Marty Goes to College, Drinks With the Frat Boys, Tries to Get Laid and Learns a Lesson or Two


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Marty Beckerman Goes to College
Participates in Numerous Wholesome Activities and Even Manages to Learn Something Very Special About Himself in the Drunken, Orgiastic Process

"It ain't a real fuckin' party till you add some Greek fuckin' letters," Beefy declares, heaving his bloated arms around a couple of his wasted frat brothers and spilling cheap beer all over the goddamn place. "You know what I'm fuckin' sayin', doggs?"

"Fuckin' right, dogg," one of Beefy's buddies replies, dopey smile plastered across his hideously chubby face.

"___ ___ ___ [name of frat house, which I won't reveal for fear of retaliation] forever!" screeches the Other Brother, vocally confirming allegiance to his wonderful dues-paying friends and every beautiful thing their brotherly unity represents.

The two-story brick frat house, unbearably torrid with body heat, is filled to a cramped and uncomfortable (assuming, of course, you're not bisexual) maximum capacity; there are at least 200 people in this wretched inferno, all of them/us rapidly downing either crappy beer from the keg out back or countless Jell-O shooters, little plastic cups of fruity multicolored gelatin made with whiskey instead of water. Unconscionably loud rap music blares from speakers approximately twice the size of my dear grandmother, and?as one might expect?the halls are replete with underage students partaking in the drunken, ancient and semi-animalistic ritual of Freak Dancing, otherwise known to most of the general adult population as "Wild Dry Humping." (Which is actually kind of interesting when you think about it, seeing as how I just said "my dear grandmother" and "Wild Dry Humping" in the very same sentence.)

"Are you a freshman?" a tall brunette girl presently asks me, tapping/rubbing my shoulder and smiling cheerfully. And yes, her strapless pink shirt certainly would make a snug fit on your average oxygen particle.

"Yeah," I say, taking a brisk swig of crappy beer and pretending to enjoy it. "I'm such a freshman it hurts... Uh, whatever that's supposed to mean. Did I mention I'm an idiot?"

"Ohhhhhh," she gushes. "Freshman year is so beautiful. I mean, the first time you wake up next to someone and you can't remember their name or what they even did to you the night before, you just... I don't know, you just feel so free, you know?"

Thank you, Lord Christ. Thank you so very, very much.

"Of course, there's more to fraternities than just brotherhood. Frat boys know how to party. [Former Sigma Nu President Dave Bercovich] pointed out that fraternity bashes provide a service to the college. 'Let's say a pre-frosh comes to Yale, goes to a frat party and has a great time,' he said. 'Now let's say the frat didn't throw the party, and the pre-frosh thought Yale's party scene was dead. Most freshmen are looking for a college scene, so frats are making a contribution to the school.'"

?The Yale Herald

And so it was with boundless optimism I left my homeland?the barren arctic wasteland that is Anchorage, AK?for the academic halls of American University, located in sunny and terror-ridden Washington, DC. It's only been two and half months now since my tearful goodbyes with parents, friends and lovers, but I have to admit I've already learned many important things here at college; for example, my own body's extraordinary tolerance for cheap vodka after a 45-minute bong session. (Ha ha, just kidding, Mom!) But I've been learning a few things about other people, too?things like just how incredibly stupid most other people really are when you get right down to it. And man, do I mean stupid. Like, Yale Herald stupid. And it doesn't get much stupider than that!

Which is really strange, because you'd think your general opinion of the Human Race would actually go up after having lived on a college campus for two and a half months. I mean, you put thousands of America's Best and Brightest Young People together with experienced, knowledgeable professors from across the globe and you'd expect something at least semi-respectable to come out of it, wouldn't you? Wouldn't you? I would; I did, anyway. Turns out things don't always go the way you expect they will, kids; turns out the world really is a hopeless place after all.

?

"Many of you young persons out there are seriously thinking about going to college. (That is, of course, a lie. The only things you young persons think seriously about are loud music and sex. Trust me: these are closely related to college.)"

?Dave Barry

Another weekend, another party; this time it's not a frat house, but rather the bottom floor of a 16-story brick apartment building at 4100 Massachusetts Ave., five blocks from American University's main campus. Dozens of AU students are currently crammed inside the frat's $2000/month abode, in the kitchen of which a giant keg is being pumped by a sandy-haired frat boy wearing khakis, a red shirt and backwards-facing baseball cap. His name is Jack, and tonight?for many young AU scholars, at least?he's the only man on Planet Earth who really matters.

