Not a joiner
This Jez article got me thinking about sororities, fraternities, and orgs back in college. Prior to entering UP, I heard warnings of all sorts from people: Keep your head down and the sororities won’t pick on you. Don’t just sit on any bench you see because it might have been claimed by a sorority and they’ll come after you. Even without that advice, I keep my head down most of the time anyway, and wasn’t really bothered by those warnings. The thought of frats gave me the chills, however, ever since I heard of the death of a Scintilla Juris pledge in the early 1990s. I believe that was the time when hazings* really made the headlines, enough to prompt an MMK-esque show (I wish I remember the actual name of the show) to feature a story of a girl who joined a sorority and ended up in the hospital. I still remember the girl screaming, “Mahal ko ang Theta Alpha!” while being paddled.
Overall, however, I encountered no unpleasantness from frats and sororities in my four years in UP, save for a brewing fight between Sigma Rho and APB at the AS Walk which was immediately broken up before it began. The sorority girls I had for classmates were generally amiable, and the most violence I heard about was from a blockmate who trudged into Nat. Sci. looking pained, claiming he just got paddled as part of his initiation into a frat. I did remember being bothered when a friend told me that a particular frat knows me and where I park my car and all, but then again, the people in that frat are known to make it their business to know what everyone else is doing. Fratmen held no appeal for me either, save for a Lonsi boy** whose hair looked so magnificently soft and his skin so glowing and smooth; we were in several classes together.
So no, I didn’t join sororities, nor was I ever asked to. I did try joining the Filipino-Japanese org in school, which I first heard about when I was in high school and thought would suit me. My interest was dashed when I tried complying with one of the requirements for the applicants, which is to greet older members with “senpai”–the girl I greeted glared at me and asked, “Tinuruan ba kayo ng tamang pagbati?” “Oo.” “Ayusin mo yan.” In my head, I responded with, “Fuq dat” and never went back.
Ultimately, I ended up joining a small, new org in my last year in college, a move that was brought about by their enthusiasm for Rent, the musical. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have joined at all. While I discovered a lot of great reading material through those people, it also made me realize that it was actually possible to feel like a misfit among a bunch of other misfits.
* I actually had an argument with an online friend who said that such stories probably aren’t true at all.
** One afternoon after Latin American history class, I immediately stepped out and waited for him to emerge, planning to inquire about his relationship status and whether he would be interested in going out. He emerged minutes later, accompanied by a few other guy classmates. I lost my nerve, and lost it forever. Found out a year after I graduated that his family’s fantastically wealthy. I am so glad I ended up not having any connection with him in any way because I would not have been able to run with those horses.