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Mailbag: Worries About Alcoholism, Refining Your Taste

This is a recurring TFM series. Catch up with all installments of Mailbag by visiting the archive.

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tfm mailbag

Welcome to the TFM Mailbag, wherein I will answer your questions to the best of my ability. Send your questions to wescp4441@gmail.com. No topics are off limits.

Hey Wes,

This fall I’ll be a sophomore in college, and am thinking about rushing. I go to a public university with a solid Greek population and a reputation for going hard. The frat parties I went to last year were pretty great, I vibed with the guys at a few houses, and was told I should rush next year.

It would be cool, but the only thing holding me back is a little family history of alcoholism.
I did great my freshman year: passed all my classes, only puked a few times, and never got sent to detox. However I want to get through college without becoming a raging alcoholic, and am wondering if that can be swung while spending the next 3 or 4 years in a fraternity.

Specifically,

If I talk with brothers about mandatory consumption, during rush or otherwise, will I get a real answer? Getting fucked up is fun, but I just like having the choice to stop when I know 10 is okay but 12 is going to be a problem.

Are there fraternities out there that would respect this kind of attitude? I know during rush it’s different, but would there be a place for someone like me in this situation? Greek life seems pretty nice, but I don’t know if I’m a good fit for it.

Thanks dude,

Billy

You’ll have to stand up for yourself during the rush process. It’s okay to ask a fraternity member if you’ll be forced to consume anything during the pledge process, and any insincere or joking answer should be a red flag. You’re going to be paying these people money and spending a lot of time with them, and ideally they’re not the kind of guys who would film a panorama shot of all their pledges puking into a trough after a mandatory single-elimination Edward Fortyhands tournament.

Now, onto the issue of your family history. If you truly think you’ll be able to control yourself, then go ahead and rush. However, you’ll need to clue some people you trust in on your increased risk of alcoholism. These people can be in or out of the fraternity, and they’ll be tasked with identifying concerning changes in your behavior. If they see you skipping too many classes or having three glasses of whiskey with dinner, their job is to call you out on your shit and get you back on the right track. If Greek life ends up proving to be too much of a bad influence on you, then at least you gave it a go. Good luck out there.

Yo,

I’ve been working at a country club this summer, and lots of the guests are loaded and will throw me fat tips when I bring them their food. I’m walking out of there with a hundred bucks just in tips some days. I’ll usually pick up a case of beer if my fraternity throws a party, but I’ve been sticking with the same old crappy light beers over and over. I’m trying to upgrade my beer game now that I’ve got some money in my pocket, but I’m not sure where to start. Any help would be appreciated.

You need to be purchasing large quantities of Mexican beers. They’re refreshing as hell and they come in all shapes, sizes, flavors, and prices. One day you could be walking out of the store with a 24-pack of seven-ounce Coronitas, and the next you could be adding spicy salt to a Tecate or sipping on an Estrella Jalisco. I’ve only been buying Mexican beers all summer, and it’s been amazing. If you hate Mexico on account of them eliminating your team from the World Cup, then I’d just go with Heineken, Yuengling (if possible), or Fat Tire. Try out some local breweries and see if some of their stuff is available in nearby stores.

Since you’ve got some extra money lying around, you should think about dipping into the cocktail game. You don’t have to be making crazy concoctions or anything, but it’s worth learning how to prepare a good old fashioned, whiskey sour, or something even simpler like a vodka soda. It’s really easy to learn how to make those drinks, and women will be impressed with you handing them something a little more refined than a cup of trash can punch.

Remember to send any and all questions you have to wescp4441@gmail.com.

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WJ Cope

He's the real reason people say "No one likes you when you're 23."

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