Last week, former Dartmouth College fraternity member Andrew Lohse released his purported tell-all memoir of his time in Greek life, charmingly titled “Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy.”
Lohse had previously chronicled the hazing he experienced as a pledge and later a brother of Dartmouth’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter, both in student newspaper The Dartmouth and a Rolling Stone feature on him and the school.
As he tells it, he was forced to do a wide range of disturbing activities, including swimming in a kiddie pool filled with vomit and other undesirable substances.
While reviews for the book have not been strong, and Lohse himself has been criticised as an unreliable narrator, “Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy” still offers a rarely seen look into modern fraternity culture.
Here are 10 of the most ridiculous claims Lohse makes about his Greek membership:
1. Dartmouth fraternity members pride themselves on how quickly they can chug six beers
As Lohse explains, a “quick six” in Dartmouth parlance is the act of “chugging six cups of beer in rapid succession, a feat intended to be performed in thirty seconds tops.” However, Lohse writes, “respect was only accorded to those who would do it in under fifteen.”
2. The “quick six” was often modified to be used as a punishment when a pledge messed up
Lohse writes that when one of his fellow pledges lost his “pledge book,” the SAE brothers forced him to complete a “quick ten,” drinking 10 cups that ranged from stale beer to straight vinegar.
For many of the pledges who had just expected their classmate to drink beer and water, this was a wake up call that pledging was not going to be as easy as they thought it would be. Lohse writes that the pledge who had been forced to drink the vinegar told him later that night that he had “booted blood.”
3. SAE brothers only referred to pledges as “whalesh*t”
Throughout the book, Lohse writes that SAE pledges were always called “whalesh*t” by brothers in the house. At one point, the pledges are being yelled at by one brother, who says, “You are not brothers. You are whalesh*t. And what does whalesh*t do?”
“Whalesh*t sinks to the bottom of the ocean,” the pledges answered collectively.
Additionally, Lohse writes, pledges were told to answer brothers’ questions by raising a “flipper” using their elbows.
4. SAE pledges recieved points for vomiting on each other while chugging milk
One night, SAE pledges were gathered in the basement where they were usually forced to consume massive quantities of beer, but instead were presented with gallons of milk, one for each pledge, Lohse writes. As the brothers explained to them, each pledge had 20 minutes to finish their gallon — an impossible task without vomiting — and would also receive points for each time they vomited on another pledge.
Lohse writes that one brother told them, “We’ll also be playing a little game called Revolutionary War. Quite frankly, the game is self-explanatory. Five pledges line up facing five other pledges. When I yell ‘Fire!’ one line of soldiers boots on the other.”
5. Pledges were not allowed to make themselves vomit during hazing
Even though they were consuming particularly rancid foods and substances, pledges were not allowed to “pull their own trigger” to make themselves vomit, Lohse writes. Rather, according to Lohse, they were told that “you must ask a pledge brother to stick his fingers down your throat if you want to puke.”
Lohse reminisces about bonding with another Dartmouth student when they were both pledging SAE, noting that “pulling the trigger” for him was likely the shaky foundation for their friendship. “All that came to mind was pulling his trigger once at pledge meetings the fall before and feeling his dinner — sashimi, of all things — slide viciously over my fingers into a trash can that reeked of piss,” Lohse writes.
6. Both pledges and brothers participated in a unique Dartmouth drinking tradition known as “doming”
One of the first traditions pledges learned at SAE was “doming,” a drinking game where students would chug beer until they vomit, according to Lohse. The person who vomited first, the SAE pledges were told, would be considered the loser, and sometimes would then get vomited on by the winner.
7. Pledges had to swim in a kiddie pool filled with unknown substances
One of the most disgusting revelations from Lohse’s original column in The Dartmouth was about a kiddie pool “full of vomit, urine, faecal matter, semen and rotten food products,” which pledges were made to swim in while they recieved their pledge nicknames — a practice he later contributed to as a brother. In his book, Lohse expands on his experiences in the kiddie pool, calling it a “fratty baptism.”
“Of course, we didn’t know then and could never prove its contents as pledges … we just knew the scent, the feeling of the mixture sticking to our skins, and knew that disobeying was probably pointless,” Lohse writes.
8. The pledge who had the “grimmest hookup” each week had to carry around a giant catfish stuffed animal
Lohse describes a house tradition where every week a pledge with the “grimmest hookup story” would be forced to carry around a giant catfish stuffed animal — even to their classes.
When Lohse was given the catfish one week, a professor called him out at the end of lecture to find out why exactly he had the giant stuffed animal with him. Lohse writes that he responded to his professor as the SAE brothers had told him to — “The catfish is a slut, the catfish will sleep with anyone, would you like to sleep with the catfish?”
9. SAE pledges were forced to eat a “vomelette”
Another notorious revelation from Lohse’s original hazing revelations was the “vomelette,” a loosely described vomit-based concoction that a few pledges were made to eat.
Lohse adds more detail to the vomelette incident in his book, revealing that two of his fellow pledges had to consume it after one person vomited into a pan and a brother “cracked eggs over it and added cheese and cooked it.”
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