I have a confession to make.
I was in a sorority.
I’m not ashamed, but it’s not something I brag about either. To be clear, there was no hazing at my school. I didn’t have to get up on a table in my underwear and let upperclassmen circle my fat. Instead they bought me teddy bears and candy and sent frat boys to do G-rated strip teases to “Pour Some Sugar on Me.”
Still, by the time I was a senior, my interest in being a sorority girl had waned. Significantly. And when I first graduated I was downright embarrassed by it. That personal tidbit would slip out and people would say “You? Really? You don’t seem the sorority type.” To which I would say thank you, because it was clear from their tone that what they meant was “you don’t seem the bitchy exclusive Mean Girls type.”
Now that I’m far enough removed from college, I kinda think the whole thing was just silly. The memories make me laugh, but you wont find me writing checks to the alumni organizations that seem entirely unable to lose my home address.
Last week a woman my age told me that, in effort to make new friends, she joined the Junior League. Everything I know about the Junior League comes from The Help, in which their portrayal is, let’s just say, less than stellar. However, according to their mission, The Junior League is about “women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.” The new member I was talking to couldn’t stop raving—she’d met tons of people and had a social event every night of the week. It was an adult sorority.
And what about the Red Hat Society? Damon Wayans (yes, that Damon Wayans) has a novel out today, Red Hats, about a woman who joined the “enormous nurturing network of women approaching 50 or beyond, who are joining red-gloved hands and spreading the joy and companionship we find within and among the chapters.”
Even though I was in a sorority then, I can’t imagine joining one now. The Junior League—despite its noble aims—kind of gives me the creeps. Maybe because of The Help, or maybe because the thought of going through anything like rush again makes me want to gouge my eye out. And The Red Hat Society makes me think of someone’s kooky Aunt Sylvia. But they both sound like pretty surefire ways to make friends. Likely the lifelong kind.
What are your thoughts on these types of organizations? Would you ever join one? Do you already belong? Do you have similar reservations, or am I being too judgy?