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The Little Things That Let You Know You’re in a Fraternity House

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A fraternity house is one of the most interesting places you can encounter. While each fratcastle is different, ranging in quality from dingy crack house to palatial mansion, there are certain things a person is liable to find no matter where they go. It’s these unique traits that give fraternity houses that special “Lord of the Flies” meets “The Beverly Hillbillies” feel. There are the obvious ones like composites, paddles, stolen sorority memorabilia, and half-eaten plates of baked goods that random slams brought over. But what about the things that subtly remind you that you are in a place with few rules and almost as little accountability as a Penn State coaching staff? Don’t they deserve to be highlighted too? So, like a GDI who has nothing significant to cherish, let’s take a minute to appreciate the little things.

The Broken Flat Screen

In a fraternity house, things break. As surely as something that goes up must come down, something that is bought must be broke (eventually). A normal person would say “this is why we can’t have nice things,” however in a fraternity that common phrase is slightly altered to “fuck it, we’ll get some new nice things.” The flat screen TV is a perfect example of this. It’s expensive but not irreplaceable. What this means is that given the right circumstances, like say catching the 3:00am Sportscenter highlight of your school’s kicker losing you the “Game of the Century,” that TV might fall victim to a barrage of Sperrys and half-full beer cans. Either that or the remote’s batteries died while a drunken brother was flipping channels and he got stuck on Rachel Maddow, causing him to punch the TV to death.

Old Porn

Most fraternity houses have been lived in for decades. When people move out things get lost or left behind. This includes porn. Old porn can be found anywhere. Sometimes it is as simple as a Playboy that has been the house’s third floor toilet reading for over twenty years. Why hasn’t it been thrown out? Because the 1990 “Girls of the SEC” is a classic goddammit! That’s why! And if you get tired of pre-Desert Storm bush there’s always that enthralling Axl Rose interview. Other times the porn is far darker, like a video tape of “Somewhere Under the Rainbow” that the pledges find while cleaning out the bowels of the secluded house storage closet. If said video tape is found, watch it, you won’t be able to look away. The movie is like a porno car accident. And don’t be afraid of the title, it is not gay porn, although I am actually not sure how to classify it. Its genre probably falls somewhere between statutory bestiality and erotic “Willow” fan fiction. There is also always the chance that you might find some Cold War era intimate snapshots of an old house sweetheart. Beware if you’re a legacy though, because it’s probably your mom.

Schizophrenic Bathrooms

What I mean by this is bathrooms that are either third world filthy or hypochondriac levels of clean, and never anything in between. Unfortunately, the bathrooms tend to be more the former than the latter, usually only changing form for things like game day or alumni events. While suffering through these bathrooms on a daily basis does serve as something of a cure-all vaccination, they are still awful. No one knows this better than the pledges who are forced to routinely clean messes that would make the janitor at a Guatemalan prison vomit and cry.

Half-Assed Evacuation Plans

In many college towns, fraternity houses are considered student housing or some other form of general housing. What this basically means is that fraternity houses in these towns/cities have to meet certain safety standards that structures such as dorms or apartment buildings would also have to meet. This includes posting evacuation and safety plans for disasters such as tornadoes, earthquakes, and fires. The task of drawing up an evacuation plan for your fraternity house may be simple, but it is also incredibly useless, and often treated as such. Everyone who lives there knows that if the house goes up in flames they need to get the fuck out, and the brothers definitely know where the exits are. Here’s a hypothetical example I drew up, using MS Paint for realism.

As you can see the escape plan is pretty obvious. Leave your room, go downstairs, and get the fuck out. Women and actives first, naturally. You may also note the simulated vandalism, because as we all know any piece of paper hanging up in a fraternity house is liable to be fucked with. I actually like to imagine that the evacuation plan’s crude additions were meant to be there though. “In case of a fire leave your room and head downstairs. Meanwhile a disembodied penis will be jizzing on the school’s rival mascot in one room while a slam named Sally S. will be having butt sex in another.” At least the Fire Marshall will get a good laugh before he writes you up.

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