I poo poo sororities. For the most part.
I was in one. I loved it, in the beginning. But, when my first major crush told me, “You know, sororities are just cults,” I played the victim.
“My mother made me do it.”
She had good reason. She, my father, and I showed up for Freshman Orientation at a college three hours from home. We walked the vast campus, in a land unknown. While standing outside an assembly hall–my face in shock and my mother’s face in worry–another mother took mine by the arm and mentioned “Greek” and “RUSH” and insisted “it’s the best thing for your daughter.”
My mother looked at me and likely envisioned my 98 pound self wandering down campus sidewalks and in and out of empty hallways, aimless and alone. She turned back to the woman and thanked her. During the last precious weeks of the summer, she helped me gather photos and fill out applications and put together a week’s worth of RUSH outfits.
She wanted to make sure someone took me in. And, one sorority did. With open arms, a lot of screams, a few tears, and a t-shirt.
A year and a half later, in front of my crush, I feigned indifference.
“Anyway, I think I’ve outgrown it. They have too many rules. And, formal dinners. And, I already know how to use a fork.” I sat up straight, pushed my permed hair behind my ear, and tried to look like a woman.
That was nineteen years ago. I’m over all that sorority business now.
But, when I an invitation popped into my inbox the other day, nostalgia got the best of me. Funny how I never asked them to remove me from their email list.
The invite said Red Dress Gala. Wow. Three course meal. Ooooo. Dancing and mingling. With sisters.
I clicked the chapter’s home page and groups of girls hugging and smiling flashed before me – photos from last year’s party, welcome week, a football game. I saw my face reflected in the pictures. For a few seconds, I considered flying down for the Gala.
My sorority past is like the time I found myself inducted into the Lion’s Club. I didn’t quite fit in, someone sort of made me do it, and I roll my eyes and smirk when I talk about it. Yet, I read that invitation with butterflies in my stomach.
I dislike the sorority’s popularity contest called RUSH, the teachable moments during formal dinners, and the sappy songs (I’ll keep the secret handshake, thank you very much, it’s so FBI-ish). But, what I long for is the wooing, the invitation to be a part of a collective–the female cohort.