Is This Your First Time?
Greek life at Indiana University is the pinnacle of what it means to party. Officially, this is a dry campus so the University mission statement reads a bit different than what actually goes on. On any weekend night you can go to a fraternity and find endless amounts of cheap beer in “ice baths” that are really just jumbo trash cans filled with ice. It’s where Co-eds drink until they can drink no more in an effort to unwind from the stresses of classes and exams. The smell of stale beer from the party the night before permeates the air as blaring dance tracks provide the soundtrack to the ultimate party atmosphere. Breathe it in. This is Greek life.
I decided to join a fraternity my sophomore year of college because my best friend from high school and freshman roommate joined his first semester on campus, and he really seemed to love it. To be honest, I didn’t even know what a fraternity life was all about. All I knew was what I saw on TV and in movies. A bunch of white guys drinking, partying, yelling “PLEDGE!” followed by some ridiculous demand of said person. “PLEDGE! PUT THIS BLINDFOLD ON AND CHUG THIS BEER OUT OF YOUR LEFT SHOE!” That never really appealed to me. For one, shoes are not cheap. Why ruin your new Air Force Ones just because an array of assholes wants to be entertained? No thank you. Also, I didn’t drink. This is a rarity in Greek culture but I had a good reason. An Uncle of mine was killed in a horrendous drunk driving accident and I made a promise to my Aunt that I wouldn’t drink until I was of legal age. A promise I didn’t make lightheartedly. Joining a frat would have seemed to only complicate keeping such a promise.
Despite all of that, Greek life still had me curious. After all, my friend made things sound great “Come to a party this weekend. Check out the house. Meet some of the guys. No pressure to drink. If you don’t like it, just leave,”. Cool, I thought. I mean I am in college. Maybe I should break up my weekends of playing Madden and watching Family Guy reruns and interact with other human beings. “You know what, count me in.” I told my friend.
The night of the party, my friend sends a pledge to come pick me up from my dorm. This was before the days of UBER when getting in a stranger’s car was actually kind of odd. I felt like a VIP when my phone rang, “Hello, umm, this is Dan, I’m downstairs and here to take you to the party.” “Hell yea Dan. Let’s do this.” As I walked to his car, I felt nervous. What if I’m not strong enough to avoid the peer pressure I thought. What if they hold me down and force feed me alcohol. What if I can’t dance and everyone laughs and points and says, “Look! A black guy that can’t dance! What a freaaak!” I’d have to change my name and transfer to another school. Looking back, all of these nerves were unwarranted. I’m a marvelous not to mention versatile dancer. I grew up on “Total Request Live” on MTV and for some reason had an infatuation with everything disco. I could pull off moves from “You Got Served” and “Saturday Night Fever”. As long as I got to the dance floor, I was going to be fine.
Dan was gleeful. What Hollywood had me expecting from pledges was some poor kid taking a break from scrubbing toilets and doing calisthenics to drive assholes like me around. But Dan was enthusiastic and greeted me with an almost ridiculous amount of glee. “Hey man, the party is already awesome. You’ll have a blast.” he ensured me. I was excited but still a bit nervous. I didn’t really know what to expect. As we pulled up to the back door of the house, there was a line of about 15 people waiting to get in. I could feel the bass from the music inside the car. “I love this song,” I told Dan. It was Tipsy by J-Kwon. If you don’t know who J-Kwon is, you’re not wrong. If as a rapper, the most popular line you ever wrote is “EVERYBODY IN DA CLUB GETTIN’ TIPSY!” you’re probably not going to have too much staying power.
