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Kiss and Tell: “My date took me to his frat house for Christmas dinner”

Juliann, a 27-year-old writer, got the full frat experience—including gross bathrooms, nightmarish food and a strong dose of misogyny

Kiss and Tell: “My date took me to his frat house for Christmas dinner”

Welcome to Kiss and Tell, a new series about the steamy, surprising and frequently absurd world of Toronto dating. Send your most memorable stories from the pursuit of love and lust in the city to .

—As told to Rachel DeGasperis


When I first met Anil, I had no interest in dating. It had been a couple of years since I’d been in a relationship and my attention was consumed by my studies at U of T. But I’d noticed Anil because he’d often walk into our American literature class late, dressed in expensive all-black or neutral-toned clothes. He looked like he’d just come off the runway for a Kanye West lineup.

He was conventionally handsome: tall, dark eyes, buff arms. I just wasn’t attracted to him. The following year, we sat next to each other in a philosophy class. Eventually, he asked me out. I said yes, but made it clear I was not interested in a traditional date. Instead, we planned to study together.

I took him to Bampot, a hippie teahouse that brands itself as a “public living room.” They make you take your shoes off when you come in. He was clearly weirded out by this and brought his shoes to our table instead of leaving them by the door. Before we left, I invited him to go dancing sometime at a popular Toronto queer bar. He seemed perplexed and never followed up on the offer.

Another year went by, and Anil popped up again in another class. He asked me out a second time. He described the proposed date as a Christmas dinner with people from his frat. This time, I was feeling more comfortable with dating in general, so I accepted the invitation. Maybe the restaurant will be fancy, I thought. Maybe I’ll get a free dinner out of it.

The night of the event rolled around, and I decided to wear a skirt with Blundstones. He texted me the address, but when I searched for it on Google Maps, I didn’t see a restaurant. I saw a frat house. I held my breath and hoped the dinner wasn’t what I was starting to suspect it might be: a frat party.

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I arrived early and was instantly hit with the smell of stale beer. I had been to frat parties before, but it was rarely intentional. My friends and I would see people funnelling out of frat houses during one of our nights out and spontaneously decide to go in.

I had never been to a formal event at one, and I quickly realized I was underdressed. The women around me were wearing gowns and high heels, with done-up hair and painted nails. They seemed puzzled by my presence and asked if I had the right address. I couldn’t help but notice that no one was asking for my name. Instead, they parroted each other: “Whose date are you? Whose date are you?” When I replied, “Anil,” they replied excitedly, “I know Anil!”

I considered having a drink, but the “bar”—a counter in the middle of the living room—hadn’t been fully set up yet. When it was, all they had were lukewarm bottles of booze. Nothing was refrigerated and there was no ice in sight. Instead, I climbed the dirty staircase and headed for the washroom. The banisters were sticky, and the bathroom was no better. There was no evidence that the toilet had ever been cleaned. There were razors on the sink and hair everywhere.

When I came back downstairs, Anil had arrived. He said hi but immediately went to hang out with his buddies. More people started showing up, and I couldn’t help but think to myself, What am I doing here? Part of me wondered whether this was revenge for bringing him to the hippie teahouse. Eventually, I found out that members weren’t allowed to attend the party without a date.

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While I was tempted to leave immediately, I decided to stick around and play devil’s advocate with the brothers. I found a group sitting around the fireplace and interrupted their conversation to ask why they’d joined a frat. Most struggled to come up with an answer. When I asked why women aren’t allowed to join, they said, “Because it’s the rule.” When I asked why they can’t break the rule, they stared at me blankly. I played the role of the annoying feminist while the brothers asked, with a look of confusion on their faces, “Whose date are you?”

At this point, I was getting increasingly annoyed by Anil, who had been AWOL since I arrived. When I found him, I gave him a wet willy. He looked repulsed. I shrugged and walked away. Eventually, I headed for the door, but when I went to grab my jacket, the entire coat rack came tumbling down. Anil rushed to my side but, it turns out, only to make sure his jacket didn’t get dirty among the avalanche of coats. While we were fixing the coat rack, a woman walked through the door and we started talking. Immediately, she struck me as the most normal person I’d met that night. She explained that she was there as a favour to her friend, so I decided to stick by her side until dinnertime.

Dinner turned out to be a three-course nightmare from hell. It was “Mexican food,” prepared by the brothers in their frat house kitchen. The first course was nachos. The cheese was barely melted and the chips were soggy from being topped with watery olives. The second course was quesadillas, but it was essentially the same ingredients, just wrapped in pita bread. The third course was the same, in taco shell form. I forced myself to swallow a single tortilla chip.

There was also a dinnertime ritual that was hard to ignore. Every two minutes, one of the frat brothers would harken another by name and then everyone erupted in song. Each frat brother got a turn, and the whole room would chant about how “he’s drunk and he’s horny” and how he’ll “fuck his date until morning.” At some point, I turned to Anil and said, “What is with this?” He apologized for the vulgarity and explained that it had been a ritual since before his inauguration. He acknowledged that the setting probably didn’t interest me and questioned out loud whether he should have invited me. I responded, “No. You shouldn’t have.”

I was appalled by everything I witnessed that night, but I also couldn’t look away. I waited until the girl I met at the door wanted to leave and we split an Uber ride home shortly after dinner. She listened to me rant about the absurdity of the night’s events. Anil and I continue to be friendly if we bump into each other, but we’ve gone our separate ways. Now, I know that if a frat brother ever invites you to a dinner party, you just say no.

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