It’s not Throwback Thursday, but I’m in a nostalgic frame of mind today. I heard a song we danced to back in the sorority days and had one of those gut-punching visceral memories of dancing to it with my sisters. That’s us at one of our spring formals and me in the front in the lavender dress. Note that my lace fingerless gloves match my stockings. Serious fashion choices, my friends.
People seem to react with surprise when I mention I’m a sorority girl. (Can’t say “was,” because I’m a Gamma Phi forever!) Of course, some of that reaction is no doubt due to the fierceness with which I’ll say so. Because I usually end up mentioning when somebody makes disparaging comments about sorority girls. It’s not unlike some of the things I hear about romance novels and writers, come to think of it. There’s a kind of sweeping dismissal of sororities as frivolous, brainless and, well, worthless. So, when I hear one of these remarks, I’ll usually tell the speaker that I’m one of those bimbos and let it go from there.
This song in particular reminds me of the soror and those days because it was kind of our anthem. Two of the older girls, Annarose and Sara, who were juniors when I was a freshman pledge, took it as their theme song. It spread from there. At dances, when it came on, we would all abandon our dates and dance in a circle together. Sure – we heard criticism for it. The guys would snerk. People would say sometimes that we were known for doing that and it was weird. We didn’t care about any of that. People also said that we had a true sisterhood in our chapter – something mentioned with puzzlement on occasion.
Annarose and Sara were both larger than life to me. I knew Annarose better, because she was our Pledge Trainer, so we met with her weekly. Part of becoming a full member meant attending these meetings to study the sorority history and eventually pass an exam, which included memorizing the names and faces of all 80 active members. To this day I can recite the Greek alphabet, backwards and forwards – a dubious skill, but excellent party trick. Our study sessions extended to coursework, also, and active members came in to mentor us, a much more obviously useful benefit at our highly competitive liberal arts college.
At any rate, Sara and Annarose had been roommates since the random draw of their freshman year. Sara had a habit of saying “Annarhose,” with an aspirated French accent, which naturally shortened to Hose over time. Hose was hysterical. Boisterous, caring, smart as a whip, she quickly became one of my favorite people. Sara was her polar opposite – quiet, reserved, even icy. With very white skin, pale blonde hair and a thin, ascetic frame, she seemed an unlikely match for Hose. By this you might understand that Hose was, as they euphemistically say, a big girl. It wasn’t something I much understood at the time because I thought these things wouldn’t matter in college. We were about degrees and careers, not who looked cute enough to make the cheerleading squad.
I learned better, over time, as you can imagine.
Also, as I’m sure you can imagine, people said mean things about Hose and Sara. Speculated about their relationship – also something I never thought about at the time. I just knew that they loved to dance to the Go-Go’s Our Lips Our Sealed. And we danced with them, all of us, because we were sisters. When we were together, it truly didn’t matter what people said. We could forget their lies.
I’ll always be grateful I had that.