Wings, wrestling and worldly women: On the beat with Rush Patrol

September 27, 1999
Mid-campus Quad
9 p.m.

Fraternity rush. This was the assignment I’d anticipated for a long time – crazy freshmen bouncing off the walls and lots of free food. I watched both Austin Powers movies to get my mojo working and did plenty of yoga to loosen up for some off-the-wall frat-boy fun.

A little after 9 p.m., Scooter, my tour guide for the night, appeared as I imagined he would – fashionably late and sporting his Delta Tau Delta letters. After some introductions, a Hatchet photographer and I set out with Scooter and his fellow boy in blue on Rush Patrol.

The plan: watch as they pop in on every fraternity rush event to make sure everything is kosher. They told us they were looking for “overt” signs of rule infractions. (translation: beer.) The investigation, as it later turned out, involved the boys scanning the rush event crowds and pulling fraternity presidents aside to ask, “Is everything cool?” In the end, it wasn’t quite as scientific a search as Geraldo Rivera would have conducted.

First stop: the Mid-Campus Quad with Lambda Chi Alpha. There seemed to be plenty of food, but I wasn’t sure how much I trusted these widely grinning frat boys to cook my burger. I found myself becoming nervous as members of the fraternity smiled at me and exceeded the boundaries of normal kindness to a complete stranger. What the heck were they grinning about?

Sigma Nu was the next stop on our rush adventure. After getting over the surreal feeling of seeing my buddy Jake sip on a root beer instead of the real thing, I schmoozed with some brothers and found out that there are more rushees this year than previous ones, though that was hard to gather from their Monday night football game. It drew all of four rushees, but I decided to take their word for it. My hopes for some crazy Animal House-esque fun continued to dwindle as we passed through another hallway of grinning brothers, a sight that would become eerily familiar before night’s end.

The next stop on our tour, the Delta Tau Delta house, gave us reason to be optimistic. Freshman rushees filled the front porch and a few other timid newcomers were inside hiding from the Hooters girls. Did I say Hooters girls? Why I believe I did. Though I had to search the basement to find the two waitresses, wearing their traditional orange high-cut shorts and breast-enhancing tank-tops, they were there as promised. One of the girls said she and her fellow waitress were returning to serve the fraternity free of charge this year after last year’s paid engagement turned out to be “so much fun.”

All momentum gained from the Delt house was quickly lost at Phi Sigma Kappa. Seriously, a football game doesn’t compare to real-life Hooters girls, now does it? The house was a reasonably happening spot – about 20 guys attended – but the kids didn’t have too much to say. One brother blamed the low turnout on excessive Monday homework.

Walking up to the Kappa Sigma house, my curiosity was piqued as I noticed a mass of people on the lawn. There weren’t any women in sight, but I figured there must be for such a turnout of rushees. The group of about 30 guys was drawn to the Monday night wrestling event. They even seemed to be having a good time, despite the lack of estrogen in the room.

Next stop on the Rush Patrol tour was Tau Kappa Epsilon. This place ended up being more lively than any of our other stops along frat row. I’m talking music, a little bit of dancing, male bonding and a wing-a-thon out back. Brother Jason Blank faced off with freshman rushees over who could down the most wings. I was tempted to cut the tour and hang here for the rest of the night. However, Hatchet duty called, and Scooter was getting antsy to leave.

Alpha Epsilon Pi’s rush event at Friday’s would be our final destination for the night. As we walked up to the event, I became suspicious this was actually a formal dinner party, complete with designer clothes and northern accents. The event did remain true to the one thing that linked all the houses together that night – smiling frat boys eager to please and shake your hand. By the end of the night, I was feeling warm and fuzzy inside, but a bit paranoid.

Tour guide Scooter explained frats want to “sell, sell, sell” during rush, which they did, but that didn’t quite help my mojo.

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