Tag Archives: fraternity

“Rage Cage” – Drinking Game

Informant: I learned Rage Cage from [older sorority sister], actually! Yeah, she taught it to me at [fraternity]. We were over there one night, and she was like, “[informant], why aren’t you drunk yet? You gotta get on my level!” So she got some of the guys in a circle around the table—the beer pong table—and put a bunch of red cups in the middle of the table, and we filled them all with a little bit of beer. And then she took two empty cups and uh, gave them to two of the guys. And they each had one ping pong ball, and they had to bounce the ping pong balls into their cup. And when the guy on the left of the other guy got his in, he’d pass the cup and the ball clockwise. If the guy on the right got his ball into the cup before the other guy, he got to stack his cup in the other guy’s cup, and then he’d pass the stacked cups to the next person in the circle. The guy who lost—who didn’t get his ball in and got another cup stacked in his—has to drink one of the cups of beer in the middle of the table. Then he can use that empty cup and try to bounce the ping pong ball into that. He passes the cup clockwise when he gets it in.

Me: So you just keep passing the cups clockwise in the circle?

Informant: Yeah. Well, unless someone gets the ball into the “chasing” cup—the cup that isn’t stacked—on their first try. Then they can pass it to whoever they want.

Me: Is there, like, someone you want to pass to in particular?

Informant: You want to pass it to the person to the right of whoever has the stacked cups. It’s easier to get them, then.

Me: How does the game end?

Informant: When all the cups are stacked. But [older sorority sister] plays it so, like, the last person to lose—to get a cup stacked in theirs—has to chug a whole drink.

The informant is a student at the University of Southern California. She is a member of a sorority, and was born and raised in Chicago, IL.

The informant told me she has played Rage Cage at numerous fraternity parties since learning it during her sophomore year at USC. The game is usually played in mixed-gender groups of five or more players (up to as many as can fit around the table, although a group larger than twelve may have trouble keeping the attention of players stuck on the opposite side of the circle from the action) and takes place at fraternity houses or otherwise private location where those who are not yet of the legal drinking age can participate.

This drinking game is typically played early in the evening as a way for men and women to loosen up around one another. Since fraternity party culture at USC revolves around partygoers being intoxicated, Rage Cage is often used as a comfortable and fun way for participants to ease into drinking for the night. The competitive “stacking” element of the game also allows for participants to gang up on certain members of the group who they believe should drink more.

Pint Night

As far as traditions stuff goes, for the frat (preferred anonymity), every winter… I think the first Saturday night after classes, we do Pint Night, which is like our version of Secret Santa. And you get assigned them and you get them a pint of alcohol…but actually it’s a half-pint. So like 5 or 6 shots.

And you can be nice to them and you request what you want so you could be nice and get them what they want.

But the tradition is if you say “fireball”, that’s the bitch move. So then your person is definitely not going to get you that. Freshman year, I didn’t know that, so I put it and then I got gin.

And then this year I put soko, but I guess they misinterpreted and thought that was a bitch move, and they gave me scotch.

So what happens… an alum, dressed as Santa, comes and picks 2 people, you got 2 at a time, he calls you up and you have to race the person you’re against. 3, 2, 1, start drinking and then when you’re done you slam the bottle in the trash can right after.

And the matchups are not random, someone picks who you’re racing against. The best one was our president at the time was against the hind tit of our pledge class.

What is the hind tit?

Oh, hind tit is the worst pledge. So they’re initiated last. Actually the worst pledge is second to last, the hind tit is more like a joke in their pledge class. Like one kid shit himself while the pledge master was carrying him home, so that kid became the hind tit.

But like President vs Vice President and stuff like that is a good matchup. And you tally who wins for each family. So the families are named by different colors. So this year my family, pink family, and my pledge class both won. It’s all just bragging rights. Everyone forgets about it in like a week.

How did you learn this tradition?

Well you kind of just get thrown into it your first time. If you’re a fall pledge, it’s your very first semester in it. And then spring pledges, not til the end of the next fall.

How long have you been doing it?

Long before I got here. Uh, for probably since our refounding or close to that. Everyone gets really fucked up. I think I peed myself that night.

Wow. I’m definitely putting that in the archives.

Just put “anonymous fraternity at USC”.

 

 

Jiggle on the Washing Machine

“Apparently at Kappa, to haze you, they take all of the pledges [new sorority members] and sit them on top of running washing machines. Then they bring in some guys from different frats on the row and give them markers. It’s so fucked! They get these frat stars drunk and make them circle all of the parts of the pledges’ bodies that jiggle with the markers they give them.”

This account depends entirely on hearsay, making it all the more interesting. As the informant is a member of a rivaling sorority, it is possible that the story was invented slanderously. However, this particular hazing practice corroborates that image of Kappa Kappa Gamma, as an aggressively looks-oriented sorority, that seems to pervade USC. As with most hazing practices, this ritual promotes unhealthy body image, but reaffirms the dominance of older member of the sorority over the new members. Such practices are allegedly “team-building” and “character building,” at which I roll my eyes.

