Damn, I'm sexy when I use alliteration. Ah, it's good to be back on campus. There's just something about college that can't be duplicated anywhere else. Life is just better. Those of you who are just starting your college experiences have a veritable buffet of opportunities laid out before you, and the line is only as long and full of loud black women and senior citizens who can't decide between the steamed baby corn and the steamed broccoli and carrot mix as you let it be. You have the chance to completely reinvent yourselves - expand your horizons, try things you've never tried before, pick up new hobbies. Maybe you'll join an a capella group, or write for the school newspaper, or start your very own STD collection! Each and every one of you will end up following a different path. I'd love to write an article for every unique experience each one of you could have, but frankly I don't have that kind of time or interest in your personal lives. What I will do, however, is offer my sagely wisdom on a subject I know practically nothing about other than what I've gathered from the hundreds of straight-to-video "Animal House" knockoffs that are released each year. That's right, I'm going to shed some light on the endurance trial of humiliation and physical abuse that is pledging to a fraternity.

A large part of being in a frat is doing the two-finger-gun thing. Or so I'm told.

Pledging to a frat is a fairly common experience, so I think I can actually help a fair number of people out with this one. Note how I specifically say "frat" and not "sorority." This is largely because "sorority" would be a stupid abbreviation for "fraternity." Also, it is because I have no idea what sorority pledges have to go through. We don't have any on my campus. Well, technically we do, but they don't have a house because state law dictates that any house populated by more than a certain number of women and no men is considered a brothel. This is a fact that we love to rub in their faces. "Men are keeping women from achieving their full potential around the world," they shout at us. "Yeah, but at least we're not trying to start a brothel," I like to reply. So sorry ladies, but I can't help you today.

In order to compile this guide, I actually took up residence in the basement of a frat which shall remain nameless to protect the identities of those involved, and also so they don't kick the crap out of me. To be completely accurate, it's not a frat, but rather a "literary society." I've yet to see them do anything literary, so I have to assume that's just their way of creating a loophole that allows girls to live in the house, too. You might think it's somewhat hypocritical of me to say that I'm not going to offer any female-specific advice and then admit that half of the residents in my house are female. And you'd be right. But I'm the popular internet writer, here, so you can just suck it up. Let me just say that from what I've seen, the women in the house don't get things any easier than the guys. These aren't bubbly, giggling college girls we're talking about, here. These are ass-kicking, name-taking, beer-guzzling, knife-toting women. They're a different breed. But to get back to the point, or depending on what you think of my writing, to establish a point in the first place, I got myself into a pretty plum situation. I'm living in the frat house, but I'm not a member of the frat, so I'm not bound to participate in their bizarre rituals. Therefore, I can safely observe and document their habits (ether), their patterns (generally stripes), and their movements (twice a day, frequent floaters). However, as a filthy stinking mooch, I am not allowed to witness every single thing that goes on. The official frat meetings are forbidden to me, as are their more arcane practices including initiation, which is going to end up being a central theme of this guide. Nevertheless, I am convinced, as always, that my advice is soundly based in fact, and if it isn't, that reality will rearrange itself until it is. So with that in mind, let's get on with the advice-dispensing!

One of the greatest things about being in a frat is that you always know that there are people there to help you drink until you vomit urine.

Invest in a robe

Many of the older frats, and even some of the newer frats who have a sense of tradition will often break out impressive and intimidating robes on more sober occasions. It can be difficult to keep your nerve when faced with a line of hooded, robe-clad frat brothers. Many young pledges are daunted by such a sight, and may feel a wave of fear when they are addressed. It's important to keep in mind that fraternities are about brotherhood and having a good time, not instilling fear in one another. At the same time, the brothers want to know that you can handle yourself under pressure. But you don't have to fall into that age-old trap of letting yourself be intimidated. Just remember that you're trying to join this frat! So why not join them from the get go? Show that you're a team player by spending a little money and picking up a robe of your own? Wear it at all times to show that you're ready for anything. And I do mean at all times! Part of pledging to a fraternity is being ready to perform your pledge duties at any time. So wear your new robe when you eat, when you sleep, even when you shower, should you choose to do so! Believe me, the brothers will take notice. Other students may not understand your fashion choice at first, but when they learn that you're doing it to make a name for yourself at your frat of choice, they'll all give you the respect you deserve!

Protect your ass

When you first start looking into a frat, note that the brothers are all very macho and nothing about them screams "homoeroticism" in any way. However, once you pledge, you may notice that they develop an unhealthy obsession with your pale, tender ass. Be prepared to show it off on multiple occasions. If you want to make an impression, you can write out the frat's Greek letters across your cheeks. This may arouse ire from your fellow pledges, but don't be fooled, it's simply jealousy. In addition, your precious buttocks may be subjected to a pounding unlike anything you've felt since the last time your parents sent you to stay with Uncle Hank for the weekend. Prepare for spankings, paddlings, and assault from any number of blunt objects. You can sew butt protectors into the seat of your pants, but don't be surprised if you're asked to drop trou. (Author's Note: frat boys can use the phrase "drop trou." Anyone else who uses it should be injected with a hearty dose of polio.) A better bet is to hit the gym and start working on firming up those seatwarmers. That way, you'll have a more solid layer of padding between the two-by-four and your fragile butt bone. Also, the brothers will be impressed by your toned ass. Remember, a healthy can is a healthy mind!

