Sororities Buy Friends! Fraternity Party Gone Wrong! Greek Life Is Bad! Hazing! Hazing! Hazing!
It’s plastered across your local news channel and your heart sinks again. Yet another day of Greek life being smeared in the media. The phone rings, and you don’t even have to look at it to know who’s calling. It’s your parents, of course, and you once again have to explain that this is not what being in a sorority is about. Your mom sounds worried and your dad sounds angry. They shouldn’t have let you rush. They shouldn’t have let you stay. But you talk them down, convincing them that it’s okay, that it will all be okay. And after a week or so, you start to believe it. The news channels stop blasting the videos and saying things like “Greeks Go Bad,” and they switch over to real news. You stop feeling so attacked and go back to obsessing over your big and being excited about formal. I have seen statements like these countless times, claiming that Greeks are bad and sororities are wrong, but until recently one had never stuck with me.
It happened. He happened.
I had been talking to the perfect guy. Or at least I thought he was the perfect guy. You know the type — tall, handsome, charming. He would send clever texts, and call me “beautiful” instead of “hot.” When I found out that he was an engineer, I thought that maybe he was my soulmate. And then he complimented my Christian Louboutins, and I knew that I had to give him a chance. So we flirt, text, and agree to meet up and go out that upcoming weekend.
Saturday night rolls around, and we decide to go to some of the classier bars downtown and away from our school. He said he would bring his friends, and I invited some of my Panhellenic friends (yeah, I’m one of those girls who actually has Pan Love). We all chattered excitedly as we waited for the boys to arrive. Would he have cute friends? Were we going to start dating? Did he love me? He totally loved me, right? As I was sitting at a bar stool, sipping a vodka soda and planning our wedding, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see him standing right next to me. He was wearing dark jeans, was sporting some sexy stubble, and looked even better than I remembered. He gave me a hug and I got up to introduce him to all my friends. I felt the butterflies in my stomach as he smiled at me like he thought I was perfect. At first, things were going great. We talked about what we did in between chugging drinks and ordering Fireball. Some laughs, flirting, and shots later, however, things started to go bad.
He started to go bad.
I first realized it when he tried to put his hand down my pants. Forward, and totally not wanted, I playfully told him to stop. But instead of acting embarrassed, he moved on to my friend. He began to try to grab onto all the women I had invited to the bar with me. He would cup an ass here, graze a tit there, and continue to not take “no” for answer. After I realized that he didn’t understand what “stop touching me and my friends” meant, I started getting frustrated. How dare this great-seeming guy treat us like pieces of slutty meat? I grabbed by drink and walked away, wanting nothing to do with the situation anymore.
My Greek sisters caught on quickly as I sat in the corner, trying to hide the tears in my eyes. These friends, some who “I pay for” and some I’m “supposed to hate” because they sport different letters, proceeded to tell him off. They explained how much I had looked forward to going out with him. They praised what type of person I was. And they scolded him for forcing himself on not only me, but my friends, when I had told him to stop. He was then informed to “stay the fuck away” from everyone I was with and me. I stared at the floor as he pushed himself up off of his stool and started walking out of the bar. I thought it was over. Just as I was about to breath a sigh of relief, he hesitated and walked over to me. I could feel his breath, hot, drunk, and angry as he leaned in to whisper in my ear.
“You and your friends are total bitches.”
I felt my heart hitch in my throat as he left. At first I was mad. All we had wanted was to hang out with some nice, smart, guys and maybe get married and have some children and get a yacht or something. My sisters and I immediately started chattering, feeling the adrenaline of the situation and giggling nervously about how weird things got. It made us laugh a bit that he thought we were the problem. “What a loser,” we muttered to ourselves as we ordered more drinks and let the tension float away. But then, just as I was feeling somewhat normal again, my phone vibrated. I glanced down, thinking it would be a late friend or my mom checking in. I felt my stomach turn as I noticed his name light up against my Lilly background. I hesitantly unlocked my phone, not quite ready for what I was about to see.
“You and your friends are fucking sorority cunts. You’re nothing but basic white bitches that need a lesson in humility. I can’t believe I wasted a second on a typical sorority bitch like you. Go to hell, you slut.”
My jaw dropped, my blood boiled, and I felt bile (and Fireball) rise up my throat. How dare he judge me and my sisters? How dare he treat us with such disrespect when we stood up for ourselves? And how dare he try to make me feel cheap, when all I did was understand my own worth? He, and his texts did not sit well with me. Up until that moment, I had never felt like being Greek made people look at me differently. But for the first time in my college career, I understood how important it is that society understands who we are. And more importantly, who we aren’t. I immediately deleted his texts and his number, feeling disgusted that I had ever given him the chance to hurt me. But as I was sitting at the bar, feeling my happiness and self-worth crumble around me, I had people there to pick me up. To hold me together. To make sure I was going to be okay. He might not have wanted to be with me because I was in a sorority, but I know that my sisters are the reason that I’ll always be safe. Always be proud. And always expect the best, because I deserve it. And so do you.
I do not think that my letters have made me better than anyone else. I still mess up. I still make mistakes. I still go plenty of days without wearing makeup or getting a million likes on social media. But I do think that anyone with letters is working to become the best version of themselves. Greek life gives us that sense of community. It holds us accountable and pushes us to always work for something better. So, no matter what the media or ignorant outsiders say, sisterhood is real. I learned that the night a boy I thought I thought I could love broke my heart and broke my respect, all because I valued my letters. So call me a “sorority bitch.” Call me picky, because I had high standards. And call me judgemental, because I wasn’t going to take his disrespect. It doesn’t matter what you call me. Because I can proudly say the Panhellenic community members have much better character than that boy will ever have. So while he goes to sleep alone, I can go to sleep knowing that a hundred plus women have my back. That’s what’s important. And that’s what makes Greek life so important. .
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