Welcome to Fraternity Life

In undergrad, I had little to do with Greek life. Freshman year, I briefly considered rushing until I looked at all the rules and required outfits. I watched a few new friends enter the race only to disappear from the face of the earth, suddenly consumed with sorority meetings, banner making, and paddle shopping once they accepted a bid. I fell into a group of friends who spent their time making fun of the Greek students, as they were too good to ‘pay for their friends’. When I went into postgraduate studies in the United Kingdom, there were no Greek systems. So, I had even less to do with that world. I had almost forgot about the whole structure when I moved back to teach in my old university town. This weekend, at 25 years old and as a PhD student and college teacher, I got my introduction to the Greek life.

I met Rory, a member of Zeta Gamma Delta, on Thursday. I had finished my afternoon classes but I had plans to meet my ex-boyfriend that night. Graham and I, as exes on good terms, are attempting to stay friends and hang out on occasion. I also still had several books and a few toiletries to pick up from his apartment. However, I had a few hours to kill before Graham would be home from work and the gym. I went to one of my favorite places downtown, Pleasant Pizza , for a drink and some food.

Being alone has never bothered me. In fact, I think I’m much better at it than being in a relationship. I go out to eat, I go to movies, I travel across countries with only my own head for company, and I often have a great time. With a book in my purse, I went to the restaurant expecting to keep to myself and wind down from a long day of teaching. But there were no open tables on the patio, only a few seats by the fire pit. Some guys already sat on one side of the stone circle, so I had the hostess sit me on the other. I didn’t want to bother anybody.

The weather was great, though the sun had begun to set. I got a margarita and kicked back for a minute in the patio chair. Soon more guys showed up taking the few other empty seats. They were all chatting and I realized that I had inadvertently joined an entire group of guys who were there for pint night. I didn’t engage much, a couple of the guys spoke to me, which made it less awkward. I wasn’t paying thorough attention until the guy at my right started talking to me about drinks and my excellent pizza choice.

He was extremely skinny, in shorts I could see that his knees were barely the size of my elbows. Everything about him was boney. He had a sharp jaw line and unbelievable defined cheekbones, I could cut a finger off with his face. His name was Rory, 22, a senior graduating in 36 days, and a broadcasting major, marketing minor. At first, I thought I was just being included as the circumstances of the fire pit dictating. We discussed Game of Thrones, good reading material, movies, a few other television shows. There was a good natured teasing about him being in sales. When the subject of a formal and dates came up around the pit, I realized that Rory was in a fraternity.

“You’re a frat guy?” I blurted out.

“Well, when you say it like that…”

“Sorry, I didn’t mean for it to come out like it sounded.”

“Anyway, yeah, I am. So are they.” He pointed to some of the other guys. “But our frat isn’t like a normal frat.” Rory went on to explain about the benefits of being in the fraternity, how the guys there weren’t like the traditional frat members, how it instilled comradery and responsibility. It was eloquent, thought out, and highly persuasive.

“Nice pitch,” I told him. “You salesmen make everything sound good.”

“Well, thanks,” he smiled and shrugged. I liked his smile. It was big and toothy and I could tell he was almost a little embarrassed. I still wasn’t sure if we were actually flirting, considering he was three years younger than me, but I started to hope we were.

Once the sun went down, everyone started to leave. I had to go meet Graham and Rory and his friends were heading to a table inside where it was warmer. I lingered wondering if he would ask for my number but I couldn’t read him. Finally, I just shook his hand.

“It was nice meeting you. Maybe I’ll see you here Saturday for the big Booze and Tunes thing,” I said, trying to secure at least a second meeting, just to see if he was as interesting as he appeared to be.

“I won’t be here,” he said. “Our formal is Saturday.”

“Oh.”

“You could just go with him. He doesn’t have a date,” one of his frat buddies said, who also seemed to be lingering as well, watching our tepid interaction. I had to give the frat system credit here; it provided good wingmen.

“Well, I could give you my number, if you want me to.”

“Yeah. Yeah, ok.” Rory pulled out his phone. Ten minutes after I left, I got a text. If I wasn’t sure we were flirting at the restaurant, I was positive we were flirting over the phone. Between jokes about mutual nerdiness and mutual attraction, we settled down plans for the formal, including a dress code.

