I’m not so presumptuous as to question what makes a girl feel uncomfortable. That’s a personal issue, and I trust their judgment insomuch as if they are uncomfortable then that should be respected, regardless of if it’s rational or not, because that’s not the point.
That said, excuse me while I take exception to the column written by Betsey Horton, in which she describes an uncomfortable situation she encountered during a party at a University of South Dakota fraternity house. Now, I don’t doubt that Horton felt uncomfortable. If she did that is unfortunate. Whether or not the discomfort is justified, it is unfortunate.
Here is the uncomfortable situation, as she describes it:
The chant began as a toast between three guys, but it didn’t take long for every guy in the house to join in.
It seemed pretty harmless at first. It was just another one of those songs about the fraternal bonds of manhood. Yeah, you know the kind.
Suddenly the song took a dark turn. For the next two or three minutes of my life, I was subjected to lyrics instructing the so-called men in the room on how to force a girl into giving fellatio and get her “too drunk to say ‘No’.”
As you can imagine, this incredible song ended with the gentlemen in the room screaming out the name of their frat and proudly proclaiming its members were “on the hunt for (insert rhyming euphemism for female genitalia here).”
Okay, fine. That is a reasonable enough reason to feel uncomfortable. Like I said, it’s not my place to question what makes her or anyone else feel uncomfortable.
I will, however, question how honest she is being about the situation. Because while it is not anyone’s place to question the rationality of someone’s discomfort (unless it’s extremely irrational), it is definitely worth questioning their honesty.
Horton goes on to describe the conversation that unfolded between a group of girls, herself, and a fraternity guy at the party while the offensive fraternity chant was being sung. It quickly devolves from a seemingly realistic reaction into a pile of bitchy bullshit.
I looked around the room at the other young woman who had been relegated to couches and chairs.
The first sat quietly, the expression on her face growing angrier by the minute.
“This is disgusting,” the second said, rolling her eyes. “I can’t believe they’re saying this stuff in front of us.”
Totally believable. I can legitimately imagine this conversation. Moving on…
“Oh, I’m used to it,” said the third. “I play rugby so I hear this kind of stuff all the time.”
Again, sounds about right. There’s always that one “bro-ey bitch,” as our TSM staff puts it. God bless that girl.
“So immature,” said the first. “Guys are so stupid sometimes.”
Yeah we’re pretty stupid. No argument here. I’ll let Louis CK take over.
“What?” I asked sarcastically. “You mean you don’t like being told your place in this world is on your knees?”
Oh what a witty response you had Betsey. You’re so funny and charming!
Here’s where we start to get to the bullshit. This feels so…written. Maybe she said something similar, but this quote is clearly beefed up for the story, and it only gets worse.
“It’s just a power trip for them. Guys are so insecure.”
“Boys will be boys,” said the second. “I just try to ignore it.”
“Do you want to go?” my friend asked. “This party is lame.”
You go to the University of South Dakota. Every party is lame.
“Yeah,” I said. “I’m afraid if I stay here any longer I’ll get date raped. What do you want to do now? Wanna go out and hunt for some (censored)?”
COUNT ‘EM! Two more zingers from Betsey Horton!*
*Said zingers were added during the writing of this article and in no way reflect what was actually spoken during the events described.
I laughed and added loudly, “Stay classy, guys.”
Note that she wrote she was the only one who laughed at her fictitious joke. Even her subconscious knows she isn’t actually funny.
My guess is that as this incident unfolded a conversation similar to the one described took place, and these general themes were covered in that conversation. But Horton’s exaggeration for the sake of making herself seem cool, funny, and intellectually superior seriously begins to discredit everything else she wrote.
Just as I was about to stand up and put on my coat, a young man appeared.
“Excuse me,” he said. His tone of voice was very catty, like something out of the movie “Mean Girls”.
Or like something out of this column…
“You need to leave,” he said. “We don’t want you here.”
“And why is that?” I said.
“You’re being really disrespectful to our traditions. If you want to sit here and trash our fraternity, you’re not welcome at our party.”
Just let her go bro! You don’t want Horton to drop the hammer! Oh shit! She’s droppin’ the hammer!
“Your traditions?” I said. “So raging misogyny is part of your tradition? Encouraging sexual assault is part of your tradition? Saying women are subservient to men is part of your tradition? Wow, it’s amazing there are even women here.”
I’m sorry, was she reading off of cue cards? I call SO much bullshit here. Again, this is so written. This isn’t a transcript, it’s a re-imagining.
The real conversation probably went something like this:
Fraternity Guy: You need to leave. We don’t want you here.
Horton: Why’s that?
Fraternity Guy: Because you’re disrespecting our traditions. You’re not welcome here if you’re gonna trash the fraternity.
Horton: So your guys’ traditions are to be sexist assholes and say women aren’t equal to men? Wow. You guys are lucky girls even come here.
See what happened there? The conversation is fundamentally the same. Horton is still concerned with what she perceived to be the fraternity’s offensive behavior and pissed off at the fraternity guy for confronting her because she was offended. The difference is that what I wrote is how actual people talk, what Horton wrote is a tailored, thought out response.
Could Horton just be that well spoken? Maybe, but I doubt it. Plus that is some quick thinking during what was probably a rapid exchange. Confrontation flusters even the best of us, and since she was at party it is probably safe to assume she had at least a few drinks, though that is not certain. Considering all of that I seriously doubt she ripped off the A+ rebuttal she claims she did.
The idea and execution of this column is starting to remind me of a Seinfeld episode.
I’m sure Horton wishes she said everything she claims she did, but I doubt it. Though if those words were going to come from anyone, it would have to be a person with a face as smug as hers.
Furthermore, the fact that she is exaggerating, or flat out inventing comments, makes me question pretty much everything else that happened, as she described it. Was the chant really that obscene? Or is Horton already not a fan of fraternities, a bit sensitive, and exaggerating the content and meaning of the chant to make her point all the more firm? She certainly has no problem changing her own words, why would she have a problem changing the words of others?
I admit though, it’s not like she has a motive for doing so.
“Umm, sorry I’m not sorry about being a member of a Greek organization. You’re not Greek are you? Yeah, I can tell. Sorry you’re mad you’re not one of us. Sorry we’re better than you.”
“Yes, that’s why I’m mad. That is exactly what this is about. You got it.”
I looked at the fool in front of me and smiled. “You’ve just made a very big mistake, my friend.”
“Umm, actually I really don’t think I have.”
“Oh, you’ll see.”
Oh, wait, there’s the motive, revenge.
And it turns out that the fraternity guy actually did not make a “very big mistake,” since the column never identified him or his house. He completely got away with whatever it is he and his brothers did, which, considering how much bullshit is in this article, could have been anything…or nothing.
Congratulations on your George Costanza moment, Betsey.