08 April 2009

Indie star.

As those of you who love me know, I write a column every other week for the Daily Texan. This week I was supposed to have a column, but let's just say there were "creative differences" between me and staff, so I just decided to let them drop it. I guess I'll write about puppies and kitties next time (or at least attack some cool people who don't deserve it).

[Don't worry, I'll write the full story after I'm not liable for shit or whatever.]

So since The Internet is amazing, I get to post it on here instead. Someone I won't name said that I'll probably get more people reading my column on my blog/Facebook than I would if it was printed. I got a good chuckle out of that.

It's not my typical typical typical kind of writing because it's uber-structured for me (and oh, how I hate structure!), and I had to add in some sociology junk to try to assuage people (and cut out some funny shit) but anyways...enjoy.

"Last month I participated in what few other hippies would dare try – Round Up 2009. For those who don’t speak Greek, Round Up is the weekend when all the frats and sororities deem it socially desirable to wear neon colors and fanny packs in an (unofficial) attempt to hook potential members on the Greek scene. The parties are virtually non-stop, with round-the-clock drunkenness in celebration of, well, being Greek.

I am not Greek material. I don’t have the money, the look, or the ability to drink copious amounts of Keystone, and the crowd I run with typically scowls at the Greek culture. I once thought that rushes were simply overwhelmed by what we sociology majors call anomie, a sense of normlessness that hits most freshman when they realize they have no friends in a school of almost 50,000. To combat this loneliness, about 11% of current UT students have pledged, and I once considered myself superior to them because I found social solidarity on my own. But when I started seeing a frat guy this semester, I realized that our relationship would depend on my willingness to try out the Greek life.

I once believed all the typical stereotypes that circulate throughout the non-Greek world. “Frat stars” spend most of their money on cheap beer and pride themselves on how much of it they can drink without puking or passing out. They have an insatiable appetite for sex with as many different sorority girls as possible, and they must pay thousands of dollars in dues to get friends and one night stands.

On the other hand, I’m known as a “goddamn independent” in the Greek world. I am penniless and hopeless, and I lack a “real” social life because I don’t always have parties to go to from Thursdays thru Saturdays. The guys in my circle are feminine, dirty, and culturally pretentious because they wear skinny jeans, grow out their beards, and went to the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! show. To them, our underlying animosity toward the Greek scene exists only because we are simply incapable of handling it.

Because I believed in the frat stereotype and relished in my own indie branding, the very thought of Round Up terrified me. An entire weekend with a bunch of oddly dressed rich white kids in West Campus? My social failure was certain. I had a horrifying image in my head of me holding an empty Solo cup while awkwardly standing in a corner, watching endless rounds of beer pong, multiple keg stands, and rampant sloppy make-out sessions.

But I surprisingly and unabashedly enjoyed myself at Round Up, even though my Toms were clearly out of place in their sea of Sperrys. Their ceaseless enthusiasm pulled me into their festivities in what I can only describe as a scene of critical mass. The more of them, the harder they partied – the harder they partied, the more I became part of them. I, a proud member of the indie scene, united with the Greeks in an unlikely weekend of carefree celebration.

After all, what makes the Greek culture all that different from the hipster scene? We judge each other based on looks, affluence, connections, and attractiveness, so the only dissimilarity lies in how we express our social standing. The frat star may wear neon sunglasses with Texas flag shorts and drink from a beer bong to assert his dominance, while the scenester will wear the most obscure vintage band shirt and smoke hand-rolled joints to prove his indie-ness.

What unites us is the fact that we all simply try too hard to make ourselves known. The animosity between our two groups exists because we need this distinction in order to define ourselves. This practice of “othering” sadly leads us to believe that our differences overshadow our similarities, and we begin to identify ourselves by what we are not. Hanging out at the frat house the other night, the only way I could tell that the guys were frat stars and not scenesters was by the Greek letters on their shirts. They make the same jokes, watch the same shows, and have the same simple desire to have a good time as any group of scenesters do.

After my boyfriend graduates in May and my connection to the frat world has been severed, I probably won’t go out of my way to get back into the scene. I’ll just return to my side of the fence and reassert my indie nature knowing that I’ve seen the other world, and it’s not that much different."