Omega Theta Pi was no Delta Nu (see “Five steps to Delta Nu”). Omega Theta Pi was by far the most conservative sorority on campus. The girls of Omega Theta Pi prided themselves on their high moral compass, a devotion to the good life, to purity and wholesomeness in all matters of womanhood. The girls were not necessarily virgins, but there was nothing promiscuous about an Omega girl. She was a clean and virtuous “girl next door.” Joining Omega Theta Pi was a commitment to purity, modesty, and self-control. Some of the girls even wore purity rings. It took a very special young lady to be an Omega girl.

The girls of Omega Theta Pi were very much like the Tri Pi girls of Faber College, although they did share one key similarity with the boys of Delta Tau Chi. Of course, they were not irresponsible, scurrilous, defamatory, academic sloths, like the boys of Delta Tau Chi. They were in fact very, very responsible, hard-working, upright, and polite young ladies.

What they did have in common with the boys of Delta Tau Chi was a dire financial condition. In fact, they were at risk of going under. Omega Theta Pi, like many other campus associations, had been hit hard by the financial crisis and unlike Delta Nu they did not have the connections to get a bailout from the US government (see “A field trip for Delta Nu”).

It also didn’t help that their membership was falling, due in part perhaps to their devotion to purity and wholesomeness. The Omega Theta Pi sorority was by far the most disciplined, a fact of great pride to Miss Wormer, the Housemother. However, once a prospective pledge witnessed the requirements of and discipline provided by Miss Wormer, it was not unusual for her not to pursue membership any further.

It’s not like this hadn’t happened before, although the previous crisis had been a long time ago. Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s Omega Theta Pi had been reduced to renting out rooms. Like many other fraternities and sororities they were experiencing a dramatic drop in pledges. College students back then were not embracing the traditional campus activities that had been so treasured by their parents. The only way to survive was to receive at least some income by charging students for room and board and even then they didn’t have a lot of takers. Just living within a sorority or a fraternity was a source of embarrassment for many undergraduates.

Those rebellious hippie days were now long over, but the sorority was facing once again a very difficult financial deficit. They had managed to obtain quite a bit of income through their involvement in the Livingston Renaissance Faire (see “The Renaissance Faire”). Stacie and Pamela had been particularly successful, and were rewarded by Miss Wormer with seats of honor by her for dinner for the whole next week. But the income from the fair had provided only a temporary relief (Stacie though was thinking of proposing to Miss Wormer a more regular “kissing” booth). They needed a more permanent, ongoing, reliable source of additional income.

It was though rather embarrassing for Omega Theta Pi to be reduced to renting out rooms, particularly in contrast to the luxury life of Delta Nu. But, in times like this one has to appreciate that nothing tastes sweeter than swallowing one’s pride, and pride most certainly does not pay the rent.

It might have seemed obvious that they would decide to rent rooms to other young ladies. But in the wisdom of the Panhellenic Council, the governing body for sororities, renting to women would undermine the recognition one receives in being a member of the Omega Theta Pi. If a girl wanted to live at Omega Theta Pi she should want to be a member of the sorority. Nonmembers of the sorority should not gain access to the house, and to the many advantages and privileges of living within the bosom of Omega Theta Pi. In contrast, renting to male undergraduates would not involve any conflicts of interest or compromise to the integrity of the sorority.

Of course, there were some potential complications of renting to young men, and these probably do not need to be spelled out. They are perhaps rather obvious. So the Panhellenic Council indicated that they wanted Omega Theta Pi to do a test run with just one young man for one semester. If no difficulties or problems arose, they could rent additional rooms to more young, respectful men in the spring semester.

The girls were disappointed, at least with respect to having to wait a full semester before they could rent out the empty rooms. Most of the sisters supported the ban against renting to females. They agreed with the Panhellenic Council that it just wouldn’t be right to open the doors to girls who weren’t even members. What is the point of a private club if it’s open to the public? Plus, what if one of the girls was prettier than them? It was unlikely that she would be prettier than all of them, or even most of them, but it just wasn’t right to have a “civilian” in the house who was more popular with guys than even one of the sisters, and probably because she was willing to do things with them (if not then she really should join the sorority). It just wasn’t right.