This guy's either thrilled to be a part of such a prestigious fraternity or he's taking one hell of baylor on the grass. I'll leave it up to the philosophers to decide.

Trust is the key

Pledging to a frat is all about trust. Well, trust and drinking. Well, trust and drinking and sex with freshman girls. Well, trust and drinking and sex with freshman girls and Garfield. Man, that cat is hilarious! But trust definitely has a place in the list of the top four things pledging to a frat is all about. You might not know the frat brothers particularly well. Maybe they won't talk to you outside of rush events. Maybe some of them dump pudding on your head while you're trying to talk to a girl in the cafeteria. Maybe the one brother from Lithuania doesn't speak any English, but you're pretty sure every time he speaks that he's calling you some Lithuanian word that translates approximately to "one who eats soiled feminine products." You still have to trust your brothers-to-be implicitly. You have to trust that when they're leading you through the woods blindfolded, they won't make you walk into any trees. You have to trust that when they throw you naked into a pit with a snarling dog, that the foam around its mouth is toothpaste, not rabies. You have to trust that when it turns out that it was rabies, they have the necessary shots handy. You have to trust that nothing they do to your genitals will leave you sterile. You have to trust that they'll only make you drink until you pass out, not until you die of alcohol poisoning. You have to trust that the needle they use to tattoo the word "FAG" on your chest has been sterilized. You have to trust that when you wake up bound and gagged next to a pile of bondage gear in the bed of a rusty pickup truck owned by a three hundred pound Mexican man named Big Raoul who keeps peering over his shoulder at you and laughing until he gags on his own drool and seems to be heading for the border, the chip the brothers implanted in the base of your skull will turn out to be a homing beacon and not a bomb like they told you. It's all about the trust.

You belong to the frat

When I say that you belong to the frat, I don't mean that in the nice, passive, "I belong to a bowling league" way. I mean that in the "your soul belongs to Grongomet now, human" way. The frat owns you, monkey boy. And until you are initiated into their ranks, that means the brothers own you, too. Obey or be destroyed. The brothers will most likely give you some token that shows that you are a pledge. It may take the form of a pin, a hat, a jacket, a necklace, a midget, or any number of other easily lost items. Your brothers know how hard it will be to keep track of this token. Pins fall off. Jackets get left in friends' rooms. Midgets wander into traffic. But you must keep your token at all times. Make it your top priority. Cherish it. Keeping track of your token is a challenge, and overcoming that challenge will prove to your brothers that you can be counted on. And believe you me, it will be a challenge. People love to screw with pledges. They will try to take your token. They will trick you, lie to you, attempt to capture you, assault you, send their spies to follow you, cause avalanches to block you, unleash the riders in black whose voices are naught but inhuman screeches and whose eyes have faded to nothingness in the eternal cold of undeath, but who can smell your frat token when it is near and who are forever drawn to its power, anything and everything to prevent you from hanging onto your token until you can destroy it in the fires from whence it was created. I mean, until you get initiated.

I typed in "frat" and this came up. I guess it's an attempt to make Joey the "collegiate" 'NSyncer. Nothing doing, Joey. No one likes you.

Hazing is an act of love

You can try as hard as you like to impress the brothers in the hopes that they'll take it easy on you, but no one gets in for free. Hazing is a time-honored tradition, and if you think that you're going to be the one to break the cycle of loving abuse, then you're in for a nasty surprise, most likely one from which your anus will never quite recover. On the plus side, you won't need as much fiber in your diet. You have to expect a degree of hazing, but just know that the brothers only make life incredibly difficult for you because they want to see you rise above it all and come out a better person. There is a saying that goes, "we only hurt the ones we love." Frankly, that's bullshit. I'm fairly certain that none of our soldiers overseas ran around Afghanistan telling the Taliban just how much we all love them before their villages got the Ramadan bombed out of them. But in the case of a frat, you can assume that the saying actually does hold true. Brotherly love will conquer all and in the end your torment will be forgotten. Sure, the brothers might attack you on both physical and emotional levels with such ferocity that you can't even summon the self-confidence to kill yourself because you're afraid that you'll mess it up and wake up in a hospital bed with bandages on your wrists and a crowd of hooded frat brothers standing around your bed waiting to tell you in loving detail how you managed to fuck up again, but that's only because they want to create an unbreakable bond between you that will endure for all time. Either that or they hate you.

That's really all there is to it. Going Greek isn't for everybody, but those who do join are entering into a sacred pact. it is not a decision to be made lightly. If you do decide to join a frat, I hope that this guide makes the pledging process as easy as possible. I'd like to elaborate further, but I'm afraid that if I did, the actual members of the frat here would show me just how much they love me until I go into a coma.

– Ben "Greasnin" Platt

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