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HCAU explores: Frat Vs Gaff

                                                            Her Campus Aberdeen Explores: Frat vs. Gaff

Studying abroad in the States last semester allowed me to have so many amazing new experiences – I met the most amazing people, travelled to some incredibly beautiful places, and tried some pretty fatty yet tasty food. However, one of the most memorable experiences was my first time walking into a classic American frat party.

Everyone has seen the movies, massive Greek letters hanging above the door, a crowd of boys surrounding a keg of beer, girls flipping their hair and reapplying their lipstick while the frat ‘brothers’ watch and see which ones they approve of for entry to the VIP area of the fraternity. We all watch these movies and think ‘I wonder if that’s what it’s really like at American frat parties’. The answer is yes, the movies are totally and completely accurate, to a point where it’s actually laughable.

I walked through the double doors which were guarded by the ‘bouncers’ of the night (two ‘freshman’ frat bothers who were clearly forced to stand there), and was suddenly in this huge room filled with sweaty young adults and music blaring, which is a normal party scene, yet something about this felt completely different to your typical British ‘gaff’ party. Here, there seemed to be an almost hierarchy of sorts. The head frat brothers lurked around making sure no one was misbehaving, while others kept the party going on the dance floor, it was like being watched by some strange adolescent mafia in rolled up chinos and Ralph Lauren shirts.

There are a few key points from my ‘Frat’ experience that differ greatly from the average Friday night ‘Gaff’ in Britain:

  • The frat I attended was probably the most organised party I’ve ever been to in my life, I’m not exaggerating when I say I think I saw someone with a clipboard, which is not usually a requirement for a good ‘gaff’.
  • There was only one drink: beer. Almost everyone had a cup of beer in their hand, which would be pretty weird at freshers’ week to see everyone drinking the same thing.
  • Gaffs are generally a free-for-all in some poor person’s house, however in the frat house there were designated areas for VIPs’ and fraternity members.
  • I have never once had to queue up to get into a house party before, only to be inspected at the door, and asked to show my student ID card (only students who attend the university the frat party is connected to are allowed in, usually, however we managed to get in.)


However I would definitely recommend going to a frat party and see for yourself.

Emily Sullivan

Aberdeen '20

Vice President at HCAU xo Anthropology student at Aberdeen University.
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