I Will Teach All of You How to Live
by Sterling CooperDearest Fraternity Men,
Judging by the majority of the posts on TFM, most of us can agree on a few things: We love women in spite of their terrible attempts at humor; We love top shelf bourbon and the cheapest light beers; We wear the North while we represent the South; We believe in free market capitalism so much that we’d rather kill every baby seal in the world than allow our tax dollars to go the man at the liquor store bragging about how his “Obama check” is paying for his fifth of gin. However, many posts here are troubling to me, and I can no longer stand idle without addressing a few problems.
1. Coming from money is great. It means that you come from good stock, and your family has made something of itself. However, it is not a reason to exclude anyone. Many of the men we purport to respect are self-made success stories. Almost all of my brothers with trust funds have elected not to touch them in favor of making their own way, and having something even grander to pass on to their children. We all love America. Therefore, we make ourselves out to be liars if we scoff at the American Dream.
2. If your fraternity does not haze its pledges, you are in a social club. Whether it is national council-based like “Balanced Man,” or mandated by your respective school’s administration, the lack of hazing denotes a lack of pledging and, in turn, a lack of true brotherhood. We don’t haze to feel superior. We already know that we’re superior. We haze first because we were hazed. It is tradition. We do every alum a disservice if we water down our pledging processes. Pledgeship, while fun for actives, is more about putting raw iron through fire so that it can become steel, than it is about keeping our shoes constantly tied and our drinks constantly full. The reason we are so close to our brothers is because we all went through the same hell and came out the other side.
3. There is a difference between good humor and disrespect toward women. The phrase, “make me a sandwich,” is funny all day long. We pride ourselves on the number of women we sleep with, the attractiveness of said women, and our ability to juggle several at a time while convincing them that this is how college works. All of this is in good fun. But GDIs reading this column, make no mistake, you will find no one faster to defend a woman than a fraternity man. We joke all day long about women’s roles and sexual activity, but when push comes to shove about a woman, we skip pushing and shoving and go straight to fists. Women are beautiful, smart, and funny, and damn it if they don’t have the best invention ever created built into their bodies. Men, don’t feel guilty about making fun of sluts, but don’t you ever dare disparage a woman of true class.
In conclusion, I think it’s important to sum up what being in a fraternity is about, and why we pledge. We don’t take pledges because they’re cool guys or they can drink a lot. We take pledges based on the content of their character. Can you survive the hell we’re about to put you through? Are you worthy of our energy? Can you party like Charlie Sheen, pound like Wilt Chamberlain, work a room like Sinatra, and command a board of directors like Warren Buffett? Will you do something with your life? If these questions lead to “yes,” then you’ll get a chance to prove yourself. GDIs (I know y’all are reading this), let’s get one thing straight: I don’t think I’m better than you. I know for a fact that I’m better than you. In fact, this goes for anyone reading this. I’d probably party with most of y’all. I’d hang out with a few of y’all. But make no mistake, I am better than you, and if you don’t think the same thing about yourself in regard to me, then I don’t want to know you. We aren’t better because we drink a lot. We aren’t better because we have money. We aren’t better because we pledged hard. We aren’t better because we don’t have to buy drinks to get pussy, even though all of these things are true. We’re better because we know we’ll go on to build empires. We’re better because we don’t doubt ourselves. We’re better because we have the secrets, we have the grip, we have the tradition and – most importantly – we have the character of champions. So go out tonight (whatever night you happen to read this), get drunk, make mistakes, find a girl to introduce your dick to, fight a wolverine, punch a liberal in the head…fuck it, rage so hard that your Sperry’s come UNTIED. Just know that whatever shit you get into, all of us are going to make it our primary goal to one-up you. Because that is how brotherhood works.