With the past years’ weight flux, I didn’t have a nice dress that fit anymore. I expected finding a “cocktail dress” to be relatively simple. Instead, I went all over town with minimal luck. Dresses didn’t fit or were too expensive, or too simple, or too glitzy. I felt lost among chiffon and silks. I had no idea what I was supposed to wear. In my head, the kind of girls/sorority chicks that would be at this thing, besides being younger than me, were going to be super spray tanned, dyed blonde with fifteen layers of mascara. Part of me felt too old to be doing this. I was a teacher at a college, albeit not the one Rory went to, what was I doing going to a fraternity formal?

Eventually, I took a break for yoga. A plank series and some downward dog relieved some of the uncertainty, but the rest actually came from Rory. We’d been texting fairly frequently. Turned out it, he was a huge Doctor Who fan like me and from there, conversation flowed. He was polite and sweet. In general, there was something very earnest about the way he talked. I believed it when he said he wasn’t like an average frat guy. When I went back out to the stores an hour and a half later, I realized I really wanted to go to this formal. I wanted to go with him. So, I got the dress that I would wear to anything. No frills, no sequins, no pseudo bridesmaid looking crap. It was cheap dress from forever 21, baby doll cut, high neck, and a huge dip down the back, because dammit, I may be older, but I was going to look hot.

My dad found it amusing that I was going to the formal. We agreed that it was like flashing back to undergrad memories I never had.

“Well, you’ll certainly be the most educated date there.”

“Sorority girls eat your heart out,” I said, taking my dress upstairs. My dad and step-mother both laughed.

The next day, my friends Levi and Scottie let me use their place to get ready since it was in town and I couldn’t exactly primp in the yoga studio after showering. With some time to kill, I made it out to the Booze and Tunes event at Pleasant Pizza before meeting Rory at his place. He answered the door and I immediately thought that he was even smaller than I remembered from Thursday. In my heels, I was slightly taller. Instead of a baggy t-shit, he wore a solid purple button up, with gray slacks and suspenders, which accented his slender frame. But he looked nice, especially with the purple bowtie (purple was apparently their fraternity color. His roommate and the roommate’s girlfriend also embellished their outfits with purple). He gave me a tour, introduced me to the other inhabitants as they showed up. The roommate Jacob offered me some weak Jell-O shots, but I refrained. Rory wasn’t drinking much and I’d already drank at the pizza place, so I stuck with the one vodka and punch mix.

The pre-game at the apartment wasn’t as rambunctious as I expected from fraternity boys. It was surprisingly laid back. Rory and I sat at the counter in the kitchen and conversation went from Doctor Who to comic books to Star Wars to Downtown Abbey. The more we talked, the more I liked him. He was incredibly nerdy. How Rory ended up in a fraternity, I had no idea. It seemed an odd match, especially once I saw him dance.

The formal was held at a fancy restaurant in town, converted in a mingle area with the bar and a dance floor where the dining room usually was set up. Zeta Gamma Delta had 81 members and most of them were there with dates. As soon as we stepped in to the dance side, the room felt distinctly hotter. Rory had wisely left his jacket back at the apartment.

I’m not sure what I expected. Maybe strobe lights, mean girls, and some keg stands. Instead there were a few fairy lights, nice people, and a snack table and discounted beer. It was rather close to a small scale prom, with less space eating dresses. I never understood how girls danced in ball gowns. However, these girls were in short dresses, which made it easy to move and, boy, did they move.

The formal was less ‘formal’ and more a cluster of white people grinding and shaking their hips to thug rap. The first song I heard had a refrain, which the entire room sang, somewhere along the lines of “you’re a hot bitch. I wanna make you holler.”

“Will the entire night consist of misogynistic lyrics?” I asked loudly, leaning toward Rory’s ear.

His reply?

“Welcome to Fraternity Life!”

Rather than write off the experience, to take Rory’s offer to leave anytime I wanted, I decide to embrace the moment. I had a new dress and a cute guy with me. When he asked to dance, I nodded and followed him out happily next to the circle of guys thrusting their pelvic bones wildly while a few girls shimmied back and forth.

Rory had already told me he couldn’t dance. Of course, I had only the typical white girl moves in my own repertoire as well. While, I couldn’t see from outside eyes, I imagined we were quite a pair. For the majority of the night, my hands were soft fists held up around my chest while I shook my hips in what I always hoped was on beat. Occasionally, Rory mimicked my moves. I thought he was teasing me.

“No, you just look like you know what you’re doing I thought I would try it too,” he yelled over more music I didn’t know. Each time a stray song came on that I did know, for instance some Lady Gaga, it became the impetus for more passionate and unrestrained dancing. Though, for the rest of the crowd, that occurred all night.