"Jack!" a girl toward the front of the line shouts, jumping up and down and flailing her arms (and breasts!) every which way. "Jack! Jack! Please, Jack, please!"

"Jack!" a big jock-type guy yells. "Yo, Jack!"

"I love you, Jack!" another girl shrieks, visibly hysterical. "Jack, I love you!"

"Well, I love you too, honey," Jack grins, gazing straight down the girl's black Abercrombie halter top and overfilling her red plastic cup such that beer foam spills all over her hands and wrists. "Come back now, ya hear?"

"Jack, Jack, over here, Jack!"

"Jack! Yo, Jack!"

"Please, Jack, please!"

"Over here, Jack! Over here!"

And on and on and on, and on and on and on, for longer than you'd ever fucking believe.

?

"[College] is a bittersweet time for most parents?especially if the child is traveling far away. It is when adults must let go. It is an ambivalent time for many teens, who are thrilled to be on their own but who, deep down, are afraid to face the unknown without the familiar, steady hand of mom and dad."

?Bill Maxwell, The St. Petersburg Times

"Parents, along with their unlimited checkbooks and credit cards, were put on this earth to pay for all our stuff. Alcohol included."

?Frank Lau, The Daily Collegian

Welcome to college: Nothing's changed. Remember high school? Well, imagine high school with even more arrogant teachers, even more forced spirit and even more shallow teenagers perfectly willing to trade a chunk of individuality for a morsel of acceptance; that's more or less college in a nutshell, except now you're spending tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege of attending. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it?

And all sarcasm aside, it's not like I'm some puritanical prude who gets all holier than thou whenever kids drink and fuck on the weekends. If you ask me, getting screwed-up and making love are just about the two most fun things in the entire world next to reading comic books and skateboarding, and my only true regret in life is not doing enough of either.

But at the same time, academia isn't supposed to only be the next four years of high school for asshole jocks, their miniature penises and the random drunk sluts who love them (the miniature penises); it's not supposed to only be about refrigerators full of chilled Jell-O shooters and weekend hookups between kids who mean nothing more to each other than would big juicy slabs of meat; it's not supposed to only be about the same old teen drama and worthless popularity ladders and trying to make it with every single girl on the cheerleading squad; it's just not.

Except that it is. According to a 1997 University of California at Los Angeles study, only 40.8 percent of freshmen defined college as having anything to do with "the development of an integral philosophy," as opposed to 82.5 percent in 1968?simply astonishing when you consider kids back then were experimenting with drugs and sex even more than we are today. Which probably says something profound about our generation as a whole, but rather than pontificate on this at length I'd really just rather go ahead and share a naughty 419-word story about trying to get some fuckin' play, muthafucka!

?

"But what if your roommate walks in?" she asks, lying on my soft bed and hopelessly attempting to delay the Glorious Inevitable. A full moon adorns the night sky, the lights overhead are darkened and it's becoming more and more apparent with each passing moment that our mutual lust cannot?must not?wait any longer. This is nothing short of Destiny, dear readers: Sweet Sexual Destiny.

"My roommate?" I smile, wrapping my arms around the girl's warm back and pulling her closer, closer. "Oh, don't worry about him?he's probably off in the woods praying or something. It's just us, darling; just you and me and nobody else."

"But, but my boyfriend back home, he's?"

"He's probably cheating on you right now, the no-good creep. And you're in college now anyway?don't you think it's time to forget about home a little?"

"I...well, I guess so, I just don't know if it's too soon to be... Well, you know..."

"Listen, just take a deep breath and relax, okay? All I'm going to do is massage every square inch of your gorgeous little body with my tongue for about 45 minutes, and then we'll make sweet love for a good seven or eight hours after that. Dear Christ, that doesn't sound so terrible, does it?"

"Well," she laughs, her tender lips coming within millimeters of my own, "not really..."

"OH?MY?GOD!!" my Orthodox Jewish roommate abruptly screams, opening the door and covering his mouth in Pure Shock.

"Drat," I mutter. "Man," I say to my Orthodox Jewish roommate, "we really need to work out a 'sock on the door' policy so this kind of shit doesn't happen again. Like, ever."

