This appeared originally in The University of Florida paper, The Odyssey.
WHAT TO ASK BEFORE 'WHAT FRATERNITY ARE YOU IN?'
It is a Friday night and you just made eye contact with an obvious fraternity guy across the bar. Your drink is running low so it is a good time to strike up a conversation. Plus, you have a date function coming up, or are maybe even on the prowl for something more serious.
It can be tempting at this point to ask about his letters, but, let’s face it—“what fraternity are you in?” is a useless question. All it really tells you are year-old stereotypes to go off of and that maybe he knows that one kid who lived on your floor freshman year. If you really want to get to know a guy, or at least determine if he is a viable formal option, try these instead:
1. “Do you have a girlfriend?”- Because really, if his answer to this is “yes,” then none of the other questions matter, and we all know that simply assuming the answer to this one does not end well.
2. “Have you ever been to prison?”- Again, practical yet vital, and this question is a win-win. Either he says “no”, which is good news, or he says “yes” and you get to hear an interesting, albeit potentially horrifying, story.
3. “Team Jennifer of Team Angelina?”- I would like to think that they are not people in this world that would answer “Angelina,” but the world is a messed up place so this a good preliminary question. If he answers incorrectly, resist the urge to throw your drink on him and simply walk away.
4. “How tall are your parents?”- You can never plan too far in advance. How disappointing would it be to meet this guy, realize he is great, and then find out there is no hope for a future because of simple genetics? It just would not be fair to your future children.
5. “Which Harry Potter is your favorite?”- This one reveals more than you might think. For instance, perhaps he prefers the humor of Chamber of Secrets to the drama of Prisoner of Azkaban. Regardless, having no answer to this one tells you all you really need to know.
6. “Who do you identify most with on the Jersey Shore?”- Any answer to this is the wrong answer.
7. “Do you have any pets?”- Honestly, it is not that relevant, but then again, neither is his Greek affiliation.