Yes, it’s true. I had once reached the pinnacle of the sorority ladder. I had a metal badge with my name etched in bold letters and below, the title, ‘PRESIDENT.’ I was graced with the handicap room on the first floor of the house, the only room on the first floor, and the place where I would spend the rest of the year terrified that an angry member or frat daddy would throw a brick through my easily-accessible window. Those of you who know me would undoubtedly agree that I was either so cut out to be in this role or ridiculously misplaced by some scary chance of fate. It’s true, I never set out destined for this…mostly because my outgoing disposition often meant not being the coolest of the pack, embarrassing myself often, and refusing to comply with silly things called politics…which, in sorority terms, can also be referred to as ‘life.’
Whatever the case, the year 2007 brought me 365 days (starting on my 21st birthday, ironically) of being the most adult-like that I have ever been and will ever be in the future. It is also no coincidence that this ‘upset’ of a victory for myself happened to bring about the most tumultuous year that the chapter had ever known on campus, lest they burned worse records before my tenure. And an upset it was. I was more or less unfazed by the thought of competition, mean girls, or anything of that nature when I slid my application under the door of the current president that November of 2006. I had had a calling- I felt that I could revolutionize, that I could make better, that I could help lead a group of women who’s badges would scream ‘I’m approachable, I’m kind, I’m honest, and I rock.’ Besides, I didn’t think I would be elected. The election process was a dark and unknown thing to me…somewhere that I figured the best of the politics stayed. I turned my application in at midnight on the day it was due.
You can imagine my surprise when seeing my name, much like a theater-audition scene, on the doors to the chapter room. And, true to the Hollywood interpretations, there were girls with mouths gaped, some crying and quickly scuffling away, and some congratulating me and the rest of the group. And this was the start. What came next is too long to include in one entry, but this platform is necessary for understanding the revolution that occurred in my life.
So today, when I know another bid-day has past for the chapter, I reflected on my previous recruitment memories. To give the ‘outsiders’ a clue, they usually revolved around record-breaking decibels, women micromanaging women and assessing each other’s ‘real’ talent in the fields of dance, sociability, acting, and dressing oneself, and practicing that lasted until the wee hours of the morning with the expectation that you would, alas, look equally fabulous the next day.
Here are some of my personal highlights:
- Reviewing/discussing hair, highlights, nails, piercings, tatoos, deodorant, perfums, teeth whitening, and…..the dreaded mustache. Instead of being so formal, I would usually just proclaim that everyone ‘wax their ‘stash” if needed.
- Being removed from the front door. The sole and primary obligation of every president is to stand by the front door and welcome all 600 incoming freshman recruits one by one into your house until your cheeks refuse to cooperate in a smile. Apparently my moo-moo-inspired outfit didn’t pass the test for some of the other women, who casually suggested a ‘new’ location for me to stand in. Talk about awkward.
- The lingerie dance: Yes, I felt that the mood stunk sometimes when we were all trapped inside the house for days on end in the same room, doing the same skits, and having the same conversations with one-another. I whipped out the black feathered-thing that was the result of a prank from a few years back and turned on Justin Timberlake….no explanations necessary. Trust me, seeing your leader next-to-nude does wonders to break up the tension.
- Finding the ‘ranked listing’ from my class’s year: This is both how I found out and validated that I really wasn’t originally a valuable asset to the chapter. Since I was in charge, I now had access to shocking files..including that there were three different groups of 50 women, ranked in order of the chapter’s preference to extend a bid to. This might not make much sense..but basically I was second from last on the third and final picks of the girls who made it in. That’s right…out of 150 women left to choose, I was almost dead-last! Look at me now…
- And finally, the USB key I found that was left outside of my door late one evening during my last recruitment.
Now, I apologize in advance if the owner of this USB key ever stumbles across this entry. Shield yourself…or, rather, I should have shielded myself. I threw the disk behind a picture frame on my desk and didn’t think anything of it for almost three months. One day, I was in great need of a USB so I could transport an essay I had written to my class. When I scoured my drawers and was out of luck, I remembered the little guy hiding behind my picture frame. Without hesitation, I plugged it in. A prompter came up asking me if I wanted to download the documents already on the device or ‘view as slideshow.’ I preferred the second option, thinking the least I could do was determine who’s this was and return it after I selfishly borrowed it.
The slideshow that followed started with family photo’s of a girl (who will forever remain nameless) and her grandparents, then pictures with her whole family and, I assume, boyfriend. A few concert pictures come up and I’m continuing to watch the show from the dim lights in my room. WHABAM. To my complete shock, and something I thought was a prank at the time, a picture of the male genitalia pops up on my screen. The following pictures were undoubtedly of the acts that had made this particular photo possible. More graphic than one could ever imagine with action air-shots. Why didn’t I just take out the USB? Of course I did! I slammed my computer shut, called my best friend hysterically bawling and screaming things she couldn’t understand, and took the whole machine to her.
What do we do? Do I give this back to her? No, she’ll know I looked through the photos…Do I put it outside her room anonymously? Surely having this thing back in her possession would be better than all the sleepless nights she must have had once she realized it was initially lost? The ending conclusion was that I should trash and destroy it, so I left and carried it in my purse…thinking of the best way to rid the evidence. Unfortunately, I lost the dumb thing. So now, I have not helped to solve the problem, but made it (possibly) infinitely worse for this individual.
So I decided we should all learn a very valuable lesson: do not put private pictures on portable devices…where could you go that is worth the risk of exposing yourself…or your loved ones?!