SigEp Gold Shorts and Vest

Every pledge class president of Sigma Phi Epsilon must wear gold shorts and an American flag vest during their live-in week of their pledge semester. Live-in week is the last week of pledging where you essentially live in the house and become everyone’s bitch for a week. You stay in the house on the floor with your whole pledge class, and you only leave to go to class.”

The informant was unclear as to whether or not this hazing ritual was a national tradition. However, he was certain that it was the case at USC, given that he was forced to do it, as pledge class president.

Pinning

Just the other day one of my best friends had “pinned” his girlfriend of three years and so I sat him down to talk about the act of pinning and what it meant to him.  He is a student at USC and a senior.

Me: Please explain, “pinning” to me.

Informant: It’s a tradition at USC and I think all across the nation in Greek life but not sure about that.  It’s really just a way for me to express my love and appreciation for [name] as we get close to graduation.

Me: Right, but what actually happens during the ceremony?

Informant: The girls do a whole bunch of ritual shit on their side that I don’t know about, but the guys all get dressed up in suits and each take a rose to the girl getting pinned.  Also the couple involved both have two of their best friends give speeches that are usually funny.  After that the guy gives his fraternity pin to the girl, which is suppose to signify him giving up his dedication to the fraternity and giving it to her. Then the girls do some of their sorority songs and whatever and everyone goes to the 90.

Me: Does this happen often?

Informant: Not at all I have only seen three in my fraternity since I have been here.

Me: So this is a big event that everyone shows up to?

Informant: Ya pretty much, its during Monday Night Dinner, which is the most popular meal of the week so most of the house shows up.

Me: How many people would you say?

Informant: I’d say like 60 people from each house.

This long-standing custom between couples on the Row shows how strong the brotherhood and sisterhood becomes throughout the years.  I found it amazing that so many people would show up to support this “pinning” when they probably aren’t even that close to the couple.   This custom also shows the importance placed on the guy’s allegiance to his fraternity, because it seems to be an equal trade for the allegiance to his girlfriend.

Senior Schlaugen

This informant is a member of a USC fraternity and I asked him to share some of their traditions or stories he might have.  Among others, here is a year-end senior tradition he shared with me. It’s called Senior Schlaugen and here is our dialogue.

Me: Tell about this Senior Schlaugen, and what does the name mean?

Informant: Haha, I have no idea where the name came from but since the game is all about drinking and –schlaugen sounds German, maybe that’s why?  Anyways it’s a tradition the seniors do every year, where we try to drink as much as possible for the last month of school.  So for this year it goes from April 15th to Graduation on May 15th.  Basically we form teams of three and you get points every night someone on your team goes out, also there are weekly team challenges, like finish a 30 rack in a library.  Its really fucking with me right now, I have been out six nights in a row, I gotta fuckin win.

Me: Is there a prize?

Informant: Uh, ya winning team gets little gimmick trophies, but its more about the pride.

Me: So this competition means a lot to you?

Informant: Well ya, nothing I do in school now is gonna change what I do post grad as long as I don’t fail any classes.  Couldn’t really give less of a shit about my classes right now.

Me: Well, you’re about a week in do you think you’ll burn out before graduation?  Any surprises after just a week?

Informant: Haha, no way ill burn out I fuckin live for this.  But ya even though this game is all about getting fucked up and partying, it really does serve a purpose that I am just now realizing.

Me: What’s that?

Informant: Well its just brought me closer to all the guys that I may or may not ever see again, and really forced us to make the best out of the last month.  You get extra points if your whole team drinks together in one night so we are all always in the same place.

For starters, this tradition at the informant’s fraternity is a blaring example of the drinking culture at USC, and the Greek community more specifically.  However, although it seemed completely centered around partying on the surface, what my informant said at the end really shed light on why the tradition has stayed around for years.  The game brought all the seniors closer, students who may never see each other again and definitely will never all in the same room again.  Some people say fraternities are all about partying, but by looking further into their traditions, you can see the important role brotherhood plays as well.

She Wants the D

I asked my informant to provide a tradition or saying and he gave this:

“Okay, there are… certain sayings amongst articulate men that go along the lines of: “She wants the D.” What this “she wants the D” means is basically if she does something, which is arbitrary, I mean, you could put anything, then she wants the D.”

The informant revealed that he hears most of the “she wants the D” variations he knows in his fraternity. He also indicated the use of such vernacular is most common among the Greek System. However, given that I gathered this piece of folklore from my informant while he was working out at the gym, associations between working out and masculinity may have influenced his decision to narrate this particular piece of folklore, and to embellish its masculine elements.

