Thursday, September 27, 2012

Birth of the Chi Xi Deltas

As referenced in this post, I feel I should give some backstory on my Chi Xi sisters.

For those of you familiar with the Greek system, you are probably, at this point, wondering if you’ve completely forgotten about a lesser known sorority. Let me assure you that, no, you are not senile. Well, maybe you are but not remembering the Chi Xis does not make it so.
About halfway through our freshman year at IU, my friends and I were discussing the upcoming Rush season. None of us were planning to Rush and frankly, didn’t really see the appeal; we had our core group of friends and couldn’t foresee that we needed anyone else. Plus, and I don’t speak for everyone here, just myself…it seemed like a lot of money to spend to have guys ignore me. I mean, I had PLENTY of guys ignore me for free just by going to class; I did not need to pay money for that.

Catherine and Kara after graduation
At one point in the discussion, someone proposed that we come up with our own sorority. We labored for days over just the right combination of Greek letters. (Yes, these were the important things we were working on AFTER all our class work was finished, of course!). One of our main stipulations was that it had to sound similar to the real ones so that people would be thrown off. And it had to have an abbreviated version of itself which also sounded credible.
So after much discussion, Chi Xi Delta was born. Our brother fraternity was Iota Beta.

We then had the daunting task of choosing our colors (which are Watermelon and Tangerine, btw…yes, pink and orange). Such dilemmas we faced…I scarce believe we made it through college. Together we traipsed over to T.I.S. Bookstore and combed through their vast selection of fabric samples until we found the perfect one for our shirts; we placed our order and at first they didn’t bat an eye (like I said…we sounded credible). But later the bookstore called to confirm that combination of letters. “Yes, Chi Xi Delta…you’ve got it correct.” We roared with delight.

Once our shirts were ready, we took great pride in wearing them around campus, especially by the Greek houses. We had huge parties and anyone who was anyone was there. Actually not really…our parties centered on decorating plastic cups and picture frames with paint pens, seeming to declare that a party had happened but it did not (I still have my first cup if anyone’s interested in seeing it). 
Some of us made “paddles” declaring our letters…at that time, we were cheap (yeah, not much has changed) so we bought wooden paddle-shaped cutting boards at the Dollar Tree; at the time, the stores did not sell individual letters so we resorted to painting the letters on. And then sealing it with clear poly spray…had to preserve it for posterity, don’t ya know.

Jodi & me with one of our Dans, I mean Bretts, at Mini 500
And another thing…this was the time of the residual big hair.  Sure, it was the early 90’s but it was still Indiana for crying out loud. We’re not as current as the people on the coasts. For the most part, we didn’t wear our hair too big, but when sporting the Chi Xi shirts, we made sure that the hair was adequately fluffed, and we had in either big bows or scrunchies. Oh yes, if you didn’t know that Chi Xi wasn’t for real, we looked the part, I must say. I would venture to guess, however, that all our giggling was the giveaway. Should have worked on that tell.

One last thing about the Chi Xis…we had all noticed a commonality in our classes, not necessarily in sorority girls, but girls in general. But leave it to us to play it up. There were TONS of Jens in our demographic so therefore every class at IU seemed to have several. So when we walked into a new class, we inevitably heard, “Jen, oh my God! Come and sit with us!” This was always accompanied by a reverse royalty hand-wave, beckoning the Jen over to the group.
Now, none of us were Jens so as I reflect on it, it is possible that there was a hint of jealously in our response to this, but we took to calling one another Jen…sometimes in combination with our real first name. Amy, for instance, is STILL Amy-Jen to us all. She played the sorority girl the best and I suspect that had we not been there as peer pressure, she might have Rushed. Guys weren’t ignoring her anywhere and frankly we probably wanted to keep her in our group because she elevated our overall beauty score. She has a charming personality as well…definitely would have made the Rush process. Lucky for the Chi Xis that she wanted us.

The Iota Betas, on the other hand, only had two reluctant members. And they were both named Dan, however we referred to them as Brett. We didn't call them Brett, because they wouldn't play along that much, just inreference to them. Again, my apologies to men named Brett; we meant no disrespect but we encountered a lot of guys with that name at IU.
We made cups for the Bretts too (but I’m pretty sure those went in the trash as soon as they walked out of the room), but they drew the line at t-shirts. We didn’t even have them made because we knew they would refuse to wear them. Plus they wouldn’t even choose colors…party-poopers. Like I said…they were reluctantly in our fraternity.

To paraphrase (and I say paraphrase here because within multiple websites, this quote is slightly different on each of them)  Groucho Marx, “I don’t want to belong to any group that will have me as a member.” And though we were not an officially sanctioned sorority, I loved…and still love…those girls like sisters. We may be far-flung but our hearts will always be Chi Xis.

Some of us at Macri's shortly after getting the shirts: Debbie, me, Casey, Cathy, Amanda, and Amy-Jen.

1 comment:

  1. This does not surprise me in the least. Of course you made your own sorority, shirts and all. Your story made me smile.