I was a frat boy. Some of you may be too. Some of you may live next door to them and have to see their genitals when they relieve their bladders of Keystone Lite on your lawn. Some of you may date them and wonder why they like to put their arms around other men and sing songs like it's the wrap party for the cast of "Hairspray," or why they yell chants full of 1920's nonsense like "Rah Rah Bon Ton!" or "Roo Rah Ree!" when rappers like Mike Jones have provided perfectly contemporary nonsense to chant instead. What's going on their brains that makes them act this way? A long and arduous psychological process. Here are the five stages of the frat boy mind.
Stage One: "This is gay."
A guy has just come up to you at a party during your Freshman orientation and talked to you the way guys talk to girls when they hit on them. He's also trying to get you drunk, which also doesn't make sense, because you aren't a girl. What's wrong with him? He wants you to go to a "rush" party. You wonder if he means that Canadian band with the mullets in that poster your pothead uncle had over his waterbed. It turns out to be something much worse : a party where that guys' friends will try to get you to sleep full time in their house, oh, and do stuff for them. Four more keg stands later (sometimes with that rush party guy holding your legs with a big smile on his face, cheering you on to get even drunker even though you"'re still not a girl) you stagger back to the dorm and forget that you gave him your number.
Stage Two: "This is the greatest decision I've ever made in my entire life!"
The rush party turned out to not be gay at all! Or rather, it was gay, but its gayness was offset by the fact that you got laid! An equally confused female counterpart to yourself decided to comfort her own insecurities about starting college life by having a mindless hook up with you! For some reason you associate this event with the fraternity!. Now it's clear: Hang out with these guys and this kind of thing will happen all the time! It's like you joined Motley Crue, but without having to learn how to play music or go on grueling tours or do heroin! Hanging out with the ambiguously gay rush party guy is so small a price to pay for the secret to eternal groupies! "Roo Rah Ree!"
Stage Three: "Some of these motherfuckers are gonna have to die!"
When you saw Old School, pledging looked like so much fun. Now you suddenly remember that you were laughing at the pledges in old school, not with them, and that they had rocks tied to their balls. Guess what? So do you! And an ex-fat kid with a Napolean complex is shouting at you to eat an onion like an apple! Ha Ha Ha! Once this shit is over, he's gonna get to eat a gun barrell! Hey, rush party guy, how come you didn't mention the part where my pants are off and a closet case paddles me while telling me I don't know the true meaning of brotherhood?
Stage Four "This is the greatest decision I've ever made in my entire life!"
After some amateurish brainwashing that would make a Scientologist laugh, you have miraculously forgotten how much you hate these people. When they told you were a brother after making you think you had failed, you even cried actual tears, which you haven't done since "Saving Private Ryan." And guess, what, the hazing had a purpose, just like the Marines' hazing does! Of course, Marines have to go to war and the most dangerous thing you'll be doing is throwing an empty keg through a window, but who cares, you're a brother! And guess what, it's not just drinking! You get to wear wizard robes and share a secret handshake. You have a vague philosophy that sounds like it might be the meaning of life if you've had a bong hit and a tall margarita. Your fraternity had impressive sounding dudes in it like Nathaniel Mayflower III and John Waylon Winchell or some shit, and you already forgot what they did. There was even some president dude! There's rich dudes who might want to hire you cause they had to eat an onion too! What this all has to do with living in a shithole that smells like Keystone and ass and waking up with hangovers is unclear, but who cares, that chick you hooked up with at the rush party is now in a sorority and she's bringing over more drunk freshman girls! "Rah Rah Bon Ton!"
Stage Five: "This is gay"
When the beers wear off you remember something. Except for two actual friends you manage to make, you don't have anything in common with these people. Also, wouldn't it be cool if your house didn't smell and thirty guys didn"'t try out their Ultimate Fighting moves every night at four in the morning? And the girl you"'re dating now is 21 and likes to see bands instead of stand around a keg while men hold each other upside down. And when they told the new kids to eat the onion, you got mad and punched the ex-fat kid in the face for being a Nazi faggot. You weren't sure what this meant, but after the bong hit and tall margarita, it summed him up perfectly. Besides, your Freshman roomate plays soccer and their parties are better anyway. You get your two friends together and find an apartment, sign a lease, and never go back except when you're broke and have no beer.
If you have not hit stage Five by your first semester of Junior year, you are either
A) Gay, and need to re-evaluate your life, starting with a five day trip to Miami in which you burst out of the closet like the Incredible Hulk,
B) A wounded ex-nerd who cruelly hazes people to calm his inner demons, at which point its best to voluntarily place yourself on an FBI watch list to prepare them for your future crimes, or
C) Destined to work for the national fraternity organization your entire life, and can look forward to spending your 20's traversing the U.S. in a Hyundai, writing reprimands to teenagers for wearing their wizard robes wrong.