Frat House: Fact or Fiction

Monday, October 26, 2009 | 7 Comment(s)

I had the pleasure of traveling to my parents' alma mater, and the college my cousin currently attends, University of Michigan. The Greek system is very popular on campus and my cousin, in his junior year, is currently living in his frat house near the center of campus. My father, brother, cousin, uncle, and I visited him "in his natural environment." Let's separate fact from fiction (opinions only reflect my cousins frat).

1. "Frat houses smell like stale beer and are filthy."

FACT. The smell of beer actually started emanating into my nostrils once i made it halfway up the lawn. The basement featured that smell, turned up to 11, and dueling beer pong tables ready for action at any time. The bathrooms were . . . well . . . let me approach this a different way. I peed in the shower. There were two toilets in said bathroom, but one was "Pollocked" in red (vomit) and the other toilet was much MUCH MUCH MUCH worse (think in brown and spread it around). I will say that they did have a "poop toilet" which they kept clean for the 30-some brothers to #2 in. Also, it was reported via my brother that raw chicken and onions were found in the library. I think that statement stands for itself. In sum, Martha Stewart should have had to live in a frat house for a few years instead of jail time. It would have actually taught her a lesson.

2. "Frats get girls drunk to take advantage of them."

FICTION: The only girl i even SAW in the frat was my female cousin who was along for the ride with the rest of us. All of the brothers were extremely friendly and hospitable, willing to share whatever they had to make our visit as fun as possible. There were two girls chatting loudly (Read "unbelievably vapid") from the "girl's bathroom" as we were leaving, but they seemed like they were making themselves at home more than being in any danger.

3. "Beer pong has been discontinued because of swine flu."

FICTION: While one brother did tell me that some people had taken to putting water in the cups and then drinking the beer from cans not involved in the game, that was not our experience. The two 30 packs of Natty Light were brought straight to the basement and set up for the game with literally no discussion. It was understood. It should be added that my family members and I held our own quite well vs. the brothers. Which should be embarrassing for them. It should also be said that they didn't seem embarrassed.

4. "Frats throw great parties."

FACT. Now, I may be biased as my university had 3,000 kids, and U of M has over 30,000, BUT --that said, there is nothing as hilarious than watching keg stands and 100 kids singing "Bye bye Ms. American Pie," simultaneously. In a hilarious side-note, a student who looked about 14 and was clearly sloshingly drunk, came up and reassured me that it was ok that i was drinking a beer on the porch. I truly couldn't do anything but look him straight in the eye and laugh my ass off. "Phew!" I finally said. Oh, this was at 10am pre-football game btw.

I'm sure there is more comedy gold to be recalled from the weekend. So stay tuned.


  1. I'm glad your visit can be used to inform the world but also know that you saw one single fraternity on one single campus so your sample size is quite small.

  2. It's always been my experience that the fraternity/sorority students are very friendly, charming, socially conscious, and motivated in the classroom. The frat guys seem to be the ones most likely to just be friendly with me for no reason, and several times I've been invited to sorority dinners. One of these times I might even go.

    Or not, after reading your description of the bathrooms...but perhaps the girls are more fussy about that than the boys.

  3. Dear Anon,
    ABSOLUTELY!!! See the parenthetical at the end of the first paragraph. I also think U of M, which has at least 4,000 students involved in Greek life (larger than my Uni) is bound to have a lot more variability than small school frats.

  4. Matt the anonymous is me Ezra.... just wanted to make sure you knew you were looking at a fraternity on a non-party night with only my closest friends. That makes many of your generalizations untrue if you had looked at a bigger picture as I have.

  5. Ahh Ezra. My first question is why aren't you following my blog un-anonymously. My second comment is that your first comment was thoughtful enough to have one of my advisers think that you must be a graduate student (that's a compliment). And thirdly, as with any one page summation of an experience, they of course only speak for that moment in time. Though somehow I think that that bathroom won't be spic and span any time soon. Nor do i think you guys are going to quit playing beer pong. I dare you to prove me wrong on either count. GO BLUE!

  6. Your advisors read and discuss your blog?

  7. No No John, I was just talking to Bob about it at lunch.