As someone who has went clubbing in a few countries, I feel like I’ve seen a good portion of insane dancing. People drink, they get loose, they don’t think too heavily on what they’re doing, which is probably how I saw a girl’s granny panties at a club in London after she grinded so much that her skirt came up and she was exposed on the cage platform for the entire dance floor to see. I don’t think it’s arrogant of me to say that I’ve seen a lot and thus unlikely to be shocked. But at that frat dance, my mouth dropped a few times.

Next to Rory and me, one blonde girl was a chair away from giving her date a lap dance. She was flipping her hair and bending over to touch her toes, backing up her ass into the guy’s crotch.

“Seriously?” I laughed, pointing subtly.

“If she’s in a sorority, she’ll get called up in standards,” Rory said.

“Standards?”

“You have to behave in a certain way. And definitely not like that.”

While she looked a hot mess, for a moment I felt bad for the girl. I felt bad for all the girls in standards. Once more, I realized it was a good idea I never rushed. I probably would have been kicked out in six months for a standards violation.

Blonde girl, however, was not the wildest thing I saw. Perhaps the most mind blowing moves were the wall dancers. Suddenly, guys and girls were crouched low, grinding asses on the wall like it was the best dance partner ever. I was baffled, even more so when guys layered on top of each other from there. My opinion of Rory also quickly shifted to surprise when he admitted to grinding on some his frat buddies before. He increasingly became more interesting. The best wall dancers though were three guys, all about the same height in who seemed to be choreographed, even flipping around to dance with their groins into the wall.

“They’re all brothers,” Rory said. “A legacy. They all have the same tattoo on their inner thighs too. It says GBGH.” I looked at him clearly confused. “It’s for Go Big or Go Home.”

I burst out into an uncontrollable laughter. It was too ridiculous to not be true. This was like discovering a foreign culture. These people were officially amazing. But Rory, my tour guide, was by far my favorite among them. His dancing was somewhere between Hugh Grant, Napoleon Dynamite and the Breakfast Club. The shoulders moved in a perfect line and his hips were too fluid. The best part was that he knew it was not smooth, but it didn’t matter. He was having fun. He was going to dance and not take himself seriously. No man could be less self-conscious. I couldn’t have had a better time with anyone else. He didn’t know many of the songs either, but he sang along to all the Miley Cyrus. I wanted to kiss him on the dance floor, just for that.

Towards the end of the night, the music made a drastic transition from Top 40 club rap to a series of Michael Bublé. There had been constant sort of distance between mine and Rory’s body for the most of the night. I was not going to be rubbing my ass against him. But when the music went to more classic ballroom with Frank Sinatra covers he pulled me in and we danced, cheek to cheek. Mostly it was just holding on tight and spinning in a circle around the floor. His cheek was soft and his breaths grazed over my bare neck. I felt dizzy and I don’t think it just came from the dancing. After a breakup, this I missed most, just being held by someone. Rory’s body could not have been more opposite from Graham, who was a foot taller than me and had a chubby midsection. Rory and I seemed to match up and though his arms and body were small, I had plenty to hold on to as we spun.

Once the music switched back after a couple songs, Rory was vocally disappointed. I think because neither of us really wanted to let go. But we ended up back together, pulled close and legs tangled up, when we returned to his apartment. While his roommates changed to go to waffle house, we agreed to find something to watch. It was a slow burn during the pilot of House, which he had never seen, so I was reluctantly to interrupt (it was an awesome show). First, his finger touched my knee, laying against it. The move was the traditional test, an accidently on purpose touch, the kind that gaged further possible response. As girls and women, we all recognize it, as it allows men to venture out yet protects them from the sting of obvious rejection. Our options are simple, we either react, shifting our limb out of range in a casual and natural need to adjust, or we do nothing, which ironically signals the open gate. I did nothing but watch House take the case and so his fingers moved up and over. The back of his hand caressed my knee. He took my hand, holding it and I rubbed my thumb back and forth over his.

The episode ended, taking longer than I remembered. He asked if I wanted to watch another. He seemed almost disappointed again when I said no. Clearly, Rory was not the type to move in quickly. So, I did it for him. I leaned in and kissed him, lightly, and pulled back, giving him the second to realize what was happening. I went back in and this time he responded, lips brusque and equally fierce against mine. This was not a goodnight kiss. Tongues met, lips were sucked and pulled. His arm wrapped around me and the more he pushed up, the farther down I went until I was laid out on the bed, skinny Rory on top of me.