"You know my religious beliefs prevent me from bringing girls back to the room," my Orthodox Jewish roommate explains for the ten-millionth fucking time. "So listen, if you're going to have girls in here I'm going to knock on the door three times and then I'm going to walk in, because it's my room just as much as it is yours. So just don't be naked, okay?"

"Um, Marty?" the girl says, visibly humiliated. "I think I should probably be getting back to my dorm now..."

Fuck it all. Fuck it all to hell.

?

"Scott S. Krueger, '01, died last night at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, according to wire reports early this morning. Krueger was found unconscious in his room at Phi Gamma Delta late Friday night, apparently suffering from alcohol poisoning after drinking excessively during a fraternity event. He was in a coma for three days before his death... According to Robert M. Randolph, senior dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs, 'they (the pledges) had just been told who their big brothers were.'"

?The Massachusetts Institute of Technology News Office
Sept. 30, 1997

"BE A MAN AND DO IT:
SIGMA CHI FRATERNITY"

?recruitment poster

But getting back to the actual point of today's discussion, it should be abundantly clear that the vast majority of American college students are vapid, soulless alcoholics whose only real pleasure in life comes from performing licentious sex acts on each other and/or kicking little old ladies in the teeth just to see them cry. Either way, the subject of fraternities is bound to come up whenever discussing Campus Life, and just where you stand on this controversial issue may very well determine the exact number of Sexually Transmitted Diseases currently afflicting your genitalia.

Fraternities (or, as they occasionally call themselves for some reason, "Greeks") have been around a lot longer than you'd think. The nation's oldest frat, Phi Beta Kappa, was founded in 1776 at Williamsburg's College of William and Mary; Alpha Delta Phi was later formed in 1832, Delta Kappa Epsilon in 1844 and Sigma Alpha Epsilon in 1856. These institutions were supposedly organized to give male students a sense of solidarity and kinship among one another, as well as to provide them with emotional support in times of desperate need. Like, say, when they ran out of liquor or something.

"Emmanuel!" your typical colonial frat boy would say to one of his buddies. "It would seem we hath no more liquor in the stead!"

"Oh Hector," Emmanuel would laugh heartily, providing Hector with some much-needed emotional support.

Anyway, somewhere along the line fraternities became miniature Secret Societies, complete with their own covert handshakes and borderline-homoerotic Rites of Passage. Frat brothers lived together, learned together and loved together, and their double-allure of secrecy and tradition quickly brought many young men into the fold. By the early 1900s the Greek system had spread to nearly every university in America, and membership in a fraternity became the highest possible symbol of status a young man could ever hope to achieve.

Which, incredibly, isn't an exaggeration on my part: According to the University of Minnesota's Inter-fraternity Council, 40 of the last 47 Supreme Court justices have been fraternity alumni, not to mention 43 CEOs from America's 50 most successful corporations and nearly half of all U.S. presidents in history. And that, dear readers, is a whole lot of powerful fucking white people.

But in recent years fraternities have developed a generally negative Animal House reputation, thanks to increasing media focus on college binge drinking, hazing and sexual assault, all of which are comparatively rampant in the national frat scene. To be Greek is, in the minds of many astute people, to be the Utter Scum of Humanity.

"Whatever your IQ is, it will take a plunge of 50 points when you join a fraternity," says Bill Maher, host of ABC's Politically Incorrect. "It's the lowest common denominator that rules there."

"Fraternities are an extension of high school for people who can't move past gossiping, student government and conformity," writes Jeremy Gray in The University of California Guardian. "At least, that was the case when I was in one... Fraternities are for insecure individuals who need to feel like they belong? When you put hundreds of Greeks together in puffy sweatshirts, it's quite intimidating."

Now, many in Greek circles take offense at these pervasive stereotypes. The Kansas State University Greek Affairs Office, for example, staunchly declares: "The widely held belief that a Greek experience is costly, shallow, and materialistic is incredibly ignorant and unsubstantiated." But on the other hand, most frat boys really don't even bother denying the more obvious facts of their existence; after all, why should they?

"A certain fascination with the female form should not be considered a social ill," writes Ido Ostrowsky in The UCLA Daily Bruin. "This unrestrained sexuality will always be a hallmark of fraternity life, and life in general. But sadly, fraternity supporters have cowered in the face of uptight critics who try to impose their puritanical points of view... Let's get real: The real lure of frats is the social scene (read: access to parties and sexy sorority girls)."

