Gaysi Gone Greek

There were baby dykes, a couple allies, a handful who didn’t identify as lesbians and then there were the older and wiser women who sorta led the show.  There were lots of short haircuts, cargo shorts, rainbow bracelets and belts, but also long hair and skirts.  And not everyone was white; while the majority was white, there was significant racial diversity… including a certain baby dyke desi.  This was the first informational for the lesbian sorority I was in for approximately… let me see… I didn’t even last one semester.

I think some of my most embarrassing college memories are from when I was in this lesbian sorority.  It was hella cool at the time (and that is obviously very subjective), extremely embarrassing right afterwards, and hilarious to think about now.  We made some sort of oath to never divulge any information about what goes on inside the sorority so naturally I am going to do exactly that.  I suppose it doesn’t matter since I am not going to tell you the name of the sorority.  However, for a cryptic clue: we did want to add some extra “r”s to the acronym and add “riot” on the front so we would be called “riot grrrrrl”.

After the informational meeting, rush week began.  We had an event every day and although it wasn’t explicitly acknowledged, there was an obvious theme:

Monday: Fondue night

Tuesday: Hiking

Wednesday: Flag football

Thursday: Gay bar at night

Friday: Speed rushing ie. Speed dating

… so if we hadn’t already established, it was now clear that this was going to be one memorably stereotypical lesbian experience.

The one memory from rush week that stands out the most is from the fondue night.  We had the fondue night at one of the sister’s houses and she asked her straight roommates if they wanted any fondue.  One of them responded with something along the lines of “ewwww I’m not sharing fondue with y’all and your vagina fingers!”  Yes.

Then came the initiation.  After a long morning spent in a meeting with an official representative of the National sorority, she eventually gave us an hour off.  The catch was that we weren’t allowed to speak to each other for this hour because when we reconvened we were going to be voting on who should be inducted into the sorority.  Well, we didn’t really feel like killing time in solitude so we decided to be rebellious and kill time together.  But just our luck!  As we strolled around campus and downtown we bumped into the bloody woman from chapter approximately every 15-minutes – she did not look amused… but *surprise surprise* we all voted each other in anyway.

And I mustn’t forget what happened that afternoon .  Whenever something BIG was going to happen, which usually ended up not being that big, a specific big sister would send us a mass text message in ALL CAPS as if she was YELLING AT US.  So she sent us one of these text messages telling us to meet her.  Once we got there we were told to close our eyes (probably because they forgot blind folds) and follow-the-leader to a parking lot so they could drive us to a secret location.  Of course we ended up in a hiking trail for our induction ceremony into a lesbian sorority!  Of course!  When we opened our eyes the official sorority rep. was standing there in a dark purple cape and announced that she was “the Lady Ivy” and was going to induct us into… my attention shifted to our sorority president/big sister, who was standing next to Lady Ivy, in her superman t-shirt and basketball shorts ready to help induct us into the sorority.  It was just the most ridiculous sight and situation; I cannot describe how difficult it was to hold my composure – especially when I could feel the inductees standing right next trembling because they were stifling laughter.

We would have weekly “chapter meetings” and at the first one the rules were explained to the new members.  Case example: there was to be no dating or sleeping with each other… unless you already had or were.  So, the biggest sisters decided it would be a good idea for everyone in the sorority to email in a confidential list of the people we have or are currently sleeping with… and then after much discussion they told us to include potential hook-ups too.  This led one of our ambitious sisters to decide to write down everyone’s name as a safety precaution… let me remind you not everyone in the sorority was queer, so it became a little awkward when they found out that their names were on the list.

As time went on, the friendships continued to form.  Me and four other girls had banded together.  After watching Grey Gardens we had decided to start referring to each other as “chickens”, which quickly snowballed into one of those hugely obnoxious, cliquey inside jokes that no one found funny except us.  One of the chickens tried so hard to get with one of the other chickens because she had a vague Carmen-from-the-L-Word air to her and the other chickens wanted a Carmen to her Shane – yeah, she thought she was Shane.  While that happened on the side, we all registered for the same birthday at Baskin-Robbins so we could all get free ice cream together.  We would walk around downtown and whisper “family!” every time a passerby hit our “gaydar”.

Outside of these cliques, each member of the newly inducted class was to be paired up with a big sister.  I don’t know how most sororities do this but I’m pretty sure it ain’t like this!  We were led, blindfolded, into our already pitch black chapter room where the older sorority sisters were standing around.  We had each been assigned a random object written on a piece of paper and were suppose to be listening for clues that would lead us to our big.  Now of course our objects were designed to match our personalities, and of course our bigs were paired to match ourselves.  So, naturally they assigned “tree” to their favorite hippie, yours truly.  I found my big and she was the best.

Then there was the partying.  Each time we planned on going out we would have one person assigned as a “sober sibling”.  One night we went to the gay bar.  To give you a picture, there were only two gay bars in our town – one was a small bar marketed to older gay men, and this one that we went to was larger with drag nights and a dance floor.  It was always really complex to get into because they made every effort not to get closed down.  They made very sure everyone was of age and all that.  Well, somehow I got kicked out of this bar because I made the mistake of keeping company with my very drunk big sister – the one who liked to send the ALL CAPS TEXT MESSAGES.  She stepped on the manager’s toe and got mad that he was mad and things escalated, and the next thing I knew I was sitting on the curb outside while she paced around like she’d been oppressed.  She decided to walk home, so I called our sober sibling.

The parties continued and continued and continued, but so did the stress of being in such close quarters, political tensions, the drama of lesbian misogyny and meat-market culture.  As the partying and drinking increased, so did the make-out fests and the sisterly drama that was entailed.  There were definitely issues of sexual objectification and degradation of women.  I dropped out before the semester was up, and our University’s chapter of the sorority disbanded after a year.  Sigh.

So, there you go gaysis!  That was my adventure into the land of the greeks…

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Anurag is a queer, feminist, social worker-to-be. Currently residing in the cornfields of Illinois.  Fierce, emotional and reclaiming the brown-ness. 

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