Greek Speak: Formal Stress

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It’s finals week and snowing here in the Midwest; what a lovely combination. I can’t think of a better way to take a study break than to snuggle up by the fireplace with a few pledge sisters and talk about our upcoming winter formal… the reason why I return to school second semester every year… the highlight of January!

Who am I kidding? Faking it is not something I’m great at so I won’t even try.

Winter break is days away and that means literally only one thing for a sorority girl (OK, besides presents): winter freaking formal. It’s what every sorority girl looks forward to, right? What she spends her winter break thinking about and shopping for. The sorority event. The night that every potential new member dreams about and counts down to. The stuff sorority life is made of.

I guess.
I’m not going to candy-coat it: I kind of hate this time of year, and since we’re supposed to be getting in the spirit of the Christmas, I guess you could call me the Grinch of Holiday Formals. Ugh.

It seems like every year I am riding the struggle bus to find a date to these things… and for what? To buy a $100 dress that I will wear for 3 hours tops, ruin as I spill a drink on it in the midst of avoiding awkward conversation with my blind date, and make wonderful memories that I will only remember thanks to my camera? Chaos.

But that’s not even the worst, most stressful part of all. That award goes to the semi-forced conversation between you and the house social chair.

“Sooo, have you found a date yet?” She asks, half excited to hear your answer and half excited to hear of your failure.
“Ohhh, no, I just can’t choose. So many options!” This is sorority girl in distress code for, “I haven’t asked anyone because I have ZERO prospects.” If you’re lucky, your guy friend from orientation (for whom you have NO romantic inklings, just a mutual love of drinking and dancing) will go with you. If you’re not so lucky, an older sister in the house sets you up with “the cutest guy ever!” and you spend your night forcing conversation while the rest of your house gets it on in dark corners around the venue. I’ve been there (see exact scenario above), and it will never happen again. Which means I still need to find someone to go with. Sigh.

And then there’s always the sorority girlss unrealistic expectations about their dates. Unless he has been your diehard boyfriend for plus or minus a year, don’t expect to be impressed. A formal is just another excuse for a guy to drink, like any other night of the year, only this time he’s wearing a tie. Sure, every so often a guy will come along and sweep you off your feet, but 9 times out of 10, that does not involve some grand romantic gesture but rather some drunken dance moves that land you both on your asses on the dance floor. These guys are not Prince Charming; they’re frat boys! And no he’s not (cringe) “the one.” I’m disappointed if you even pondered that thought.

So, what? Formals are a waste of time and money? We should all skip them, save the $100 and bottle of vodka we were gonna smuggle on the bus and just stay home? Hell to the no.

Yes, formal season can be stressful but it can also be a great time, the best night of the year, the kind of night that sorority life is made of. You just gotta know what to expect and roll with the punches (even if those punches may or may not include rubbing your date’s back while he pukes over the side of a river boat. Don’t ask.). My suggestions: take a friend to these formals and have fun. Don’t worry about impressing some guy you barely know (or have never previously met….) Make memories with your sisters because those memories are the ones you will want to replay in 10 years… not a sloppy make out with what’s-his-face. Then, when the night is over, post the pics on Facebook immediately so you can re-live the glory with the girls over (a very late and very hungover) breakfast the next morning afternoon.

What is the scene like at YOUR sorority before a formal? Have YOU taken a blind date to a date-function?

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