Louisa is one of the new members of Gamma Xi Delta. And like every candidate for a place in the Harvestehuder Villa, she is put through her paces by the board of directors. She has to endure a hot test phase in which the sisters try to lure her out of her reserve by means of a fitness tracker. Did you know that you can even record orgasms with such a device? Once again the story is about “Hazing”, for which the sororities in America have been quite discredited. Where does harassment actually begin? And how do the individual participants perceive it? Louisa, for one, has no desire to be beaten.
Summer heat is in the room. I have emptied the sheets, but I still feel sweaty. My nightgown has slipped up and is sticking to my body. Our dress code, written down in a folder, does not allow any briefs or bra at night. So I pluck the nightgown down again with difficulty so that at least my bottom and the shame are covered to some extent.
Lenka in the other bed is fast asleep. But maybe she will wake up while I’m sleeping. I would not like to present her my sparsely shaved bush.
We both study media studies. Like me, she applied for a place at Gamma Xi Delta. And like me, she was offered a trial period at the villa in Harvestehude. As part of the recruitment process. The chapter is new in Hamburg and they are taking their time in finding ideal members.
Half-awake, half lost in dreams, I toss and turn in my bed.
Occasionally I look at the clock. The digital numbers glow red in the dark. It was half past one last time. Five hours of struggling for a little sleep lie ahead of me. Breakfast is served downstairs in the dining room from seven to nine. No need to get out of bed early.
Many of the thoughts that keep me awake that night are about the sorority. In my dream, I see again the ten young board members sitting behind a long board in the chapters room. Their faces are friendly, but their smiles are frozen and unyielding. I stand opposite them, illuminated by a spotlight. My heart is pounding because I don’t know what to expect.
The entrance interview goes completely different than expected. At first, the questions are personal, but not yet intimate.
“What’s the most popular movie you’ve seen to date?” Danielle asks.
It doesn’t take me long to think.
“Spotlight,” I say.
“How often and why?”
“I don’t know, maybe seven or eight times.”
“Seriously, the question? Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo play superbly and the dialogues are to the point. Spotlight’ is perhaps the strongest plea for free journalism next to ‘The Untouchables’. …and as exciting as a mystery novel.”
I might as well speak Mandarin. There’s no emotion in their faces. Instead:
“What’s the most unusual place you’ve been so far?”
“I spent a year at Berkeley as an exchange student. At Sproul Hall, Mario Savio gave his famous speech.”
Melanie, a young woman with long red hair and freckles on her face, asks the question.
“Savio? He was the leader of the Free Speech Movement.”
Since she obviously never heard of it, I continue: “In the mid-1960s, the university administration banned any form of political work at Berkeley. And Savio was one of the people who organized the protest at the time. “
“Why is this important to you?”
At least one that shows a touch of interest.
“I believe everyone should have the right to express their opinions freely. Our democracy is not a matter of course. And people who stand up for civil rights are among my heroes.”
“Imagine you were a ghost and you could drive into other people’s bodies. What would you let them do?”
What a break. The board nurses rewind their questionnaire without getting into me on the content.
The first things I think of are compromising. I imagine driving into a shy woman and getting her to give her dream man a kiss and confess her love to him. A confident woman? I’d let her leave the house without a bra, blouse down to her belly button. Just so that I could experience what it feels like to be stared at by people on the street. I’d send an uptight one to the sauna. I’d let her get over being naked in front of other people.
But I don’t say all this because otherwise I’d be stuck in a drawer right away.
“If I go into another woman, I make sure she crosses a line in her life. Something she doesn’t dare do.”
At this point, the interview takes a turn. They ask me about my sexuality. I groan embarrassingly, wake up halfway, look at my watch for a moment. 3:13. It’s still way too early to get up.
“How old were you when you had your first orgasm?” asks Danielle, the president of Sorority, with an American accent. She sits in the middle of the table like Jesus in da Vinci’s picture from the Last Supper.
“I was six or seven years old.”
“You had sex with a boy at that age?”
Your question sounds surprising, but there is some recognition in it. I must disappoint them.
“No, with my teddy bear. I put it between my legs.”
“How many sex partners have you had so far?”
My cheeks are getting hot. I roll from one side of the bed to the other. I’m embarrassed to admit that until now there’s only been Pusat. After him, I got sick of sex for a while.
“What do you find unpleasant about sex?”
Everything he did to me. He was rude and didn’t know a thing about women. At first, it was enough for him to finger my breasts. When he realized he could make my nipples grow, he concentrated more and more on them.
But it wasn’t long before he reached into my pants. There was nothing erotic about it. His touch was clumsy. Most of the time he was concentrating on my pussy anyway. That alone was painful. For one thing, because I remained bone dry without foreplay. On the other hand, because his fingernails were so unkempt that I felt constantly scratching the sensitive skin of my vaginal canal. When he buried his fingers inside me and rummaged around as if digging for gold, I often bled afterwards.
He was the first man in my life. I thought maybe it was normal and I’d hang with the hymen. Or maybe my vagina would grow stronger in time. So I let it happen. And I didn’t want him to think I was frigid. That’s why I didn’t tell him he’d never taken me anywhere near a climax.
Occasionally, he would touch my clitoris. Without intention, without rhythm, without sensitivity. As a real man, he wasn’t interested in her. And I was too cowardly to talk to him about my needs. So petting him remained a sad experience.
What had Danielle asked? Oh, yeah. What do you find unpleasant about sex?
“Pain, let me just say.
These are questions no one has ever asked me, not even Mel, my best friend since back in Berkeley. I try to answer as honestly as I can because I have a terrible memory for lies. I’d rather push someone over the edge once in a while than tell a white lie.
While I wait for the next embarrassing question, Nadine suddenly stands with a video camera before me and asks me to undress.
[End of reading sample]