“Are you going out tonight?”
God knows I was.
My fridge was loaded with Jell-O shots and an oversized bottle of Malibu Rum. Wearing our very deadliest outfits, my new floor-mates and I assembled in my room to pre-game to the tune of “I Kissed a Girl.”
“Let’s go to AD,” said Girlfriend A, who was staring into her black-lined eyes in the mirror while she meticulously straightened her hair. “They blitzed out earlier, we’re like totally invited and everyone says it’s like the coolest house.”
“Yeah… if it sucks, we can go to Sig Ep, a lot of people I know are going there and I think they’re having margaritas or something.”
Some shots later, we were ready to go, exuding an “Asian glow” and the flimsy confidence of anxious freshmen women who have no idea what they are getting themselves into. Our UGA’s dramatic warnings regarding alcohol abuse, getting picked up by S&S, and whatever that Good Sam thing was were not totally forgotten, though. All these dire risks only heightened the excitement.
AD, however, proved a disappointment. First of all, we could barely get inside the basement, filled as it was by dozens of nubile young freshmen girls just like us, our shunned male classmates (sorry freshmen boys), and, here and there, an inebriated brother. Second, the basement smelled as though every hospital in America sent their bedpans here to be emptied. Brothers appeared to be peeing everywhere. Tipsy as we were, we weren’t having a particularly good time—with the exception of Girlfriend B, who in no time had latched onto an enormous football player, who later would turn out to be quite stuck on her as well. From afar, Girlfriend B looked superhumanly winsome. Damn her.
Next door, Chi Heorot was pretty sweet. A lot of the brothers seemed to be skiers or hockey players (read: hot) and the music was totally awesome. In fact, everyone here was so cool that some of my friends ended up staying. But I wasn’t about to pass up Webster Avenue, whether hemorrhaging friends or not.
On the way we stopped by SAE. The lions outside were a nice touch, though their intended stateliness came off as somewhat silly. In a way, they foreshadowed the brothers’ appearances — they all looked like the portly president of a yacht club who had developed a single minded, and crippling obsession with pong. My friends and I were clad in polo shirts like the brothers, though, and fit into the basement scene, which seemed to be channeling the good old boy, even though I didn’t meet any brothers from the South. After having our fill of refreshments, I managed to get out after some brothers bumped me from table to finish that series they had started at 11:30. I could see why people grumbled about them, but SAE wasn’t so bad.
Sig Ep was packed—with annoying freshman guys, all of whom friended me on Facebook the next day. After several margaritas and many awkward conversations, I moved on down the street to Chi Gam. “Sketchy” was the most common word I’d heard used to describe this house. Judging from the interior, the term seemed apt enough. The air emanating from inside was swamp-like, humid and thick with the stench of body odor. Lil Wayne blasted to the point where I could feel “Money on My Mind” invading my very skull, which by this time was pounding.
Once inside, we were trapped on the dance floor. I somehow managed to get caught inside the gyrating, grinding mass of drunk and sweaty guys like a banana caught between the gears of a vicious machine. Too much togtherness; too much “Superman dat ho.” I felt like I was quite literally going to puke.
And puke I did, during the rendezvous in Novack—the restrooms there have seen a lot, I’m sure. We also ended up seeing some guy friends—freshmen frustrated by the fact they weren’t getting any beer. Though I was getting some queer looks from the scrawny, yet-to-gain-their-beer- bellies boys, in my own drunk judgment, I still looked fine. Except for some smudged eyeliner. And I felt fine. Besides a mild case of the spins. Still a hot freshman girl, that was me. Boot and rally, I told myself with gritted teeth. Boot and rally.
We reeled back to Webster Avenue, deciding to go to the big white house in the middle of the street. The contrast between this house and Chi Gam was stark. Sweat and pheromones had been replaced by the increasingly familiar scent of Keystone Light and urine; amid the comfortable gloom, Lou Reed’s lazy voice softened the furious staccato of pong games. The Phi Delt brothers, some shirtless, on the whole treated our presence with a grand indifference—perhaps explaining why there weren’t that many girls around. Well, maybe it was the spitting tobacco juice all over the floor; or the fact that everyone wanted to drink out of a huge trash can (they found something very attractive about alcohol diluted with a lot of urine); or maybe it was that some brothers later appeared to be throwing the trash drink up. Gross—excuse me, “grim,” a brother corrected me. The girls who were in the basement, and there weren’t many, were mostly being instructed in the inscrutable game known as dice. These women’s metallic giggles and slurred speech gave them away to be, like us, impressionable young freshmen. Meanwhile, two upperclasswomen were holding their own during a pong game. Judging by their behavior, they had been on table for quite some time, having had dozens of beers in the process. Judging by the muffin tops at their waists, such a night was for these two a matter of routine. Although I didn’t envy their figure, I did admire their game.
“Do you want to go?” Girlfriend C’s voice called me back to reality, straining over the blare of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “That Smell”—an appropriate song for the evening. Yes, Phi Delt had proved too grim for us, I suppose. We left without anyone taking the slightest notice.
Bones Gate, across the street, was our next stop. At this point my hazy memories cease entirely. BG was serving cutters, and I was apparently knocking them back. I had had enough to drink. Enough not to make it to Theta Delt—“sweet”—Psi U—preppy—and GDX—steaky—and enough to be knocked out until 3:37 pm the next day, when I woke up face down on my bed, ready and quite willing to die. Afternoon sunlight flooded the room. My crisp pink polo shirt of the day before was now unrecognizable, still damp with beer (from all houses), and the assorted mistakes that I had made and drank from the night. That was just the front: the back was covered with the muddy skid marks of a full-length fall down the BG basement stairs. My mouth was bone-dry and my contact lenses stuck to my retinas, though I didn’t dare open my eyes again to peel them off. My breath smelled like a reopened grave. My cell phone vibrated near my head, causing a renewed wave of nausea to flood my body. An hours-old text message from Girlfriend C.
Girlfriend C: “Hey girl u were lookin pretty bad last nite so the guy i was talking to at bg and i brought you back to the river i hope youre ok!! we ended up hooking up though—it was SO amazing! crazy night.. I blitzed u about it but yeah… anyway were going to lous at 12 if u want to come, just blitz me.”
And another: Girlfriend C: “and you BETTER be coming out tonight! Love ya girl!”
This set piece to the Review‘s Dartmouth Guide was written by Katherine J. Murray.