If it was just one guy staying with them though it was sure going to be a difficult selection. It turned out that a lot of guys were interested in the room. The girls were surprised and very pleased. Perhaps they should not have been because college enrollment often goes up during economic downturns, and with the financial downturn there are also many students seeking any way to save money. This boded very well for their ability to fill all of the rooms in the spring semester.

They interviewed 27 guys for the one available room. The girls were all a twitter with the process. It was like rush week but with a very interesting twist. The girls narrowed it down to four possible guys: one was on the football team (split-end), two were pre-med, and one of them was simply dreamy. All of them were very good-looking, and the last one most of all. He reminded many of the girls of Keanu Reeves. It was a very difficult choice.

But, Miss Marion Wormer, the Housemother, made it easy for them. She vetoed all four precisely because the girls were almost drooling over them. Imagine having one of those guys living in the house! There was no way the sorority would make it through the semester successfully. Issues of jealousy would be rampant. Untoward incidents would abound.

The girls were committed to a moral, chaste life, but it often took a stern hand on the part of Miss Wormer to remind them of their dedication. If “Mr. Dreamboat” moved in Miss Wormer wouldn’t be surprised if at least three of the girls were pregnant by the end of the semester! Well, that was perhaps being too cynical, but she was understandably concerned that at least a few of the girls would compromise the reputation and honor of the sorority when confronted by such a daily, immediate temptation. They were good girls but they were also young ladies with natural urges, and Miss Wormer knew what young men such as those four were like. She knew that it was not in the best interests of the welfare of the girls of Omega Theta Pi to tempt them unnecessarily.

Miss Wormer picked instead Albert Pence. Albert wasn’t entirely unattractive. He wasn’t grotesque by any means. One could say that he was appealing in some respects. With the right light he could even be said to be kind of cute. But, he did wear glasses, he was rather skinny, he did apparently struggle with pimples, and he was not a smart or fashionable dresser. He was really kind of a dork.

Albert did have lots of interests. Foremost among them was his membership within the Livingston Geology Club. He was also a member of the boys’ choir (soprano). He was an avid stamp collector, and had even served as the treasurer for the Livingston Philatelic Club the prior year. He was also a member of the Livingston chess team. But, he wasn’t a particularly good chess player. He got beat by the member of the Templeton team last month, and she (Melissa) was apparently their worst player (see “A very spunky lady”). Geology was really his forte, his passion.

A loud groan of disappointment swept through the den as Miss Wormer announced her decision. Albert was at or close to the bottom of the list for every girl. This was a terrible, terrible choice! Miss Wormer angrily clapped her hands to silence the girls’ protestations. She let it be known that if this young man was not welcomed with open arms into their family they ran the risk of losing their charter.

The girls agreed to accept his presence. He was, after all, the key to their survival.

Albert, on the other hand, was really pleased to hear that his application had been accepted. He found the apartments near campus to be way too expensive, and as a junior he no longer qualified for a room in the dorm. Plus, he really liked the idea that breakfast, lunch, and dinner would be provided. He really hated to cook, and couldn’t afford restaurants, even fast food. He especially liked that the Omega meals would be very healthy, well-balanced, and nutritious, pretty much like his mother used to make.

However, as a resident of the Omega Theta Pi house he would have to adhere to the same rules as the sorority sisters. It would not work at all well if some residents of the house were treated differently from others, and there were quite a few rules. For example, breakfast, lunch, and dinner were served at designated times and a sister risked not being served if she arrived late. No elbows on the table while eating. Napkins unfolded only after Miss Wormer unfolds hers. Don’t blow on the soup to cool it. Soup spoons begin at the edge of the bowl and move toward center (tip the bowl only slightly when it’s almost empty). Cut enough food only for the next mouthful. Do not talk with any food in the mouth. There were quite a few more dining rules as Omega girls had to learn faithfully Miss Manner’s Dining Etiquette.

