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A social gathering of college students taking place at a fraternity house, the frat party has several unbending rules:

  1. Alcohol will flow like there is no tomorrow. Most commonly, one will find several kegs of beer, a bar that is well-stocked with hard liquor, and some sort of generic, alcoholic fruit punch. Slightly less common, but still widespread are funnels, used to pour mass quantities of liquid into the mouth of a willing drinker and a luge, where the drink is poured into the top of a lane, and flows down into the drinker's mouth (the luge is sometimes carved from ice to chill the liquid on it's way down). Sometimes if it's a really wild party, people will swallow goldfish.
  2. Not everyone will be admitted. Males who are not associated with the frat are required to be on the guest list. Females will always get in.
  3. Frat brothers will usually card people on their way into the frat house. Under age? Don't let it get you down. This is done solely in case of the unexpected arrival of the campus police. You'll still be able to get sloshed, as those dispensing the drinks don't pay attention anyway.
  4. The house will be dark and hot. There will be music so loud, you will need to scream to be heard. At least one person, maybe 20, will do a keg stand. There will be much vomiting outside in the bushes, as no one will be able to get near the bathrooms.
  5. Males will be wearing their money shirts, hoping to impress the ladies with their clothing style. Females will be wearing next to nothing. After all, it _is_ hot in here.
  6. People will start disappearing, usually two by two (of course, this depends on how wild the party is) into the bedrooms. At this point in the evening, there is usually a half-inch thick layer of sludge on the floor, composed of dirt from people's shoes and beer spilled on the floor while dancing.
  7. After a short time, taxis will be called for people still there who have not found someone to spend the night with.
  8. Massive cleanup follows the next day when everyone has recovered from his hangover.
  9. People will talk about how that was "The Best Party Ever" for approximately 5 days, or at least until the next frat party.
In my days as a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign I ran about four miles every day. My dorm was located on Fifth Street and Daniel, very close to most of the male fraternity houses. I ran on the sidewalk and always passed most of the houses on Saturday and Sunday mornings. From what I could tell, fraternities love recreating the comforts found inside the frat house on the outside of the frat house. On the mornings post-party, I saw chairs, tables, leather couches and entire bedroom suites parked on the front lawn of these houses. And garbage. Ever see those CNN videos of a town post-tornado? That's what the yards/street looked like. Pizza boxes, cans, plastic bags. Usually the brothers were outside making a decent effort to clean up the place, gotta give them that. There must have been some awesome partying at the great U of I. Almost makes me wished I'd pledged.

The greatest display of frat party bone-headedness I ever saw was one morning, like any other morning, I was running past a house where about ten or so guys were outside picking up the remains from last night's shindig. They had what looked to be their living-room couches on the lawn. No ordinary couches mind you, but these awesome blue, corduroy couches.

I wouldn't have paid it a second glance but a couple of them were standing next to the couch and laughing a you-know-they're-up-to-something laugh. One of them pulled out his lighter and set the frayed arm of one of the couches on fire. I just shook my head and kept running.

I doubled back at the end of the street and on the way back I saw the biggest pillar of flame I have ever seen. As I got closer, brothers were scrambling all across the lawn with a water hose trying to bring it to service. A couple more brought cups of water from inside and were trying to douse the couch. But to no avail. I stood there and watched. People from houses across and down the street had noticed and were gathering. The couch, the fabric covering, the foam filling, the wood frame, the whole thing burned to the ground in a twenty foot high tower of fire. It only took like two or three minutes it burned so fast. The only thing left were the blackened metal springs. If it had only been a little closer to the house. hah.

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