“Wow. Well this is legit” I thought. As I got out of the car, my friend was waiting for me and motioned me up to the door. “Hey guys, this is Dwight, he’s with me.” He informed security. “This is awesome man.” I told him. We walked up a flight of stairs onto the second floor and that’s when I got my first taste of Greek life. There was a narrow hallway filled with about 25 people holding red solo cups and trying to talk over the music. In the hallway there were 6 rooms that were filled with about 30 people each. My friend told me that these were “Party rooms”. Each room had a bar, faux bartenders and booze flowing freely. I’ll paraphrase what a wise man once said; Everybody WAS getting tipsy. Except for me of course. We went into the party room called the Tiki Room because my friend wanted to introduce me to some people. Now seems like a good time to bring up, that out of about 200 people I saw in this house, I was one of only like 4 black people. And listen, I’m used to this. I’m from Carmel, Indiana. A town so white that they could have named it Vanilla and it would have been more accurate. When I graduated in 2005, Carmel High School was 97% white. So this wasn’t my first white rodeo. While being a minority of this magnitude has several disadvantages (that’s a different short story), I wouldn’t be telling the whole story if I didn’t admit to its advantages. For one, when you spot another black person in a sea full of white people, there’s this unexplainable relief and excitement that manifests itself into a head nod and eventually a shake-up and hug. It’s sort of a non-verbal way of saying, “this shit is crazy right? If anything goes down, I’ve got yo back my brotha!” Once I started talking to people the nervousness left. I immediately made myself at home by jumping into the middle of a dance circle. Something about that made me feel at home. I was having a blast. My friend would introduce me to someone and they would offer me a drink. “He doesn’t drink,” my friend would say. “Really? That’s cool?” most people would say back. Not the response I thought I’d get. I honestly thought I’d be laughed back onto the street with a “What kind of lame asshole doesn’t drink?” But no. I was surprised by the amount of “I respect that man!” type responses I was receiving. It felt like I didn’t have to hide or pretend. “I’m Dwight, I’m black, I don’t drink, and I’m having a great time. And people are okay with that.”
Whilst in the midst of a dance battle with one of the other black people, a girl came up, made eye contact and started to dance close to me. “Oh you want some of this?” I said jokingly. She laughed. “I love this song, and it’s hard to find good dancers.” I remember vividly. The song was “Buttons” by the Pussycat Dolls. If you don’t remember who the Pussycat Dolls are, once again you aren’t wrong. Buttons was basically a song about how she wants a guy to come help her undress (loosen up my buttons) but he won’t! Like she’s begging him to loosen up her buttons and he just can’t bring himself to do it! YOU KNOW! PROBLEMS REAL WOMEN FACE!? The Tiki Room was small so it was a great excuse to get close to someone when it was packed. “What’s your name?” I leaned in and asked. She told me. “This song is great to dance to but the lyrics are kind of ridiculous. What guy has to be begged to help a woman undress?” She laughed off the comment. “Do you know Tom?” she asked.. “No. This is my first time here so I don’t know many people.” I said. “Oh! I don’t go to school here. I’m here visiting a friend and her boyfriend Tom is a brother.” “Cool!” I said. She took my hands and placed them low on her hips. I didn’t resist. “It’s so hot,” she said. “Want me to get you something to drink?” I asked. “Oh, I don’t drink! I’m a dancer so I just love to dance.” “REALLY! I DON’T DRINK EITHER!” I was so excited and surprised my voice almost cracked. “I thought I was the only one!” She laughed. We continued to dance and with each song we got a little bit closer and more handsy. The eye contact deepened. I thought to myself, “this is escalating fast.” But I didn’t care. She was hot and I felt a connection. I mean we had so much in common. For one, neither of us drank. Two, we both liked to dance. Three...well I feel like two things in common is plenty. I wanted to kiss her. In high school, I had kissed a girl on the dance floor of a homecoming dance, and that’s as far as I’d gone with the opposite sex. There was the one time where a girl stayed the night in my bed, and we made out fully clothed…but that’s about it. Suffice to say, my only expertise came in the way of a clothes on make out session. I grabbed her hips a little tighter and pulled her close. As I went in for the kiss, she turned her head and whispered in my ear, “Not here.”
“Oh shit,” I thought to myself. What does that mean? Not here…think of a response quick Dwight. “I know a place.” I uttered. Not the smoothest but the feeling of just getting rejected made me panic. My roommate Tony was home for the weekend so I knew I had a dorm room complete with bunk bed all to myself. Julie looked at me and smiled, “Let me grab my bag and text my friend.” I looked back to my friend who had been watching the whole time and said, “I gotta go.” “Hell yea you do.” He yell-said over the loud music. He had been partaking in the free flowing boozery and it showed. Instead of saying goodbye, he just said, “HOT!”. For some reason, I am still friends with this man.
