College Life and Cults
November 21, 2001

I'm dating a cultist. Of course, it drives him nuts when I (or my two roommates, who started it) call him that, but I don't see any doubt about it. Merriam-Webster has two nice definitions for this purpose: 1; "a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also : its body of adherents", and 2; great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work. Not to mention he regularly run around in the cult's colors/clothes, goes to their meetings....

In case you're taking this too seriously, he's actually a greek, and I am taking much amusement from teasing him about that fact. Well, ok, it not technically greek, it's actually a "Christian service fraternity," but I, like a lot of people, only look as far as that colored jersey with a trio of letters and a silly name. It's a cult. Er, frat. Right.

So why the sudden exposition about your personal life, you ask? (if not, just play along, 'cause I never do well trying to improvise from the script) Not just because dating for the first time (yes, ever) turns what passes for my brain into mush. It's mostly 'cause he keeps telling me I should've accepted the nomination, whereas I'm firmly set with declining it, and I don't think he quite gets my point of view. So I'm venting here where it's safe and I won't be tempted to bop someone upside the head.

Confused? Good.

Best to start off with Norcumi's views on the fraternities/sororities, henceforth called the greeks. I of course watched Animal House before coming to college. Never really considered it that bad, but certainly didn't hold that high a regard for them. Mind you, I try not to let it prejudice me into being snotty just because someone's a greek. After all, my mother was in a sorority (no, I will not say which so long as they keep publicly pushing to get legacies to join- I've avoided their clutches this long, I'll be blasted if I'll join now!). So I don't really have moral grounds to get holier than thou with greeks as a whole. Individually, well, that's just people being people.

So anyway, I was actually invited to join one of the campus's groups last year. It was the honors fraternity (meaning they take in both genders but are therefore gonna call it a frat, the sexist buggers), which actually attracted my attention. I spent a week angsting over what to do. One the one hand, it meant my grades and class rank was good enough to qualify for a nationwide recognizable organization. That could mean good things on a transcript, which could turn into good things on a resume. And I do believe they give out scholarships to some students. But on the other hand, some people could (much like myself, irony demands to point out) only look as far as the letters and just think sorority chick, and then go straight to keggers and Animal House. I don't like the herd mentality of the sports jerseys and whatever else they have for a dress code, the idea of buying into "friendship" like that irks me, and I'd be a massive hypocrite to spend so much time mocking the greeks only to turn around and join them.... So in the end, I turned it down and went on my merry way.

As for dating a (sorta kinda not really) greek, his frat doesn't come into the picture that much. I won't get all scary and sappy on you with the whys and hows of- er, well, why I enjoy dating him (and that sentence made less sense than usual), but the cult thing just doesn't factor in at all.

Until about a week ago, when I woke up to an e-mail from the cult's secretary congratulating me (and 3 others... doncha love spam?) on being nominated for frat Sweetheart. My rejection was sent out by 7:30 that same morning. See, my main problem came straight from the letter: "The Sweetheart is a very important job in our fraternity, mainly of making us happy when we're sad, and bringing us food." Ah, no? Pardon a moment of Women's Lib, but if I'm trying to cheer someone up, it's cause I like them as a person and don't want to see them bummed, NOT cause they happen to be wearing a certain jersey. As for fetching, well, while I have been called a bitch, I'm just not that type. I'll get someone food if they're stuck and can't make it, but the fact that I'm dating someone I like does not mean I've turned into a waitress (no, bad analogy, since a waitress would get paid...). Not to mention the overall joys of college rumor mills and reputations. Going from potentially an all out honors greek, to the frat's girlfriend? I don't think so, Tim. Last and actual least indignity, is I couldn't take the hypocrisy. I've been an agnostic for years, and to quasi-join/represent a Christian frat just feels wrong.

So now I've lost the whole edge and probably point to this little rant. Ah well. So I guess this turns out to be just another slice of weird life.

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