Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Recovering Frat Boy

Disclaimer: I did not write this story. It was forwarded to me as part of an email chain, a la early Tucker Max. But I thought, fuck it, it's just so funny and true that I would be doing all of you a disservice by not posting it. So without further ado and in keeping with the unapologetic theme of this blog, I present to you The Recovering Frat Boy:

During my five-year college reunion in May, I snuck into my old fraternity house, which at the time was being used as some sort of community service dorm. As I wandered about taking pictures, a student approached and asked politely, "Excuse me, who are you?"

Instinctively, I turned around and yelled menacingly, "Who the fuck are YOU?"

The girl scurried off, but the incident made me introspective. Here I am, twenty-seven-years old, with a relatively successful career, regular car insurance payments, and pillowcases that match my comforter. Yet at the same time, I can't drink one beer without drinking twenty, I can't converse with a girl without trying to take her home, and I can't even step foot in a fraternity house without immediately regressing into an asshole. While college is many years behind me, vestiges of the experience remain deeply ingrained in my personality. Welcome to the world of a recovering frat boy.

Of course, I'm not the only one. There's an entire faction of twenty-somethings out there who live seemingly mature lives - but only to the naked eye. Take my friend Mike, a successful software developer in New York whose downtown apartment has actually been passed down for years to successive generations of graduates from his fraternity like an off-campus party house. Or my buddy Justin, a writer here in LA who is looking to move to a new place - but has yet to find one big enough to fit his beer pong table. Unfortunately for him, "Hardwood floor quickly soaks up cheap beer" is generally not an amenity typically found on craigslist.

Recovering frat boys aren't required to have ever been Greek. In fact, they don't even have to be boys. On average, every other Evite I received from girls over the past year has been for some sort of elaborate, costume/theme party that reminds me of sophomore year. If you're a strong, independent woman in her mid-twenties who is still throwing parties entitled Pimps & Hos, Forties & Hos, or Golf Pros & Tennis Hos, you are most definitely a recovering frat boy. Dressed like a whore.

To me, the phrase, "Let's grab a drink" is both the rallying cry and secret password of the recovering frat boy movement. For some reason, no one uses that phrase until they've graduated college, and then they use it so frequently it becomes virtually devoid of meaning. If you really think about it, you only actually grab a drink with about 10% of the people you say that to. Of that 10%, most think you literally want to have a solitary cocktail and exchange pleasantries or discuss current events (these people are often married or lawyers). The remainder - who you quickly recognize as kindred spirits - take "grab a drink" to mean "play beer pong and find that party where chicks are dressed as hos."

Why is it, then, that so many of us, whether subconsciously or not, have adopted this quasi-Peter Pan lifestyle? These days, it's no longer, "I won't grow up." It's more like, "OK, I'll grow up, as long as I can still throw up once a weekend." I think the answer is simple: because we can. The world is changing. Getting married in your twenties is no longer the norm. And that means we now have more time to live our lives the way we want to and, most importantly, have evolved the ability to do so while still excelling in the adult world.

People ask me all the time how long I can continue calling myself a recovering frat boy. Those people are usually sober and annoying. And my response is always the same: "Who the fuck are you?"

Friday, September 18, 2009

The 4-by-3

Writing about breaking the law is a tricky endeavor due to the crimes in question and the parties involved. But the following ritual is just so awesome/extreme/crazy that it had to included in a blog like this. For obvious reasons, names and locations have been changed or omitted. I hope you'll forgive my vagueness.

Every spring, a certain group of fraternal brothers at a certain Washington-area university take part in an event that, for those who experience it, often constitutes one of the final steps on the journey to manhood. Now, almost every fraternity in America at one time or another has been known to participate in competitive drinking games (much to the disdain of administrators, parents, columnists, and generally sophisticated people everywhere). The old stalwart of these events is the case race, in which a small group attempts to finish 30 beers before any of the other teams.

