The Life Cycle of a Frat Bro

1.FratBoyPhoto by Adham Elsharkawi

Twice a year, large groups of unaffiliated young men are welcomed with open arms into the campus fraternity houses. The girl to guy ratio is nonexistent. Beer is not involved. They don’t even have to pay five dollars. What is this madness? Boys rush.

Once inside a frat house, the brothers and the “Potential New Members” are given a chance to really get to know one another. Each PNM will offer an innovative explanation for his undeclared major, appear interested when one of the brother’s great-uncle’s first wife lives near his hometown, and enthusiastically discuss his mediocre high school sports career. At the end of the process, if the majority of a fraternity agrees that a PNM is not a total boner, he will get a bid.

In honor of fall rush taking place last week, I’d like to congratulate all the gentlemen who found a new home on campus. As a young fraterpillar, your metamorphosis is just beginning. With that, I give you: the life cycle of a frat boy.

Phase One: New Member

You’re a pledge. Welcome to the New Member Period! This is pledging. The head honchos of Greek life don’t like the P-words, but they could’ve come up with positive alternatives that weren’t so boring. Like, “You ‘angels’ can’t tell anyone what we do in ‘Heaven’.” Doesn’t that sound loving and fun? Or maybe it makes me afraid to die. I don’t know.

Regardless of what your new brethren refer to you as, pledging is different for every frat. But don’t worry; there are strict anti-hazing policies on campus. During this phase of your transformation, there’s actually a lot to look forward to. Weight loss is almost guaranteed. New brothers care about your health and will help you avoid the dreaded ‘freshman 15.’ Your GPA will probably take a hit. Balancing new friendships and homework is hard at first, but it will teach you great time management skills. You’re also not going to sleep very much. Who has time for shut-eye when you’re having this much fun?

Phase Two: Neophyte

Ne·o·phyte, noun. A person who is new to a subject, skill, and/or belief.

New subject: freshmen females. New skill: shotgunning beer. New belief: nothing in moderation. Congrats little neo, you’ve been initiated. Breaking out of your pledge cocoon opens up a whole new world. You’re new to the scene, so you’re a hot commodity. Remember your only girlfriends on campus, those butterfaces who live two doors down? You’re gonna ditch them. You’re in a frat. There are hot girls who want to sit with you in the dining hall now. You’ll forge a flirty friendship with the cutest one, casually add her on Snapchat, and then M.O. at your next party with her sorority. But don’t accidentally hangout or text her soberly. Recall the wise words of brilliant philosopher Asher Roth: “Yeah I like you, but not enough to wife you.” During this phase, your chill to pull ratio is at its peak.

Phase Three: Brother

There’s that one guy in every dive bar who nobody fucks with. He’s a steely old dude with a lit cigar hanging out of his mouth (the “No Smoking” sign right behind him), the bartender pours his drink before he even sits down, and everyone in the place nods at him with recognition. You know that type of guy? No, you don’t fucking know that guy cause you can barely get into Chuck’s. But you have seen his character in enough movies to know what I mean.

If Greek life were a bar, you'd be that guy. You’ve chugged enough Natty Light to appreciate sipping a Bud heavy. You’ve banged enough chicks to tolerate cuddling with your girlfriend (who tolerates you getting fat). You might even skip a party on occasion to catch up on some sleep. That last one was a joke—you may not be a freshman, but you’re not terminal.

This final phase typically lasts around two years. The first year as a true brother is still spent living like you did during the neophyte phase. During the second year, you’re an experienced senior preparing for that thing called “The Real World”—which is apparently nothing like MTV made it out to be. Still, at no point do you turn down. Fire up that loud, another round of shots.

There you have it, boys. Fratting ain’t easy, but someone’s got to do it. Oh yeah, and for the person who wants to say something about how I’m perpetuating negative stereotypes of Greek life—I literally just looked up “sense of humor” on Amazon and there are several books for sale to help you get one. Why did I write about boys getting dad bods instead of how much money they raised #ForTheKids? For the same reason people listen to vulgar gangster rap instead of uplifting gospel hymns: some things are offensively entertaining and some things put Grandma to sleep.