Animals are everywhere, from the noble, if eccentric UPennsylvanian squirrel, to the tiniest Sansomite cockroach. Some of us may even consider the freshmen “meat” on occasion, though there exists far more curious animals on campus, namely our very own fraternity brothers, species ranging from Squirrels to Owls (brah). Considering the past few days constituted my second NSO, I decided to check out the admittedly freshman dominated frat scene that I had mostly missed during my rather shy introduction to Penn nightlife. Of course, going through this process revealed some of the uglier sides of our dear Social Ivy, but what else is to be expected? Rain, alcohol, and supply and demand don’t mix, though I doubt Econ 101 would introduce this concept. Heading out last week, I was baffled to find fraternities and houses alike running out of all beverages and Solo cups, adding a rather sad layer of recession to the trashy atmosphere. Perhaps we are suffering our own social shortage?
Though my night of waiting under awnings for fear of the rain gave me a great view of our own seedy, student-supplied party scene, it almost seemed as if the entire system had become a caricature of itself. No longer can one rely on ratio alone; personal preference now plays a huge role. Maybe no one can be blamed for this, as the practice is understandable, but it does seem to be further enforcing some kind of stereotype. On the other hand, maybe it’s just a tactic to introduce frosh to frat life – I really couldn’t say. Nevertheless, give some credit to the bros, who, despite their strict enforcement of such regulatory rules, can be pretty cool guys if you get to know them, or at least somewhat polite when working the door.
Let me stress – this is not a complaint about the exclusivity of Penn’s fraternity parties. Rather, I find my freshman year quest to gain entry to each establishment particularly amusing and futile. And yet I can still look upon it with some fondness, as I found this year. Returning to the same parties, the old haunts, I saw one of the most common denominator among us – the regular, socially awkward male. You know the guys: unable to dance, but there anyways, trying their hardest, not yet properly integrated into the Penn system.
So, here’s to that new excuse, the latest and most prevalent “first world problem;” social awkwardness is here to stay. Although the disease may be cured with time and effort, we’re all a little bit infected, like when you blurt out a joke that’s only funny in your head. In this way, Fraturday may be one of the best treatments for a freshmen afflicted with this First World Flu. A few small confrontations with bouncers and forced dancing--god forbid casual grinding--could easily improve your attitude a smidgen, though the same can’t necessarily be said for diarrhea of the mouth. Thank god for frats, the Pepto-Bismol to alleviate some of our former social indigestion.