?

"Yeah, he was one of the frat boys... I'm pretty sure his name started with 'L'?like, Larry or Lenny or something. Anyway, we had fun."

?18-year-old American University (female) freshman, wistfully reflecting on her makeout partner from earlier that evening

It won't come as news to anyone that fraternity brothers are a bunch of violent, horny bastards who throw parties for the sole purpose of getting little girls drunk and subsequently penetrating their naughtiest of naughty parts. But what doesn't get said all too often?mostly thanks to basic human decency?is these girls go to frat parties because they want to get drunk and fucked just as badly?if not more so?as the frat boys themselves.

Now, I understand I've just made another one of those sweeping generalizations that probably implies some deviance on my own part and the counterargument to which (presented to me by many offended female students already) is, "I just really like to dance, okay?" This excuse, as fate would have it, is what we B+ Psychology 101 students refer to as "Intense Fucking Denial," pun intended.

You see, the Life Process of a Hookup goes something like this, according to a field study I've conducted by scientifically going undercover to numerous frat parties and observing the attendees' general behavior (not to mention filling myself with various chemicals that may or may not have contained some kind of dog tranquilizer):

The Larval Stage of Development: Freshman Girl, sitting on couch or standing on dancefloor with scantily clad friends (all wearing heavy makeup and facial glitter), is approached by Frat Boy; he is handsome and nice and wearing a cute vest and seems very interested in her; much giggling ensues.

The Fungal Stage of Development: Freshman Girl, accepting obligatory alcoholic beverage from Frat Boy?usually rum and Coke, occasionally beer or Jell-O shooter?begins to realize just how cute Frat Boy actually is; Freshman Girl and Frat Boy proceed with flirtatious touching/dancing/grabbing/stroking/etc. as both prepare for the Hookup's immediately foreseeable Coital Stage of Development.

The Coital Stage of Development: Frat Boy, within five to 10 minutes of approaching Freshman Girl, makes crafty remark about heading to nearest bedroom and/or shrubbery in order to "talk somewhere private"; fierce copulation ensues for next several seconds.

Now, you might have noticed the phrase "seems interested in her" back there. What exactly does this mean? Well, generally it signifies the frat boy in question has given the freshman girl (also in question) the impression she's very, very special to him?which is ridiculous, considering they've known each other for all of 10 minutes. But every girl wants to believe she's special, and so regardless of apparent illogicalities, these last 215 words essentially remain?in the inspirational words of that famous and well-known scientist Albert "Hair" Einstein?"a continual flight from wonder." Indeed, Dr. Einstein. Indeed.

?

"The life of man: solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." ?Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)

"And while I'm thinking about it, why exactly do frat boys refer to themselves as 'Greeks'? Does it have anything to do with how the ancient Athenians considered the highest form of love to be that between a young boy and a grown man? Help me out here, guys, I'm confused."

?Martin Beckerman (1983-20??)

In the end, though, it's just too easy to blame frat brothers alone for the Decline and Fall of Academia across America. Sure, the Greeks propagate and glorify conformity as a social value on campus, but that's only a symptom of the disease, not its actual cause. Our generation's malignancy isn't gratuitous mass inebriation, soulless weekend hookups and total esthetic homogeny; rather, it's our not having anything else besides these things for which to strive. Metaphorically speaking, we've been eating our every meal at Wendy's Old Fashioned Cardiovascular System-Disrupting Hamburgers lately and haven't been taking any time to actually jog off the myriad pounds of greasy sludge currently coagulating inside our very own arteries.

And even if this metaphor doesn't make any sense at all, the point is we need to get our collective act together and stop being so goddamn self-indulgent with our deleterious vices. Yes, there's a shadowy new realm of psychosexual gratification open to us at all times of day and night here on campus; does that mean we always have to be pouring dubious substances into our bodies and/or rubbing our naughty areas against one another like primal orgiastic savages?

In a word: Probably not. As ultraconservative former FBI director and aspiring lady J. Edgar Hoover once put it back when he was still alive, "I regret to say that we of the FBI are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy, unless it has in some way obstructed interstate commerce."

Quite possibly, truer words have never been spoken.





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