"Hi, my name's Lauren, it's so nice to meet you. Can I take your slip? Thanks, welcome to the House, we're so excited to have you! Can I get you some sweet tea? Great, here you go. We're going to go right over here to this table, it tends to be a little quieter in this part of the house--it's been so loud all weekend, I feel like I'm yelling! Have you had a good day so far? How did yesterday go? Don't be nervous...remember, we want you to like us just as much as you want us to like you!"
I've said this verbatim at least 19 times in the last two days. This is not a drill.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a proud member of a sorority, whose identity will remain anonymous. I've happily been drinking that kool-aid since the first day I walked into the house almost exactly a year ago. There is something very empowering about being on the other side of the process--though I can't divulge too many of our chapter's secrets (no, seriously), it was gratifying to know that I had been carefully selected out of many to be a part of the few. In a lot of ways it's like making a selective sports team, or winning some kind of competition. Except I wasn't being evaluated on pure athletic ability, or academics, or beauty, I was being evaluated for the whole package--it takes brains, good looks, personality and presentation to make it in, and that's now what I have to try and figure out for every girl I talk to this weekend. Is she the real deal?
Probably not. There are 560 girls rushing this year, and our pledge class sizes are about 60. I'm not great at math but I know that at least 500 girls aren't going to cut it. But don't worry. "Every girl will end up where they belong. I know it's hard right now, but trust the system...it's all going to work out!"
I'm sure this all sounds wildly fake and really kind of patronizing, but it's what they want to hear, and I've found that generally people will really like you if you make them feel comfortable. Ways to do this: compliment them, mimic their body language, smile a lot, and make them think they're leading the conversation. Which they never are, but still. The great part about all of this? I think I could honestly hold a 20 minute conversation with a brick wall.
And for the record, being in a sorority is rarely like what you see in the movies. It wasn't until about a three days ago that I realized how sad this is. Miley Cyrus is filming her new movie, So Undercover, right now on Tuley's campus and frankly her Greek life looks great. They have these elaborate carnival sets in a couple different quads (we can't figure out why, they're almost all identical, just in different places. Better lighting maybe? someone's a diva...), and apparently they're supposed to be a fundraiser for Kappa Kappa Zeta (MC's sorority...it's fake).
Here's the thing, fundraising is really hard. It doesn't look like that at all. Normally you're miserable after the first hour--you can't put on a carnival and expect to make any kind of profit. Maybe you can if you're Miley Cyrus, but if you're not, you're usually up at 8:00 a.m. heading for a construction site or selling crawfish monica in a booth at a festival somewhere. Somehow you always end up smelling vaguely of fish.
Sidenote: Miley was at the Boot last Saturday...wearing a trucker hat. That's trashy, even for the Boot. And that's saying something.
p.s. More proof of why I'll love my English class: our professor made a facebook page for Robinson Crusoe. Crusoe's favorite movie is apparently Castaway and his interests include food preservation. Tell me that's not at least moderately entertaining.