Pressure without the Peers

I started a fraternity in college with a handful of friends. This was not, in any way, an official college sanctioned fraternity; this was a social club founded by a couple of bored twenty-somethings to have an excuse to drink on a Tuesday mid-morning (not that we really needed an excuse).

Despite the stigma, fraternities and sororities do a lot of good for the community and serve as an important social environment for many college students. Our fraternity was nowhere close to any of these things. We were rowdy, belligerent, and overall rude. For the most part, we were how fraternities are portrayed in movies and television. I never amassed a large amount of amusing stories from these days, other than the typical drunk nonsense, but there’s one moment that always sticks with me.

Chad (not his real name) was Chinese, this detail is not important for the story but just for character development, but Chad was not from China. He was a fifth generation American so he was about as Chinese as I am Irish. He spoke with a very standard “Dude Bro” voice that most frat guys have. One afternoon, Chad and I were sitting on the porch of the rundown home we rented as our clubhouse and he started smoking a cigarette. I have never noticed Chad smoke before so naturally this caught me off guard.

“When did you start smoking?” I asked inquisitively.

“Oh this?” Chad said pointing to the cigarette in his mouth.

“Yeah that.”

“I started smoking last week.”

“Last week?”


“You just decided to take up smoking?” I ask, admittedly very confused.


“Any particular reason? I don’t care, I just find it odd that you have the mentality as if you started a normal hobby like jogging.”

“Well I get high every once in awhile,” Chad says.

“I’m aware, but that doesn’t explain the cigarette,” now I’m getting annoyed.

“So, you know that girl Kate (not her real name)?” Chad asks.


“She smokes, so I figured this gives me the perfect excuse to talk to her,” Chad says this as if it’s a totally normal thing to say. Needless to say, I’m speechless.

“Fuck you,” I finally say after several minutes of silently watching cars drive by.


“You’re kidding right? You started smoking so you’d have an excuse to talk to a girl?”

“Well, not just her, a lot of girls smoke,” Chad says trying to defend himself.

“That doesn’t mean you start smoking! Just go talk to them like a normal person” I start yelling.

“But this gives me a perfect intro.”

“So does ‘hello’ you fucking idiot, except ‘hello’ won’t kill you faster!”

“Whatever man, you’ll see, this is going to work great.”

It did not work great, at all. Kate completely ignored him, and so did virtually every other girl Chad tried smoking with. The worst part of all, it’s been several years and Chad still smokes, granted so does his girlfriend, so maybe he’s a secret genius, but I still think he’s an idiot.

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