Rush: New York City Edition

Legally Blonde

I think I would have been friends with Elle Woods if she were real. I even considered applying to law school based on her performance in Legally Blonde. Perhaps, I might have even rushed her sorority?

Every January, I think about Elle and the Delta Nu sisters because it is the time of year at my alma matter when sorority rush takes place. During the coldest part of winter, young women returned to campus for rush. The week consists of a dress code that does not match the season – high heels replaced snow boots and short cocktail dresses took priority over sweat pants. To gain entry for a few coveted spots in a house for the year, potential sorority sisters studied the resumes of the current sisters in order to shower the members with compliments.

While I never participated in rush as a student, ironically, the year after I graduated, I experienced my first rush – the New York City Edition.  Instead of the January cold, it was the August heat that hit me as I stepped onto a sweltering hallway with a line of approximately ten 20 something young women  waiting for a turn to be invited into a coveted New York City apartment. On the 20th floor of a doorman building, the apartment came with poshly decorated shared spaces, a temporary wall already installed, and a broker fee paid for by the previous tenant. This was the golden ticket of New York City apartments.

Each young woman waiting to view the 3rd bedroom was dressed to impress with a trendy outfit. They stood completely still all browsing Facebook for the breaking news of the day, but likely reading the profiles of the current residents in order to make a good impression when invited in for the tour. Every few minutes, the pledge master — the roommate in charge of managing the flow of young women in the apartment at one time — would open the door, blasting a cruel gust of air conditioning into the humid hallway.  She carried herself with an air of importance, making the girls in line want to live there even more.

I felt completely unprepared for rush. I already had two strikes against me. Dressed like a peasant from Les Miserables, I clearly had not realized the dress code when I put on a wrinkled t-shirt and cut off shorts. It was so hot, I had changed into these very casual clothes after work. I also did not have  a smart phone to access the bios of the girls who lived in the apartment currently.

When it was my turn, I gave it “the old college try,”  complimenting the decorations in the apartment and talked about my commitment to friendship for life as roommates. My stomach began to growl half way through the tour. I am pretty sure that was the third strike. These girls did not have stomachs that growled.

As I left the apartment, I took a sigh of relief. I had survived day one of rush, but I knew I would not be invited back for the second round. I realized that perhaps my approach should be to find my own place —which meant chartering a new sorority of my own where I could choose the members.

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