So often, men are larger than myself. On top, they’re almost smothering. It’s a feeling I’ve grown to enjoy, used to even. Rory was light and I could feel the entire shape of his body within mine. I’ve feared small men in the past. Already often cited as an intimidating woman, I worry that their diminutive stature would make me feel large and grotesque in comparison or that the power I needed to feel from a man couldn’t come from someone I could throw off. I’ve worried that my desire to be dominated couldn’t be equaled with my desire to dominate and that this fear would make it impossible to build an attraction or a passion. Perhaps Rory is the exception, but my fear dwindled throughout the night, watching him dance, laughing with him, growing more comfortable next to him, until the point that it was precisely his lanky frame that I wanted grappling with me. Even when we shifted, and I became the one on top, if anything I got more turned on as we finally grinded against each other in the way that would have gotten standards called on me even though I wasn’t in a sorority. One distinct benefit of his thin body was that there was little in the way of feeling his dick hard against my thigh. Definitely on the shy side of approach, Rory now kissed like someone starving. It was a hunger that I was familiar with as a deep wrench of hunger, not in the stomach, but in the blood, nearly always accompanied intense arousal for me. His hands explored as well, edging their way around my legs and hips and under my dress, fingering the lace edges of my underwear. A reminder that his smaller body didn’t not mean a smaller force, he slapped my ass twice, which urged me on to move harder against him. I pulled on the neck of his purple button up. I ran my hands into his soft blond hair. Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore and I sat up.

Rory seemed uncertain but he didn’t say anything, except a soft “oh”, when I went for the button of his slacks and he helped me take them off. He continued to follow lead and I pulled down his American Eagle boxers. I was relieved that what I found did not disappoint. My other fear of small men is proportionality. When women say size doesn’t matter, what they really mean is ‘I like you too much to care’. Men, be grateful you are not merely your penis. I, however, usually don’t like men enough not to care. I like them enough to fake not caring for the moment, but then I tend to move on rather than subject myself to repeated incidents of forced enticement. There was nothing forced about my reaction to Rory. Was it the largest penis I’d ever seen? Certainly not. But it had a decent length and, better than that, girth, despite his tiny waistline.

When I went down on him, I found the smoothest, softest head I’d ever kissed. It was like sucking on warm porcelain and I had just enough room for a nice grip around the base as I took him in, all the way until he hit the back of my throat. My allergies had been acting up, so I had trouble breathing out of my nose, which was cause for a few releases for deep breaths and awkward sounds as I attempted to breathe through my mouth around his penis, but regardless of the little quirks, he remained hard, groaning slightly and whispering every so often, “God, you’re good. You’re really good at this.” There was a tone of surprise each time he said it, which made me think either he was lying or that he hadn’t had a good blow job before. I worried he was lying as after each time he seemed to tense, hardening even more, as though ready to come, he softened slightly and went still. The third time this happened, he finally said something.

“You’re uh…you’re really trying to make me come already, aren’t you?”

“Well, yeah,” I said, coming up.

“I didn’t know if I need to hold out for something else.” I smiled, relieved to find out that his fluctuating had nothing to me.

“Honey, not on a first date,” I said, rubbing my thumb along the shaft of his penis. “You come whenever you want to.”

Apparently, he wanted to very quickly. In a few more moments, he was panting my name like a mantra. After a satisfying ending, I rolled to the other side of him, out of breath as well and licking my lips.

“That was unexpected. Good, but unexpected,” he said, eyes closed and a shit eating grin. I laughed and kissed his cheek.

“Well what did you expect?”

“I don’t know.” he shook his head but the smile remained intact. “I was thinking, ‘hey, she’s older than me, maybe she likes to move slower.’ I was going for a slow and steady wins the race, I guess.” He paused. “God, I don’t know why I just said that. That sounded stupid.”

I laughed again.

“Not stupid at all.”

Rory was something of a contradiction. He admitted his love of geeky fandoms and even Miley Cyrus and Top 40 music, yet he had an awkwardness to intimacy and a tendency to appear self-conscious about making the wrong comments that might turn me off. I liked both these qualities very much. Rory was a gentleman and a nerd. He was confident but not an egotist like I imagined fraternity guys to be. Whether I had experienced the reality of fraternity life that night, I wasn’t sure. But if he was the reality of fraternity men, I was pleasantly surprised. My expectation was not for us to live happily ever after, but I knew I wanted to see him again. The night had been wonderful, even as it grew late.

“I do need to go soon,” I told him.

“I’ll walk you to your car,” he said, still sprawled out, still smiling. I took one last look at his half naked body, almost wishing I’d been patient enough to unbutton his shirt as well.

“I’ll let you put on pants.”

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