No snacks could be taken from the kitchen after 10:00PM. On school nights lights had to be out by 11:00PM. No guests allowed in the house after 9:00 PM. Sisters had to be back to the house by 9:00PM on a school night, and 10:00 PM on Fridays and Saturdays. No kissing of a date on the porch for longer than a few seconds (the cheek is preferable). Sisters had to maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA (i.e., B average). No smoking anywhere in the house or even on the surrounding grounds (no drinking anywhere goes without saying). No dirty laundry on the floor. No lewd or lascivious pictures within any bedroom. No artificial devices for self-abuse. No dating of a sorority sister’s boyfriend for at least two months after any break-up. A few of the rules would not apply to Albert but he was expected to adhere to the rest.

The first week for Albert was a bit of a struggle. The dining rules were particularly difficult to master. However, that wasn’t the most difficult problem. What was worse was that he could tell that most of the girls were not especially happy about him being there. They were cordial and friendly, but not enthusiastically or sincerely welcoming.

The girls did treat him oddly. It was like they weren’t really sure they wanted him there. It was nice to have his room and board money, and they knew that if his stay did not work out then they would not be able to have the number of male guests really needed for the financial survival of the sorority, but he just wasn’t a guy that anybody actually wanted around. He was just kind of, well, uninteresting and pointless as a man. He just seemed like an intruder, an awkward guest, if not an unwelcome guest. Nobody felt terribly comfortable with him, nobody wanted to get to know him.

Albert felt like he was something of a curiosity, a stranger in a strange land, like he was a walking exhibit at a zoo, always being looked at with some curiosity, and so often feeling like he just didn’t belong, like he had wandered into the wrong house and the people living there were not telling him to leave but were just tolerating his presence as best they could.

In the first week he kept a pretty low profile. He ate his meals quickly, albeit he was scolded for that, as one shouldn’t finish one’s meal ahead of the host or the majority of persons at the table. He avoided the recreation room (where all the girls would chat and watch television in the evening), and he retired to bed very early.

Miss Wormer did provide him with some slack in regard to the rules, as there were so many (the pamphlet, “Rules and Regulations of Omega Theta Pi,” was more like a small book than a pamphlet). He would not be expected to have appreciated and absorbed them as fully as a true member of the sorority. But, there were also a number of special rules just for him. For example, there was just one bathroom on each of the second and third floors. The house had been built as a sorority and did not include a men’s room on the bedroom floors. There simply would be no need for them. There was a small bathroom on the main floor that male guests could use, but it did not include a shower and would certainly be inconvenient for Albert, whose bedroom was on the second floor, halfway down the hall (Stacie and Pamela’s rooms were on the third floor).

Albert was informed by Miss Wormer that he would have sole access to the bathroom on the second floor beginning at 5:00 AM but he must be finished with it by 5:30AM. It was a considerable amount of time, more than he really needed in the morning, but it was terribly, terribly early. Prior to moving into the Omega house the earliest he would get up would be 7:30AM and that would only be if he had an 8:00AM class. But, he did understand Miss Wormer’s point that they simply could not have all of the girls waiting on him in the morning, many of whom could miss their classes. He was told that if everything worked out alright they would bring in more men, perhaps even reserving the entire second (or third) floor, and the respective bathroom, for the male guests.

There was, though, a plus to the schedule. The shower room was quite large, having two rows of four shower heads, and he had the entire room to himself for that half hour. He eventually gave into the temptation of turning all the showers on at once, filling the room with intense blasts of hot, steamy water, and then sliding back and forth across the slippery tiled floor on his butt. It was good clean fun, as long as he made sure to get out of there by 5:30.