A different pledge took Julie and I back to my dorm. This pledge wasn’t gleeful or cheery. You could tell he had a long night and was tired of driving drunkards back and forth. When we got to my place(dorm), I realized that I had no fucking clue what to do next. I mean this is what I’ve spent years obsessing about. But how to get started? “This is a cool room.” Julie said. “Oh shit. She’s making small talk. Oh shit.” Suddenly my “entertain a room full of white people” and “dance floor make out” confidence was reduced to that of a scared adolescent owering in the fetal position. What to do. What to do. Ahh, of course Dwight! Music! “Let me turn on some music I said.” “It better be good” she replied. “Oh shit. What if she doesn’t like my Baby Makin Music list?” That’s right guys. I had a baby making music list. I did tell you I spent years obsessing over this specific situation right? What’s embarrassing is that I had spent time planning a time like this out. I’d bring her back, put on the baby making music, light up the fireplace(which we didn’t even have) and proceed to do the deed. But now I was in an actual game and I was nervous again. I pulled up iTunes and hit shuffle on the BBM playlist. “Grind with me” by Pretty Ricky came on. If you don’t know who Pretty Ricky is…you get the point by now. She began to dance. “You have the hips of an angel,” I said. Yes. I, a sober person, told a woman that she had the hips of an angel. WHAT. THE. FUCK. DOES. THAT. EVEN. MEAN? I had never wanted to take back a compliment so quickly. She smiled and said “you’re too sweet.” It was now or never. I walked over to her, grabbed her by the waist and kissed her. The first kiss was long and passionate. It was followed by shorter more intense kissing. She interrupted and said, “Loosen up my buttons.” OH SHIT.
Clothes began coming off at a furious rate. I’m not even sure how this is possible but I got my jeans off without even undoing them. Luckily for me, she took off her own bra. The women reading this may not know, that the #1 fear of the male virgin is the fear of removing a women’s bra. You could be fumbling around back there for hours with all those clips and clasps. You’d totally be exposed. The nervousness and excitement I felt in that moment was palpable. It had to be impossible for me not to be putting off that vibe to her. I did what most men do in that situation and pretended that I knew what I was doing. I laid her down on our Target DIY futon. That futon was a college move-in special and I had envisioned using it for a moment just like this. “Do you have a condom?” She asked, now completely naked. I actually had an unopened 12 pack from the previous year. “Of course,” I said, still pretending to be a professional. I opened the box and removed a condom from it. What happened next could only be described as an adolescent baboon attempting to learn shapes for the first time. As I opened the condom wrapper, the condom flopped out of the package and onto the floor. “Whoops.” I said aloud, quickly reaching back into the drawer for another. Luckily, I was able to open the second one without incident. Unluckily, I put it on backwards, and was unable to even put the damn thing on all the way. “Don’t worry I have plenty,” I said still sober. By this time, I couldn’t even hear what song was playing. Only the chanting of my manhood chanting, “VIRGIN! VIRGIN! VIRGIN!” hollywood fraternity style. Third time's a charm. I open the package successfully, put on the condom successfully and walk over to Julie successfully. It’s time. “Is this your first time?” She asked with the confidence of a black man dancing in a room full of white people. “Of course not!” I said lying through my damn teeth. “You think a virgin would have Pretty Ricky on his Baby Makin Music list? Psssh. Get outta here!”
I was happy that it wasn’t her first time. She was definitely the Alpha in that situation. She guided me through and told me exactly what she wanted. I was really turned on by that type of empowerment. After we finished, I offered her a pair of basketball shorts to spend the night in. “I should probably go.” She said. Confused and a little hurt I asked, “Why? It’s late, you don’t have to leave.” “Well...things are complicated. You see. I like you. But I have a boyfriend back home.” “Wait, what?” “I mean, we are going to break up....I’m going to break up with him soon. I’m not happy. He never puts me first. I haven’t been able to see him because all of his time is dedicated to football.” “He’s a football player?” “Yes. He plays for Northwestern.” “He’s a Division One football player?” “I think you should probably go.”
When she left, I went through all of the emotions. Even though I was now fearful for my life, I was excited and felt accomplished. What a weird thing.
The next day when my friend asked me how it went I told him the whole story. “I’m only 165 pounds. I’m legit terrified that some jacked football player is going to show up at my dorm room like, “Are you the guy that fucked my girl to Pretty Ricky songs?” and kill me. And I’ll have no choice but to yell, “SORRY IT WAS MY FIRST TIME!”