This weekend I visited my son at college for his fraternity’s father’s weekend. As a gay man, I was not quite sure what to expect. Before coming I asked my son, jokingly, was I going to have to play football? A sport which I know very little about. He assured me, no football.
My son’s college life is so different from my college life. He is a member of a Fraternity. I was not. He chose a big sports school. I chose schools that did not have sports at all. My son’s fraternity life seems to revolve around partying and alcohol. After a lot of drinking during the first semester of my freshman year of college, I stayed away from heavy drinking ever since.
The weekend began on Friday night with a minor league hockey game that was a lot of fun. What was so typical of this age group is that nobody was introduced to anyone else. It was like the parallel play young children do. It fell to me to introduce myself to the other boys and their fathers. I teased my son that it would be ok if he introduced me to his friends. “Dad, the game is going on.” Yes, it was, but…
Saturday began with, what else, a brewery tour. We all boarded an old fashion yellow school bus for the hour and a half trip from the campus to the brewery. On the bus ride there I got to know and come out to one of the other dads, who shared with me that he was in recovery from a crystal meth addition—wow. It was a fun trip and I have always loved seeing how things are manufactured. Of course, it ended in a bar at the brewery for two beers of our choice.
Last night there was a big sporting event that rallied the campus and I have never seen more drunken, high, wild kids in my life. The amount of drinking and wildness was staggering. First kids gathered at a location on campus for a wild alcohol-fueled celebration with loud music, screaming, and empty beer cans flying through the air. There were probably five hundred to a thousand drunk, high and screaming kids all in one frenzied place.
As we hung out on the edge of the crowd, one of my son’s frat brothers came up to me, quite drunk, to tell me how proud he was of me and that it took courage to do what I did. He said we should talk when we both were not so drunk, and I corrected him that we should talk when he was not so drunk, and we both laughed. He gave me a big hug and wandered off.
I turned to my son because I did not really know who this kid was, to ask if he had told this guy that I was gay. His response, “Oh yea dad, everyone knows you are gay. No big deal. No one cares.” Was this the same son that in high school did not want any of his male friends to know about his gay dad? I was surprised and pleased that my son was out to all his friends about his gay dad.
Later in the evening, while we all crowded in the frats main room to watch the sporting event on TV, another one of my son’s friends came up to me, also drunk, to tell me what a great kid my son was, and how he had taken care of one of his dates recently after she got really sick and began throwing up, which I can only assume was alcohol-fueled. He also told me that he had not invited his dad, because his dad did not know that he drank. What modern American father does not know that his son, who is part of a frat, drinks?
At one point in the evening, I was in my son’s frat house and went to the bathroom. I was in one stall trying to do my business when I got splashed from under the bathroom stall, from what I thought was beer, only to realize there was a girl throwing up in the next stall. My right shoe and pants leg had been splashed with something. Disgusting.
At one point late in the evening, after having a flask of vodka that he had mixed with Coke early in the evening, followed by four to six beers, my son asked me if I cared that he was drinking. I looked surprised. “It is a little late for this question since you have been drinking all night. Do you care what I think on the subject?” I asked my son. “No, not really,” he replied. “So then why ask?”
It was an interesting, fun, weekend of father and son bonding. Today I head home ready to resume my life, which I am glad is well past my college years. But I loved the fact that I am out with my son’s friends and can be open and out with another dad in the group. All in all, a good weekend.