Bro Like Me

by Beacon Staff • September 23, 2009

"Yeah," other Orientation Leaders agreed. "Did you see all the bros?"

True, few Emersonians are known for their overbearing masculinity, but everyone is here for the same reason: to bring innovation to communication and the arts.,Three weeks ago, I helped hundreds of new students move into Emerson and noticed that they were the most diverse bunch I'd ever seen here.

"Yeah," other Orientation Leaders agreed. "Did you see all the bros?"

True, few Emersonians are known for their overbearing masculinity, but everyone is here for the same reason: to bring innovation to communication and the arts.

Who cares if, afterward, some of them want to shotgun a PBR?

I hadn't witnessed any outright prejudice

against the collar-pop-inclined, but I knew they must feel somewhat out of place here.

So I put myself in their shoes-and giant jeans, hoodie and baseball hat. Then I went to the Organization Fair where most new students wouldn't know who I was.

I was going to find out how it feels to be a bro at Emerson College.

I got to the fair at 11:30 a.m., 30 minutes

before new students were allowed in. I walked into the gym, already sticking out like a stanky thumb. The non-verbal reactions were mixed: a few confused nods, reluctant waves and some eyebrows scrunched in the International Sign Language

for "wtf?"

Then people spoke up.

"I can't even look at you like this."

"What are you doing with yourself?"

"I don't like this. I don't like this at all."

Whoa, flashback to when I used to dress like every member of Good Charlotte.

Noon came. To maximize interaction with new students, I asked them to support

my new fraternity: Pi Beta Rho (the only fraternity worthy of a blue ribbon). No strings attached. I only wanted signatures,

and about 30 seconds to gauge their reactions to someone who only came to school to party.

I at least felt tolerated.

"I have absolutely no interest in it, but I support what you're doing," a young Voltaire said to me. Thanks, young Voltaire.

One guy even met me on my bro level when I chatted him up about campus clubs. "I was thinking of joining the Shakespeare Society," he said. "I dig Shakespeare."

Some guys were seriously interested in the frat. Apparently, Emerson's party scene is a little bit, as they put it, "dull," "dead" and "boring."

"You gotta go to B.U.," one guy told me.

"No!" I thought, Don't go to B.U.-We'll accept you here! We'll embrace the bro. Won't we, guy in blue sweater who I politely asked if you had a second for my frat?

".No."

Dang.

Only 45 minutes into the experiment, I felt sick. It could have been the can of Crunk Juice I drank to stay in character, but the growing sense of loneliness didn't help. In a gymnasium packed with students, nobody looked like me. A friend had to tell his buddy that I didn't normally dress like that after his buddy asked, "Who's the asshole?"

The experiment was supposed to last all afternoon but I cut it short after an hour. I changed my clothes and went back to the fair as regular Sam: no pretend house in Allston, no pretend tubs of whey protein, no pretend bulldog who drinks beer.

And regular Sam had a new attitude: However you want to live is bro-kay by me. Emerson is a funky bubble; we take pride in not having things that are commonplace.

Math, football, unusually high levels of testosterone: Few of us can relate, but these are the things that will enrich our liberal arts experiences.

So I say bring on that commonplace-diversity and think twice before telling anyone, "What are you doing here? This is Emerson."

My apologies to those I misled and many thanks to the guys who signed to support my cause. I love you guys.

No bro mo'.