Everyone in a fraternity has always had his own satellite house, man cave, hideout, or whatever else you want to call it. Basically, it’s a safe place to drink. Ours was simply referred to as “The Island” — although it was about as exclusive as the Delta Gamma groupie we had.
Let me paint a picture of what The Island looks like. Take all of your worst nightmares and throw them into one scummy, dark basement. The bathroom itself was something out of Hostel or Saw. There were tattered walls, unexplainably sticky floors — which we are going to blame on alcohol and not bodily fluids — and a bar that separated the ones running the party from the overly-inebriated partygoers. It was a shithole, but it was our shithole. From watching a girl get railed by two gentleman in the laundry room to watching my buddy “make love” to something in the AIDS-infested bathroom, I will never forget the place we called The Island.
If you went to The Island soberly, you were going to have a bad time. Hell, if you went drunk, you would probably have a bad time. Although, this place did coin the phrase “island dancing,” which is essentially dry humping with clothes on for most of time. This is the typical dancing you see now, just much dirtier and unoriginal. It’s where I learned my first dance move, “the shimmy,” and all it required was simply putting both hands on the bannister while the lovely lady in front of you proceeded to rub her ass on your boner while you simply wiggled back and forth.
The Island was the place fathers warned their daughters about, and rightfully so. The stripper pole itself was enough to tell people what the place was about. All different shapes, sizes, and genders used the pole and very few actually did anything of note, but chances are, if you didn’t remember using it, you would find a video of it in the morning.
What made The Island so interesting was the presence of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity next door. It’s what turned The Island into a cultural melting pot in a lighter sense. It’s what gave birth to the necessity of security, which was nothing more than a few wannabe badasses checking IDs while wearing a black shirt with the word “security” on the front.
With the passing years, The Island became more and more of a joke. Although, if you wanted meaningless sex and had little to no standards, it was still the place to be. I will admit that I once woke up with no recollection of the previous night only to have landed myself a formal date who I would not touch with a ten-foot pole soberly. The Island was also surprisingly the first place I told a girl that I loved her — it didn’t last long, which was probably for the best. The last place you wanted to meet a future wife was The Island.
The Island has too many different stories to fit into a column — they belong in a novel. Although, the novel would never see the light of day because the stories are so obscene, a publisher would never touch it. From watching a new member actually do a naked lap to earn a signature to watching a woman actually Zamboni off the disease-ridden basement floor, I will forever be scarred for life with both of these terrifying memories.
The Island is no longer with us, which is a probably a good thing, but part of me will always miss it. It’s where Mr. Koole, my blackout persona, thrived and where he felt at home. He was free to walk around like a zombie and still miraculously pick up a girl or two without speaking a single word.
Too many (or not enough) times do I only remember simply walking down the stairs to the dungeon only to wake up somewhere else with pants soaked in piss — oh freshman year. Yes, these memories are not the happiest, but they are the most memorable. They will always give me countless stories to tell pledges when they simply ask, “What was The Island?”
With that question I simply look at them and say, “sit down son, I will tell you of the infamous legend that was The Island,” similar to a seasoned war veteran telling his grandkids about ‘Nam. So while The Island was a place where nightmares became realities, it will always hold a special place in my memories..