to be wasted.
The depths of a fraternity basement is a true enigma, separate from reality entirely.
Typically, when the clock strikes 2 a.m., you gentlemen so lovingly invite me to leave along with many other women, who are trying to gain coherence before braving the poorly-lit, freezing walk home. My first steps out of the house always reminds me of how Marty felt stepping out of the DeLorean. The depths of a fraternity basement is a true enigma, separate from reality entirely. Time seems to have moved differently within the confines of your home than it has for the rest of Langdon Street.
The ringing in my ears and the speckles of Burnett’s and soda on my shirt (which one of you showered me with to remind us all of how much fun we were having) allows me to reminisce on the night throughout the following morning.
Memories like this, which you men have granted me, will define my college days. Of course, I am not always so lucky to have this experience every time I attend an event hosted by one of the many fraternities. Often, I am disappointed by a night of simply dancing with friends without being touched, and without having to deny any attempted dance floor grinding sessions.
Because, naturally, the reason I attend your many get-togethers wearing a revealing tank top is for the attention that assures me I am satisfactory to the male gaze. So of course, something about a night out unencumbered by toxic masculinity is simply not fulfilling. I dream of telling my children these stories one day, as I’m sure you do too. While, in four years, these nights will unfortunately end, I find comfort in the fact that you men will soon be someone’s coworker, partner and perhaps father, keeping such memories alive beyond our college years.
Until we meet again this weekend,
College women everywhere
Grace Wagner is a staff writer for Bell. She is a freshman at UW-Madison, and applying to be a journalism major.