Sometimes, dudes also like to prove their manliness by engaging in eating contests involving various items- wings, hot dogs, pizza, cole slaw, etc. You name it and it's probably been eaten competitively before. Also, how many college students don't like to toke up a little bit from time to time? Despite the Federal government's best efforts, marijuana usage is rampant on America's college campuses. Who are we to disagree with popular opinion?

Being overachievers in the areas of intoxication and excess, we decided to combine these three elements- drinking, eating, and smoking- into a single event and turn it into a competition. The 4-by-3 Relay Competition is not for the feint of heart: four man teams, one case of the beer of your choice, one large pizza, one eighth of an ounce of sticky green. The first team to finish all three wins. It doesn't matter how you split up consumption of the various items, they just all have to go away. No shotgunning, no funneling, if you boot you're disqualified and your team is forced to operate a man down.

By the end everything dissolves into utter chaos and to quote Douglas C. Neidermeyer of "Animal House" fame, it usually results in "individual acts of perversion so profound and disgusting that decorum prohibits listing them here." By the way, one last kicker: the team that claims victory must empty all the backwash from their empties into a Solo cup. If the residual beer fills more than half the cup, they have 60 seconds to drink it or risk forfeiting their victory. Last year's winning team finished in just over 38 minutes. I challenge anyone who reads this to either beat that time or come up with a better competition.

And She Said "I'm Wet"

It's something that every man dreams about and wishes for on a daily basis, but which in reality occurs only rarely: when she makes the first move. You're just sitting there, minding your own business, not really working it too hard, when- whammy- she let's you know she wants it. Cha-ching. Unfortunately, in our uptight and backwards culture, young women are encouraged to project an image of chastity and refrain from "chasing boys," leaving it up to the males to initiate intimacy.

But every once in awhile a girl will forget what she is supposed to do and instead does what she wants to do. Such an event occurred just this past weekend... or so we thought. This particular Friday night called for a trip to the strip club. But owing to the fact that we are broke students/young professionals (I use the term "professional" loosely), a classy joint was out of the question. Enter Taj Mahal. The place is an institution in Washington and a rite of passage for every young man who has lived/worked/gone to school in D.C in the last three decades. Imagine the bar in "Roadhouse" (RIP Patrick Swayze) with dimmer lights and tits. The ATM dispenses singles and the employees are typically the kind of girls who can't get work in the other, more reputable gentlemen's clubs in D.C. Get the picture?

On this night, we brought along some young ladies because 1.) we wanted to show our romantic side, and 2.) everyone knows that, deep down, girls love strip clubs. If you're reading this blog, you've probably been to a strip club before, so I won't go into details of what occurred other than to say it involved the usual: getting too drunk, showering the strippers with abusive language, and eventually getting kicked out for "not respecting the girls."

One of our guys- we'll refer to him as "Big Daddy"- was really hitting it off with one of the girls, whom we'll call "Bouncing Betty." She was obviously into him and he was doing his best to play it cool despite the fact that he was near-blackout and she was definitely out of his league. As we were being escorted out, Bouncing Betty somehow made it past the bouncer with a bottle of Bud Heavy (classy girl, huh?). Not wanting to cock-block, we all piled into cabs and left the two of them standing on the corner to get the next one. What ensued can either be seen as hilarious or tragic, depending on your perspective.

As Big Daddy related to us later, they got into the next cab, Bouncing Betty still nursing her beer. They snuggled together in the back seat. After a few blocks, she calmly leaned forward, turned to face him, and without batting an eye, told him "I'm wet." How is a guy supposed to take this statement other than "it's on like Donkey Kong?" Believing that he had been struck by incredibly good luck, Big Daddy immediately went to work: making out, groping, and eventually sliding his hand up her thigh and under her skirt. As he later related to us, "she didn't do anything. Nothing. Just sat there and took it. Didn't say anything, didn't reciprocate." After a few minutes of this Daddy began to feel awkward, so he leaned back and asked point-blank "what the fuck, I thought you said you were wet?" "I am," Betty replied, gesturing to a wet spot on her dress. "I spilled beer on myself."