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In defense of pledging | Here's why people can't form true friendships unless they eat bullfrogs together.


Seyoung An | Design Associate

My eyes were squeezed shut. I pinched my nose as tight as I could, hoping no smells could get in. I took a deep breath, then another one and then another one. But that’s not interesting.

“Am I really doing this?” I thought to myself. But there was no backing out now. I shoved one thick, juicy leg into my mouth and chomped down. The creature let out a tiny shriek, and expelled its vile juices down my throat and all over my new Rocawear sneakers.

When I tell friends and grandparents this story, they often respond with disgust. “You really ate a live frog?” they always ask. “That must have been horrible! Is that why you’re half brain dead now, and insist on coating all your food with ‘goop’ before eating it?”

No, silly. Well yes, it might explain my love for goop. But it certainly was not horrible. In fact, I would not take that first bite of bullfrog back for a million dollars. Actually make that thirty dollars, but you get what I’m saying — while society sees my nosh of bullfrog as a disgusting act of barbarism, I see it for what it really is: a disgusting act of barbarism that brought me closer to my fraternity brothers. 

Yeah, I know what you Grecophobes are thinking right now. It’s probably something like this: “It’s torture that they force kids to eat live bullfrogs! There are better ways to engender bonding than to humiliate and degrade freshman boys!”

That line of reasoning is exactly what I want to dispel here. There is no, I repeat, no better way for human beings to connect than being forced into eating slimy, potentially disease-ridden, live animals together, in a basement that smells like fossilized beer and testicle sweat.

Events where you “have fun” could never come close to matching the level of bonding my fraternity achieved that fateful night.

Sure, that time I went snow tubing with the pledge class was pretty fun, and yeah, that was the only time I’ve ever opened up to them or shared meaningful conversations of any sort with them. But there was something just … magical about the moment my projectile vomit collided with Billy’s mid-air, or when we all witnessed Charlie getting a life-threatening case of Amphibian Hepatitis C — the worst kind of Hepatitis C. (Note: he’s actually still extremely sick. Please pray for him; there’s nothing more the doctors can do.)

The bottom line is, I know eating bullfrogs was great for building brotherhood. Our pledge master said it, and he would never lie.