The bathrooms on the second and third floors were otherwise off limits to him, forcing him to use the small one on the main floor, including even for his evening ritual before going to bed. He felt quite silly the first night walking around on the main floor in his pajamas, particularly as he was going to bed so early. None of the girls were themselves yet dressed for bed, and they giggled as he walked by in his pajamas with his toothbrush and toothpaste, making his way to and from the main floor bathroom. Once he was back in his bedroom he shut the door with considerable relief. He would stay up longer studying, eventually hearing the sounds of the girls making their way to and from the bathroom on the second floor. He wondered if they were in their pajamas as well, or perhaps even nighties, but he dared not go out there.

He considered sneaking a peek out his door. He did have access to the hallway up until the point of lights out. He had a technical right to be there. But, he feared getting caught and embarrassing himself. What would Miss Wormer do if she caught him acting like a peeping tom? He could perhaps just stroll out of the room, like he needed to go to the bathroom or something. His heart raced as he thought about that, but perhaps as much out of fear as excitement. He might actually offend or upset some of the girls and then it could get even worse for him.

A couple of times he did have a strong urge to pee as the 11:00 lights out time approached but he decided that he would just have to hold it until morning, although one time he finally broke down and peed into an empty cola bottle, which he hid in his closet, his heart racing when Miss Wormer stopped by shortly after 11:00PM for her bed check. Imagine getting caught with a cola bottle of pee in the closet! He would most assuredly get into trouble for that.

Miss Wormer was indeed a taskmaster and a stern disciplinarian. Omega sisters would earn demerits for each rule violation they committed. On Sundays the sisters would meet to discuss sorority business and affairs. The meeting would end with a counting of demerits and the implementation of each respective punishment.

No member of the Livingston College faculty had yet implemented the methods of the New School that were practiced at their sister college, Templeton (see “Disciplining young ladies”). Miss Wormer though was herself old school but to her that in fact included some of the methods of the New School. As she would say, “spare the rod and spoil the child.” She did not take this saying literally, as she would never use a rod to discipline one of the sorority girls. She felt that would be unnecessarily cruel and harmful. But, a prudent spanking can go a long way toward developing a more responsible and disciplined young lady.

It did not take long for Albert to discover the benefits of a good spanking.

As a resident of the house he had to adhere to its rules, and therefore also attend the Sunday meeting. He could not cast an official vote on matters concerning the sorority, but he could participate in matters concerning household functioning, and that included the counting of demerits and the resulting punishments.

The latter at first proceeded innocently enough, as most of the girls had earned enough demerits for only minor reparations, such as having to wash dishes, clean the laundry room, or weed the garden. But, when it eventually came to Shelley Darlington, she had apparently earned quite a few more demerits.

Miss Wormer, the sisters, and Albert were meeting in the basement recreation room. The couch had been pulled back and the room was filled with rows of folding chairs. At the head of the room was a small platform upon which the girls occasionally did skits, plays, and shows (fashion night was always very popular, as the girls pretended to be New York models). Miss Wormer was sitting in her chair of authority on the platform, facing the girls. She called Shelley to come up onto the stage.

Shelley knew what this meant and she proceeded quite slowly and reluctantly, her eyes glued to the floor, not wanting the embarrassment of any eye contact with her sisters, as well as to avoid seeing the stern irritation within the eyes of Miss Wormer.

When she finally arrived on the stage Miss Wormer directed her to sit down in the empty metal folding chair that was next to her. Shelley did as she was told, her hands clasped demurely within her lap. Miss Wormer got up from her more comfortable easy chair and reached for her purse, which was sitting on a small side table.

Albert’s eyes widened with interest. Shelley Darlington was a very pretty girl. She had in fact been chosen by the girls to represent them in the Livingtston Renaissance Faire. She had lovely wavy blonde hair that hung just past her shoulders, a very perky pointy nose, twinkling brown eyes beneath full fluttering lashes, rosy red cheeks and the cutest little dimples.