Occupation: Masters Student
Residence: Claremont, California
Date of Performance/Collection: 5/3/2021
Primary Language: English
AB: “What sort of unusual or special traditions does your frat have?”
RD: “Oh my god, you want the tea. Oh my god I feel embarrassed thinking because they’re just all so dumb. Oh, I have a good one, it’s called—you’re gonna laugh. It’s called “No Crying Bitches on the Stairs”
AB: “So what is this… stairs thing? Is it a chant?”
RD: “It’s a rule. A mantra. We would say it before parties and stuff.”
AB: “Okay, why don’t you tell me how it started”
RD: “Let’s see, I think this is what I was told. There was a girl at one of our house parties, and I think her boyfriend was there and he just broke up with her or something, so she started crying on the stairs. And it was just… chaotic, I guess. It’s like, a small staircase, so people were stuck upstairs and downstairs and like people were all around her trying to cheer her up making it even worse, and somebody even fell off at one point and I think they broke a foot or something. Anyway, I think they got suspended for a while because there were so many people there it was a fire hazard. So ever since then, well, no crying bitches on the stairs!
AB: “Oh I see. So how does it turn up now?”
RD: “Well, we usually like, chant it before we host a party. Somebody asks, “What’s the number one rule!?” and then we shout, “No crying bitches on the stairs!” It really just means nobody on the stairs just hanging out. Like it doesn’t matter if they’re actually crying or a bitch. But it’s basically just the number one rule of party monitoring. So like, whoever is in charge of hosting the party just has to keep an eye on the stairs.
AB: “What does this rule say about your frat?”
RD: “Well, I think it reflects what’s going in frat culture just kinda in general, you know. Like I feel like frats get criticized a lot now for drinking and drug problems, and I know my frat has been suspended a bunch recently for stuff like that. But anyway, now frats are having to like figure out how they can still keep being frats with a fun party identity, and also be safe and responsible. And I think “No crying bitches on the stairs” is like, one way that’s happening. .”
Chants are a well-known aspect of Greek life, and they’re typically easy to remember and fun to repeat or say. In this case, the chant shows how a newer concern for personal safety has entered into familiar and easily transmissible forms of Greek life-culture.