Thursday, June 30, 2011

Frat Life 101: The White Rose or Heartbreak Awaiting?

Every year each chapter of Sigma Tau Gamma has an annual formal event called The White Rose where members, alumni, girlfriends/wives and members of our sister organization (Roses of Sig Tau) all get together to revel, make mischief, have fun and well, honestly, get drunk. Or at least that's the way it was done at Zeta Chapter especially back in the 80s. It was a point in my life when I did imbibe from time to time but I was never what you'd call a big drinker. That usually put me in the minority.

During the spring semester of 1984 we started planning the first of three White Roses that I would attend and the older members let us new guys in on a vital piece of information. We had to start looking early for a hotel in Tulsa to host the formal and it would take some time because once we had an event we would end up being banned from that establishment due to our attendees wild, over the top behavior. When you've done that they tend to have long memories and are usually unforgiving. I can look back now and shake my head at some of our behavior and ask myself what were we thinking however I also know that everything in my past has helped to propel me to where I am today. I learned lessons about life and experienced many different things which is what I think college is for, expanding horizons. Of course the person I am today would be extremely annoyed if he were on the same floor with the person I used to be while one of these events was going on. Such is life.

For my first White Rose I somehow gathered up enough courage (a rare event for me in those days) to ask a girl named Leah to accompany me. We knew each other but not very well. I was shocked that she agreed because I felt that she was out of my league so I went all out for this event, including renting a black tuxedo with tails. Basically I spent a lot of money on tickets, tux, room, etc. A few days before the event I saw her and tried to nail down the final details such as if she wanted to drive up to Tulsa with me, where it was and so forth. She told me that an uncle that she wasn't close to had died but that she still planned on coming. She would already be in Tulsa so she would meet me there. Since I was the nice guy I let her know that if she didn't feel up to it she should just call the hotel and let me know and I'd understand. In effect I was giving her an easy out.

Let's just say that after calling the front desk roughly thirty odd times or so in the course of about three hours two things became clear to me. The first was that the clerk was becoming more aggravated with each call and the second was that she wasn't coming without even giving me the courtesy of a call. This must have been the banner year for Zeta Chapter members getting dumped because I recall quite a few whose dates didn't show up. Keith was one of my closer friends and it happened to him as well so we ended up hanging out a lot that night. As for the formal, well let's just say that fun was had, things got broken and we continued the time honored tradition of dancing on the tables for the last song of the night. Which could explain some of the things that got broken. I think there was a fight too. Oh, and we were asked never to come back to that establishment again.

On a side note, a few days later I saw Leah going into a room in my dorm after having snuck up the back stairwell. She said hello to me and acted as if nothing had happened and everything was perfect. I simply turned away and walked into my room. She followed and asked me again and true to form instead of blasting her for what she did I just bottled it up inside and refused to speak with her other than saying that nothing was wrong. This was a fairly normal pattern in my life although at the time I never realized what I was doing to myself. I guess I thought that by avoiding and ignoring things like this I was putting it behind me but in reality it would simmer just below the surface only to escape at various moments for a long time afterwards. As if you couldn't guess, I never had much to say to her for the rest of our time in school.

to be continued............

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