Parenting: 8 ways that it’s just like pledging a fraternity or sorority

We happened upon this hilarious post during our “Permission Slips” staff meeting today. Belly laughs guaranteed, whether or not you or your kids have “gone Greek.”

Parenting: 8 ways that it’s just like pledging a fraternity or sorority.

Selecting Sisters

When my friend texted on Friday with an invitation to see Magic Mike, I had not even heard of the movie. However, I’m always up for a Girls’ Night Out (GNO), so I agreed. The night was full of surprises:

Surprise #1: The 7:50 pm film sold out hours ahead of time, so we had to buy tickets for a late-night showing. Those who know me are already laughing, because I have trouble staying awake during matinees.

Surprise #2: When the theater doors opened at about 10 pm, hundreds of happy women (and perhaps five or six sheepish men) poured into the lobby. Who knew Magic Mike would become the summer’s GNO hit?

Surprise #3: Who knew that Channing Tatum was such a skilled “dancer”?

Surprises #4 – 26: Well, you’ll just have to see the movie.

I promise, this is not just another post about Mommy Porn (we’ll wait for the Fifty Shades film series for that). Instead, I’ll focus on how most women crave and thoroughly enjoy time together, and how we often treasure our girlfriends as much as our blood relatives.

In fact, our girlfriends are the sisters we get to hand-pick.

At times, I have felt a bit ambivalent about my choice to attend a big, rah-rah university and to join a big, rah-rah sorority. I adapted well to communal living, well-scripted rituals, theme parties and formal dances, but I never was sure that was the “real” me.

Later, my graduate-school classmates were, by and large, intellectual, earthy, left-wing, non-comformists, and I never felt they understood why someone would choose to join a sorority. In fact, I kept my affiliation fairly quiet.

And then, at a magazine job, I was surrounded by deep-thinking, liberal, free-spirited journalists, most of whom had attended small, Ivy League colleges. I didn’t even try to explain the sisterhood to my colleagues.

However, time is the true test of friendship, and as the years have rolled forward, my “sisters” have remained my constant confidantes and allies. I guess it’s true that the cream always rises to the top.

A few of my “sisters” helped me through some early, lonely days in the big city – whether I was lamenting a failed relationship, frustrated with a colleague or just in need of some laughs. And, it was a sister who – despite living 3,000 miles away – passed my phone number to a friend who was moving to New York. That man has been my husband for 21 years now.

My “sisters” and I flew around the country to attend each other’s weddings, which all included the obligatory “circle dance” to Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family.” We sent birthday cards and baby gifts, and kept each other aprised of moves, promotions, marriages, divorces (surprisingly few), tragedies (sadly, a handful), graduations and parents’ passings. Now, email and Facebook keep up even more connected.

While many of the women stayed within driving distance of our college and see each other regularly, it takes a planned reunion to draw me “home.” This weekend will mark my third visit back to campus in as many decades, and I’m filled with joy as I anticipate reconnecting with a dozen or so friends from my pledge class.

We’ll tour the sorority house, walk through campus, have a few too many at the renowned tavern and stay up too late telling stories. Along the way, I’m sure I’ll recall challenging classes, good professors, bad choices and fun parties.

But, most important, I’ll strengthen bonds with some women that I’ve chosen to call sisters for life.

Sure, men bond during their time in fraternities, too. Often, those frat brothers become life-long buddies, as well. I know several who keep up during annual poker weekends, ski trips, summer barbecues or bar-room reunions.

However, I don’t think you’ll ever see a group of middle-aged guys head out for drinks before an action-adventure film. They don’t sit around swapping stories about friends and kids, and I doubt they provide shoulders for each other’s tears. As I’m sure my many “sisters” would agree, it’s their loss.

 –       Linda Williams Rorem, 2 July, 2012To receive posts directly, please email

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