The attire called for business professional so imagine my surprise when I walked up in a smart navy dress and black blazer only to find a sea of girls in homecoming style dresses bearing it all. Along with the cleavage show came a strong downpour of rain which would ironically foreshadow what came next. The girls made a canopy of coach umbrellas to safeguard their hair and waited for their Rho Gammas to break the news.
When it was my turn, my Rho Gamma congratulated me on being invited back to the final party of the sorority I was most suited for. I took my card and strode away confidently. As some girls squealed in delight, others silently shed tears as their group leader did their best to comfort them. That’s the thing about sororities: they’re elite societies of women who pick and choose new members based on their own subjective judge of the hopeful applicant’s character and appearance.
Try as they might, not everyone gets in. It doesn’t matter if you have the highest GPA, a history of mission trips and service organizations under your belt or the most money in your back account. Recruitment is like speed dating; both parties have to like each other enough to form a long lasting relationship. You dress up, put on a string of pearls, spritz some Chanel #5 and give it your all. They want to know where you’re from, what your hobbies are, the plans you have for the future as they mentally rate your qualifications.
Let me give you the low down on the different categories of chapter houses. On one side are the traditional, not a hair out of place girls who push indecency under the rug. Let’s call them the Charlotte Yorks of the world. Across the street, you’ve got the polar opposite. These girls lounge around in their PJ’s eating ice cream and don’t mind getting a little dirt under their finger nails. These are the girls whose parents named them Alexandra and Kathryn only so they would shorten it to Alex or Kat. Next door to them are the ultra-feminist girls who believe in leadership and academic excellence or the Hilary Clintons. Catty-cornered to them live the southern belle sisters who know how to kick up their heels and have a good time. These are the Daisy Mae Dixons. Whichever sisterhood they joined, they did so to befriend girls with a similar mind set as their own.
The intention is not to make people feel subservient, but this is the nature of sorority life. You either sell your soul for a monogrammed tote bag or you end up watching from the sidelines. Many sisters will tell you that they are not the “typical sorority girl”, that they are different and that they do not fall into the stereotypical Elle Woods category, but if the lavaliere fits honey – wear it with pride. No I’m totally joking.
This article is not meant to disparage sorority members in any way. In fact, there were many young women who I met throughout recruitment that I have the utmost respect for. My Rho Gamma in particular was a gem. When I decided to decline going any further in the recruitment process, my first thought was – I hope I don’t let her down because she is someone that I have grown to look up to over the past few days. Many of the girls I met were extraordinarily passionate about their philanthropies and encouraging me to find a service project I was equally enthused with. I truly think the world of them for that. Others offered me advice on teachers and classes as well as surprised the hell out of me with the difficult majors they chose for themselves. They took the time to spend a couple of hours being my mentor and temporary “Big Sis”. I would really like to continue to build a friendship with these girls despite my non-Greek status. I am happy to say that I have no regrets about rushing and that it truly was a positive experience.
So as the baby Hilarys, Charlottes, Sporty Spices, and Daisies run out to greet their jubilant new sisters in their crisply pressed white dresses, I hope they remember that a few letters of the alphabet do not define them, that they are no better than their peers and that true sisters are selfless.