Last weekend, I attended an Omega Psi Phi Fraternity event at Martin’s Crosswinds in Greenbelt, Maryland. Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. is the first international fraternal organization founded on the campus of a historically black college, Howard University in 1911.
I am not affiliated with a Greek sorority and know very little about Greek life so forgive me if I mess up the terminology. However, my friend who attended the event with me is Greek. She is in a graduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA), the first Negro Greek-letter sorority, founded in 1908 also at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
The theme was Mardi Gras also known as Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras is usually celebrated with parades displaying endless feathers, costumes, wild makeup, masks, and beads. Since this was my first Mardi Gras event, I did not know what to expect. However, I imagined people would dress in costumes since two $500 prizes for the Best Costumes were offered.
My friend and I met at the venue so that we could walk in together. We also parked next to each other. When we arrived at the event, we were offered the traditional beads. There is significance to the original Mardi Gras colors. Purple stands for justice, gold for power and green for faith. I was given purple and gold beads, also the Omega Psi Phi fraternity colors.
We had assigned tables for the buffet style dinner. There was also a cash bar. Although we did not dress in costumes, my friend had a lovely, pink mask that came from New Orleans. Several people were dressed in costumes to participate in a traditional parade. The event was very nice. It was moving to watch the mutual respect and admiration amongst the members of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity.
The band was very good and so was the DJ. With many single people in attendance, one thing puzzled me. From my observation, the men, although very willing participants, had to be asked to dance. I could not understand the perspective behind their apprehensiveness.
After repeatedly watching single women take the lead role of initiators for dancing, I decided to ask one of the men at my table the following question. Why are all of these men sitting in their seats or standing amongst themselves bobbing and swaying to the music instead of asking one of these women to dance with them? I mean, it was clear to me that they wanted to dance. He indicated that it could be a number of reasons but he was sure that some were probably afraid of rejection. Suddenly, a light went off – That was an hmmm moment for me. I thought to myself -Men have some of the same insecurities as women. I then amusingly asked men to dance and danced throughout the night.
I met several people that night. Did I like the fact that if I wanted to dance I had to initiate it? No, I did not. I am an old fashioned woman at heart, and it’s still flattering to be asked. While social media has provided a great platform for exposure, I think it also provides people with a false sense of opportunities, as well as, a sense that there is always something better. Therefore, you subconsciously forego living in the moment and interacting and enjoying the people amongst you.