Sorority and Fraternity Pinning

My informant shared with me how her sorority celebrates one of its members getting pinned by her senior boyfriend in a fraternity. First, the fraternity shares with the president of the sorority that a member of their fraternity is intended to pin a sister in the house. When a date for the pinning is set, the sorority informs the house that a sister is getting pinned, but the girls do not get to know who. Any girl in the sorority who has a senior boyfriend is asked to come to the ceremony wearing a red dress and to send the president the names of her two closest friends in the sorority. Then, on the day of the pinning, all members of the sorority are required to wear black dresses except for the girls who are eligible to be pinned. These girls will be in red. The girls in black gather in the sorority house with the lights dimmed and stand in a huge circle. A ritual song is sung while the girls in red join the circle and stand in-between their two closest friends. A candle is passed to the right, starting from the ritual chairwoman, around to every girl in the circle once. On its second time around, after it passes the girl wearing red who is getting pinned, her best friend standing to her right will make to pass it to the next girl, but then actually pass it back to the sister getting pinned. The two closest friends then blow the candle out together. That signifies that it’s that girl, and this is when she first finds out she is getting pinned. After the candle is passed around, all the sisters line up outside of the house where the fraternity and the sister’s boyfriend are waiting. The boyfriend and his best friend as well as the girlfriend and her two closest friends stay standing on the porch so everyone can see them. The sorority president introduces everyone and officially announces that the sister is getting pinned. All of the close friends give toasts to congratulate the couple and the boyfriend talks about his relationship with his girlfriend. Then the fraternity presents him with his pin and he pins it on his girlfriend.

 

These ceremonies are very fun and exciting for both the fraternity and the sorority as pinning is comparable to a pre-engagement promise. The fraternity brother is giving up his active pin and is essentially reduced to pledge status within the house. It’s a little bit old fashioned, but the girls appreciate this public acknowledgement of their relationship. My informant was just involved in a pinning ceremony at her sorority at the University of Southern California, as her best friend was recently pinned.

Pledge Fraternity Paddle

The informant describes the importance of the paddle during pledge’s semester pledging and the time beyond that semester.  The informant explains he learned of this tradition immediately after getting accepted into the fraternity.  He has close ties with this tradition because he has many memories of getting signatures for his paddle and feels as though it was his way of being fully accepted into the fraternity.

At the beginning of the pledge semester, all of the pledges need to get a paddle and put their name on it.  The paddle is typically made out of wood and has the fraternity’s letters on it.  The paddle also has the pledge class year and semester and the pledge’s last name.  And over the course of the semester you’re supposed to earn paddle sigs or paddle signatures from all the actives in the house.  The signatures are put on in black sharpie on all different sides of the paddle.  Older members of the house are allowed to sign signatures on the front of the paddle, while younger members may not.  The paddle gives you an opportunity to get to know the active members of the house and the active members of the house to know you. A paddle signature is an active’s acknowledgement of wanting and accepting the pledge into the house.  This tradition has been a part of his chapter since the beginning.  Getting paddle signatures involves hanging out and getting to know the active better. The paddle signatures are your way of earning your spot in the house – it is a sign of approval. The point of the paddle is that by the end of the semester you have every actives signature and this indicates everyone saying they want you in the house and it allows everyone to get to know you better.

I find role of the paddle for the incoming pledge class to be a great example of a folk object that represents the liminal period the pledges of the fraternity find themselves in.  The pledges have received bids from the fraternity indicating that the active members have interest in them and want them to become full members. The paddle acts as a form of their growth and transition into a full member.  The paddle, as stated by the informant, serves the role to spur interactions between active and pledge members and acceptance from active to pledges.

“Raiders” Fraternal Song

The informant speaks about a certain song his fraternity sings with everyone after brotherhood events such as bid night.  The informant learned this tradition a few weeks after joining his fraternity.  He explains that the fraternity uses this song as a means for celebrating as well and often uses the song after events that warrant a worthy celebration.  The fraternity brothers either run out to the middle of the street or to their backyard and circle up and perform the song.  The singing of the song is described as being very loud and rowdy, but in a good-spirited way.  Below are the lyrics of the song.  See below:

OOOOOOHHHHHHHH!

We’re (insert fraternity) raiders of the night,

A bunch of rowdy bastards that rather fuck than fight,

So fuck ‘em, fuck ‘em, fuck ‘em, who the fuck are we?

We’re (insert fraternity) the best fraternity.

(insert fraternity) once, (insert fraternity) twice, holy jumping Jesus Christ,

God damn, son of a bitch, rah rah fuck!

Yeah hell yeah!

The informant describes the purpose of this song as a chance for the brothers of the fraternity to all come together and feel the fraternal bond.  I find this song intriguing because it a classic example of how a certain group of people use traditions such as music to strengthen their connection with one another.  A commonly shared song can serve to build just a much stronger bond than does paying the dues for the house to be an active member.