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life in the "frathouse" 
by Michaela DeSoucey
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Fortunately, the boys are polite, friendly, and considerate (most of the time), a fact that I do appreciate immensely. Iím a lucky duck Ė Iíve heard some absolute horror stories about other group houses with a skewed gender balance. Dubious decorating decisions aside, these guys are good roommates, and living with them has never been anything less than an interesting experience, to say the least.

These six months in the frathouse have given me an amazing insight into the strange, twisted world of boy rationale. It seems that, to the instincts and understanding of the boys, women are inherently different and that, to them, I simultaneously fit and break the mold. Theyíre a great source for feedback about my character, providing me with a brutal honesty that I just donít receive from my female friends, who usually back me up and stand by my side regardless of whether Iím in the right or not. My roommates are willing to critique and compliment accordingly. And since I didnít come as a "package-deal" complete with a boyfriend on my arm, I instantly transformed into the de facto little sister of the house, a girl, sure, but a buddy. My presence as a roommate makes me somewhat androgynous, the sort that lacks a noticeable sexuality, the kind thatís just one of the boys. I often feel that my status of "girl" was relinquished the day I moved in Ė Iím now the first one to jump up yelling at the Duke-UNC game, or leave my dirty dishes in the sink.

Still, my female-ness isnít completely forgotten. Before a date last December, my four roommates sat me down to firmly instruct me on "the rules." Namely, their rules, concerning how far I could go on the first date. Now, either my roommates are all big prudes, or they were just being protective. Either way, it was cute but completely silly. 


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