Going through my closet this morning, I noticed something... I don't have many shirts from my days in the frat. There are maybe two of my favorite crew neck sweatshirts that have stuck around, but not a single t-shirt. I wish I could say that the reason for this was all the beautiful sorority women that passed through my porch bed throughout the years who just loved the shirts so much that they never returned them, but that is far from the truth. Because those women, just like me, found a lot of the shirts ugly, offensive, or simply uncomfortable. Now I love my brothers at Sigma Alpha Epsilon Idaho Alpha, but whoever was in charge of shirt designs when I was in my early years should have been slapped (sorry dude, but, seriously, look at the cruise sweatshirts from '08!).
So let's take a look at some of the downfalls of custom Greek apparel, and as you read this, remember that this was long, long ago, when most of you were barely in high school, and College Hill Custom Threads didn't exist. This was a time, when frat shirts sucked.
Paddy Murphy is one of the greatest traditions SAE has. It usually consists of the gang bringing dates to camp in the woods and drink really appropriate beverages like apple juice (I fucking love apple juice). And the theme is derived from an Irish legend (Paddy Murphy) who drank a lot, and probably did some other things too. But I remember these shirts we got for it that were just awful. Bright green with some ridiculous Irish themed logo that made me want to puke. I mean who the hell wants to wear a bright green t-shirt more than they are forced to? Sorry Farmhouse...
The event revolves around a mock funeral we hold for the fallen Murphy, but what the hell kind of funeral procession has a bunch of dudes who look like they are super late for a St. Patrick's Day party? Luckily, in years since, we have churched that part up a bit and started wearing suits. And those shirts are not even the worst Murph shirts I have seen. Everyone keeps thinking that putting a gun on the shirt will make you a badass for wearing it. Guys, stop asking if you can have a tommy gun on the shirt. It's an awful idea and nowadays nationals are going to nix it anyway.
There was a time when we could get away with putting anything on a shirt, and nationals just stayed out of our business, but I'm not sure if that was a good thing when it came to our next Rush shirt...
In 2009, I was Rush chair for the northern region of Idaho, and somehow I, though an artist, was not consulted on what our Rush shirts should look like. Before I tell you the design that we went with just know that I am about to bring up a shirt that every one of my brothers and I wish we could erase from our memories because it was just that awful. Everyone, including the man behind the design agree that this shirt should not have been made. You may have seen this one before. If so, I am sorry. It is, of course, the amazingly lame UPS weiner joke.
We had SAE letters replacing UPS and then the wonderful slogan "Delivering the biggest packages on campus since 1856." Just typing the words makes me cringe a little bit. I mean what kind of tools were we to wear something like that while we gave house tours to mothers as they held there son's little virgin hand. Plus the shirts were shit-brown, which can start a whole different phallic/fecal insinuation that I don't care to get in to right now.
But even if the shirt had been something, you know, slightly classy that didn't reinforce traditional stereotypes of how douchy frat guys are, It would still most likely have ended up in the darkest corner of my closet never to be heard from again. Why you ask? Because we men tend to be pretty cheap when it comes to our custom apparel. Which brings me to the third and most common reason I have no frat shirts left.
At SAE, we always got the inexpensive, boxy-fitting Port & Company shirt that allowed us to only pay $12 per shirt instead of stepping our game up--seriously just like one measly dollar--to get a superior shirt from a brand like District. Being the tall lean man I am (or was before college...), I have a hard time finding shirts that have enough length for me. Well, a Port & Company shirt (or as you all know it "the cheapest thing you guys have") is capable of reaching my belt line the first time I wear it just fine, but the second you wash that thing, it becomes something straight out of Baby Gap.
Look, I understand that we are poor college students scraping to get by, but if you just throw down that one extra dollar on the shirts that you are going to buy anyway, maybe you would have a full closet of things you want to wear again. Unless of course it has some hideous offensive graphic on it...
Still, in your case, all of these problems can be remedied because you still have time! When your brother or sister tells you they already took care of your fall formal shirt design and then hands you a piece of printer paper with a mock from some online Wal-Mart of the customization world that has a clip art graphic of a skull and Impact typeface, just slap them across the face and shout "GET AHOLD OF YOURSELF, DAMMIT!" Then head over to College Hill and check out the thousands of options we have that will make your Port & Company shirt seem like it's made of cardboard. And I know many of you have design skills, but don't just let the one guy with Photoshop Elements be the end-all be-all of your shirt game. We have amazing designers that can take your concept and turn it into something you will want to keep forever and pass down to your children after you make them join your Chapter so that you can live vicariously through them.
It may sound crazy, but I know you can do it. Step up your Greek shirt game before it's too late! Don't let these memories become kitchen towels.
Don't be like me...
I mean, seriously?