Tag Archives: chants

Frat Party Guidelines

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.

Informant’s interpretation:

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. .”

Personal interpretation:

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.

Pre-show theater traditions

My informant describes himself as a “theater kid” in high school. He told me the rituals he and the other cast members go through before every show they perform. He said that the male and female members of the cast start out separately, and that they have slightly different traditions. This is his description:

“I obviously don’t know all that much about what the girls do before a show, because it’s kept secret. I do know they listen to… What is that 90s song? Oh, it’s ‘If You Wanna Be My Lover’ by the Spice Girls. And they listen to that and dance around, and I don’t really know what else they do. But the boys… There is a knife that has been kept up in the suspended ceiling of the boys dressing room for several years know, and we use the same knife to cut up lemons every show. And then we listen to Bohemian Rhapsody, and jump around and are crazy, and everyone eats a slice of lemon and throws it in the urinal. I don’t know who started the lemon tradition, but I know that the senior class that was there when I was a freshman… it had already been there for a few years when they were freshmen. So that’s about ten years now. So after the lemon eating, they do a stupid chant. It’s really sexist and terrible, so I don’t think I should repeat it. I actually didn’t participate in it for awhile because I was like, ‘This is stupid.’ And then the girls came up with their own rival chant, so now I participate because sexism is fine as long as it’s an eye for an eye? Right? No. Whatever, anyway… We yell this chant in the dressing room, and because the girls and boys dressing rooms are right next to each other, we like, will have battles between the girls and the guys to see who can be louder, which is usually the guys. And then everyone gets together and we get in a circle, and we pass a pulse around by squeezing each others’ hands in a circle. And we do a big a chant together which is not sexist and is just weird, which is, ‘Everybody, have fun tonight! Everybody, wang chung tonight! And in the honor of Kristin Wendel, let’s kick some ass!’ Kristin Wendel went to my high school several years ago. She was a very quiet girl who yelled, ‘Let’s kick some ass tonight!’ before her last show of her senior year. Anyway, another thing we do is, if you haven’t yet performed in our auditorium, we make you kiss the stage. It’s very low-key hazing, basically.”

This is a tradition that initially creates purposeful rivalry, but it ultimately ends by unifying the students. The chants the cast members yell divides them by gender, and they compete against each other to see who is louder. Furthermore, the nature of the chants is apparently quite sexist. Despite these divisive aspects, my informant says these traditions bring the cast together. They also pump up their energy and get them all excited to perform. They convert all their nervous anxiety into positive exhilaration. Another function of these customs is to remember and pay homage to those who came before them, such as Kristen Wendel. The fact that they repeat these same rituals before every show means that they keep the customs that had been in place for years alive. In this way, they are connecting their past to their present. By teaching these things to younger members of the cast, they also ensure that they are building connections to the future. Each student likely hopes to leave some kind of legacy, and for a few of them, a part of that will be the new variations they make on the pre-show rituals.