The fraternity house mother, in my eyes, has always been an interesting concept. It’s like someone decided, “Hey, let’s take a house full of a couple dozen loud, obnoxious, drunk bastards and put a random old woman in charge of all of them. Yeah, stick her in her own room, but subject her to their filthy, beer stained home and their crude, sexist humor. That’ll keep them in line, and is a wonderful way for a respectable woman to spend her golden years.”
I am here to tell you that a house mom, though a fraternity house institution, can be as much a liability as she can be an asset. I speak from experience. My dealings with my house mom was a roller coaster of emotion. And by that, I mean I fucking hated her. I don’t want to reveal her identity, but for the sake of this article, we’ll call her “Betty.” If you’re reading this, Betty, then fuck you.
You might understand that your relationship with your house mother through the years changes and matures as you do. This is the evolution of my relationship with my house mother, Betty.
I moved straight into the fraternity freshman year, so I was immediately subjected to Betty. Some background information: Betty was maybe 4’ 10”. Maybe. She was fucking tiny. She probably weighed 80 pounds too. Just a petite, old, racist woman. Oh also, she was ancient. I think she was like 84. At first I thought Betty was a fucking saint. I didn’t think that because she had done anything remarkable, but because at our first lineup, one of our pledgemaster’s rules was “Betty is a fucking saint, so treat her as such.” When you’re being hazed in your first week of college by a fat drunk senior you remember that shit. Hazing works. So we treated Betty well. We got embarrassed when Betty heard us curse, uncomfortable when she saw us walk our shackers out, and upset when we felt we had let Betty down. Conversation with Betty was usually short and succinct, since we were terrified of disappointing her. We were so naïve.
Betty really grew into her unpleasantness early sophomore year. Because of Betty’s age, she was hard of hearing. Due of this, and the fact that I’m an asshole, I liked to mess with her. I tended to inexplicably quote Anchorman when I talked to her, just to confuse her. Or I would start a conversation with her and repeat everything that she said. Sometimes I would mumble complete gibberish to her when she tried to talk to me. These things usually occurred at the height of Bonusland, but she still deserved it. Betty was very confrontational, which made her an easy target. She’d call out girls during their walks of shame. That often made it difficult for us to convince girls to shack again, because they feared more stern, nun-like reprimands. And believe me, trying to convince the girls that Betty was just a ghost didn’t work.
Betty would also blame our black cook for anything that went wrong in the house and condescendingly call him “boy.” Yes, Betty, the one person who wasn’t belligerent, funneling whiskey, and shotgunning Four Loko is surely responsible for the broken and missing property. She would accuse us of hosting booze-fueled parties in our parking lot in the dead of winter. Those claims inspired our boner alumni to send an angry letter to our parents, announcing that we had parties where “the vodka flowed like water.” But I digress, because truthfully, Betty was not the source of all our problems. Regardless, she was a horrible, racist, careless, heartless woman, so we treated her accordingly. Somehow we’re still the assholes, but I know and accept this.
After I moved out of the fraternity, I saw Betty less and less, but I don’t think she ever totally understood I had moved out. Did I mention she was ancient? My typical conversation with Betty during my junior year went something like this:
Betty: Hi Nathaniel.
Me: Hi Betty…
Betty: How are classes? I haven’t seen you for a while.
Me: They’re fine. You know I moved out, right?
Betty: You did? Oh, right, what year are you again?
Me: I’m a junior. We’ve had this conversation.
Betty: Yes of course. Well I hope you’re not still causing trouble.
Me: I never cause trouble, Betty. I’m an angel.
Betty: (eyes narrowing) You’re up to no good.
Me: When in Rome…
(*Betty stares at me, confused. I moonwalk slowly away to add to the confusion.*)
She never really caught on, and the Anchorman bit never really got old. Then there was the infamous snow day where classes were cancelled for three days. Everyone was shitfaced by noon on day one, and about half the house came to the kitchen for lunch. Imagine 50 guys, plus 30ish random girls hammered and anticipating a hot meal on a snowy day. There was chanting and wrestling and for a couple minutes a dance party in the corner. Whoever brought the speakers in was a Goddamn genius. As you can imagine, Betty was mortified. She broke up the game of football immediately. Apparently tackle football and frat house dining rooms don’t mix well in her mind. I was bordering on blacking out already, and decided that it wasn’t right that she had confiscated the pigskin. Naturally I took matters into my own hands and snuck it away from Betty, which infuriated her and led to a small chase scene around the house. She could be heard cussing me out under her breath for the remainder of the afternoon.
I understand that boys will be boys, and that being a house mom has to suck. Yes, I do have empathy for our Grey Lady Ghost-esque house mom. It can’t be a fun job, being the bad guy and ruining fun all the time, but she signed up for it and, still, was an exceptionally miserable human being, even keeping in mind that it wasn’t necessarily her job to be a nice person. At some point senior year, you grow up and realize how tough a job that must be. Betty had it tough, and I realize that. All that aside, we fired her and she flipped out before making a loud and dramatic exit. The last I heard, she was a house mom in Arizona but was fired shortly after getting the job. I don’t give a shit where she is, but I’m guessing hell at this point, or maybe Arizona still, same difference.
For those of you who were expecting a nice, mature resolution to this progression, go fuck yourselves. I’m 22, I can still get away with being an asshole. If I could do it all over again, I’d fuck with her twice as hard.