Here’s a shocker for you: I was in a sorority.
I know, for many of you, I don’t seem the “type” to either want to be in sorority or, let’s be honest here, “sorority material.” But, call Ripley’s because I even got into a sorority wearing knee socks. Yes — knee socks with a skirt to the “casual round” of parties. For sure, some people might still be talking about it to this day, but I stand by my decision to rock navy blue argyles.
That said, I know the whole collegiate Greek system has been making headlines recently and not in a good way. I mean really, what were those Alabama Alpha Phi sorority girls thinking when they did that ridiculous recruitment video?
If you haven’t done the lookie loo on YouTube, at first glance the video appears to be a Saturday Night Live parody of sorority girls on mushrooms or something because I don’t know of any sorority that has women frolicking on a grassy knoll (with a level of enthusiasm I would save for seeing a unicorn), in white dresses with their obviously over-processed hair flowing like a snowy froth off the world’s foamiest craft beer.
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Yes, the hair was my biggest concern. One might logically assume that all the shots of the barely clothed young women, which made the “recruitment” video look more like it was a Maxim magazine ad for some sort of men’s “Low T” performance enhancing drug, would be the thing that would concern me, but no it’s the hair.
You see, I think all the hair bleaching — that delicate chemical dance between hydrogen peroxide and your follicle melanin — did some sort of damage en masse to all of the sorority sisters’ frontal lobes, thus impairing their ability to distinguish between good and bad ideas because the “recruitment” video was most definitely a bad idea.
In fact, I’m pondering if these young ladies were perhaps confused about the definition of the word recruitment (although I’m sure it had to be on the SATs) because I don’t think the video was trying to reach their target market of 18-year-old girls. Instead, it seems as if they were aiming to recruit an elite squad of stalkers. Well, mission accomplished on that goal.
Now, I know it’s easy (and somewhat fun) to bash sororities, but seeing that Alpha Phi hot mess has prompted me to defend the sorority experience. My Greek sojourn was not up there with a unicorn sighting, but I want to stress that it was very positive and recruitment video free.
I loved being in a sorority and I believe they still fill some basic and beneficial needs for young women. In fact, if there weren’t sororities someone would create an app that would attempt to replicate the experience.
At their core, sororities provide a safe harbor for very young women. I remember being flummoxed my first semester by all the free time I had and feeling not lonely, but alone. Being in a sorority gave me a place “to be.”
Having that place is very important when you’re 18 and away from home for the first time. You need somewhere to be that’s not the dorm. You need somewhere where people are taking an active interest in you.
And yes, like any group there are people who are über annoying, but that just makes it more interesting. We had our collection of whiners, wild childs and 19-year-olds that were already planning their reign as Dallas Junior League president.
The girls that made me laugh the most were the “bridal bunch.” Every Monday evening was my sorority’s weekly meeting, and there was a small group of girls that would bring stacks of bridal magazines and meticulously go through them for the whole hour, barely able to put them down even during the prayer. One time a few of us hid their magazines and you would thought they were being robbed of oxygen.
Now, a couple of decades, later each of these women are on husband No. 3 or 4. I lost count on one of them.
(Not that I don’t get the love affair with having a wedding. Have you seen how amazing wedding gowns are these days? I don’t blame anyone who got married in the 1980s for wanting a redo. God, the dresses were the worst. Loads of lace, full skirts and puffy sleeves so immense you hide the ring bearer. We all looked like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from “Ghostbusters” was the fit model for our gowns.)
It’s these shared experiences (I’m talking sororities now, not multiple trips down the altar) that can turn any group into a family of sorts and it’s almost never a bad thing to have more “sisters” in your life.