When you live in a sorority house, certain realities are unavoidable. Thirty or more girls living under the same roof, and regularly sharing each other’s extensive closets, are going to cause moments of partial hallway nudity and braless scampering. Unfortunately, sometimes this creates the phenomenon of “The Peeping Tom.”
When “Sorority Girl A” finishes her forty-minute long, very steamy shower, she nakedly scurries to her room to find the perfect neon-colored frock for the evening’s 80s-themed social. After fifteen minutes of throwing clothing from her multi-colored velvet hangers into a heap on the floor, she determines that she is unhappy with her wardrobe selection. Ahhh, but she instantly remembers a metallic purple skirt belonging to “Sorority Girl B” who lives on the other end of the house. Sorority Girl A parades down a long hallway, minimally covering her bodily assets, in such a focused pursuit that she takes no notice of the seven uncovered windows she passes on her way to Sorority Girl B’s closet. It is during this twenty-second walk that the Peeping Tom outside thanks his lucky stars for the sorority girl tradition of borrowing each other’s clothing.
In my sorority house we’ve had more than one Peeping Tom scare. In fact, I was recently involved in one such instance. I was studying in “The Beauty Queen” and “Z-List Model’s” room. As The Beauty Queen and I studied, Z-List was practicing yoga on her bed (a setting which may or may not have been effective) in a matching leopard print bra and panty set. While balancing in “downward dog,” Z-List was discussing her glory days of modeling for K-Mart circulars, as per usual. It was during this particular period of time when “Doughnuts” knocked on The Beauty Queen and Z-List’s door. Doughnuts is our house security guard, nicknamed after his late-night snacking habits. Upon answering the door, it was obvious Doughnuts was flustered.
“Is there, uh,” he began. “A girl in here wearing…” he hesitated, turning a deep shade of red. “…animal-print undies?”
Behind me in the room I heard Z-List fumbling for a robe – plush, and also animal-print.
“Is there a problem here?” she asked Donuts after properly covering up.
Looking him up and down haughtily, she continued, “Were you spying on me in my underwear?”
“N-n-no!” Doughnuts stuttered. “I saw you sittin’ on the bed in your undies through your window (Z-List began to shriek) but only because…” he was having to yell over the screaming to bear heard, “…lookin’ in your window, there was…THERE WAS…A PEEPING TOM.”
Z-List continued shrieking, dramatically.
“A Peeping Tom!?” she asked disgusted. “I’m trying to innocently practice my yoga, and I’m victimized by a Peeping Tom?”
In my opinion, if she was “innocently” practicing anything she wouldn’t have been wearing skimpy underwear in front of an open window.
“‘Victimized is the right word, ma’am,” Doughnuts said. “I saw him trying to catch a glimpse of you through your window a few nights ago. I always tell him to skedaddle, but I guess tonight I was a little behind on things.”
He stared down at his black Velcro shoes with obvious guilt.
“No, Doughnuts!” I interjected optimistically before Z-List had a chance to retort.
“You do a great job of keeping us safe. Don’t let this one little instance worry you.”
His face lit up.
“Thanks a lot,” he beamed. “I’m not gonna let nothin’ happen to you girls on my watch. I promise.”
“Well you better not,” Z-List answered arrogantly. “Because the next time something preposterous like this happens…” I quickly closed the door before she could make any threats.
“I can’t believe it. I absolutely can’t,” Z-List, her voice thick with emotion, told The Beauty Queen and me.
“Oh, sweetie, don’t worry about it,” The Beauty Queen told Z-List comfortingly. “We’ll just make sure we keep our curtains closed from now on, ok?”
“No, you don’t understand!” Z-List was practically wailing now. “For weeks I’ve been feeling fat and ugly, like a damn ogre. But despite that, I’ve still been singled out by a Peeping Tom!”
She began to giggle lightly through small tears.
“Even at my fattest and ugliest, the Peeping Tom chose to victimize me over all the rest of you!”
The Beauty Queen and I stared at each other in concealed horror. However, we both know by now: when living in a sorority house there really isn’t room for disbelief.
“I just don’t understand why Doughnuts wouldn’t have let me know sooner. My self-confidence could have really used that earlier this last week.”
And with that, The Z-List Model flung off her robe, climbed back on her bed, and continued her yoga routine. The window stayed open.
As disgusting and creepy as it is, when living in a sorority house the occasional Peeping Tom is inevitable. For most residents in my house, the prospect of Tom singling her out is downright frightening. But perhaps on this particular evening, a little boost of confidence from a Peeping Tom was exactly what my Greek home needed.