Monday evening I was cordially invited to dine at FarmHouse fraternity. Actually, a friend of mine rather has been rather casually asking me to eat dinner with him at FarmHouse for the entire semester. My friend, Drew, and I actually went to high school together back in the day and I was estatic when he chose attend K-State. He is the only person, outside of my family, to attend K-State from my hometown in Iowa. And he's also majoring in Bakery Science. I'd like to think that I influenced him a little in his decisions... Unfortunately, because he was the only person at K-State from my hometown, he had to bear with my verbal moments of glee whenever we crossed paths on campus. I have, however, really made an effort to tone down my "Hey Everybody! I know that guy!!" proclamations. Poor kid.
Anyway, Drew joined FarmHouse when he arrived at K-State and I'm frequently hearing about his fraternal adventures. Sadly, the fraternity/sorority scene is completely lost on me. But from what I'm told, they have a lot of fun. So when Drew asked if I'd like to have dinner at FarmHouse, how could decline a chance for a greek experience?
Monday night I walked over to FarmHouse after my painful engineering class. The night was rainy and dark, so I slightly irked at Drew for not offering to pick me up. Nevertheless, I arrived safetly and slightly wet to the FarmHouse door where Drew welcomed me inside. In the foyer I could see about 30-40 guys assembled in the living room, talking and waiting for dinnertime.
Drew motioned for me to enter the living room with him, and as I walk in behind him, all the boys stood up. I totally had no idea what was happening and why were all these guys suddeningly standing up? I thought I was missing something and probably had a slightly panicked look plastered on my face. Even now, I'm cringing just thinking about how pathetic I must have looked in front of the entire group of men *sigh*. Evidently, the men of FarmHouse stand up whenever a woman enters the living room. Although I first felt foolish, it's nice to know that chivalry isn't dead everywhere. When we finally made it across the room, I was introduced to the FarmHouse "Mom" who lives in the house with them. The doors opened for dinner shortly thereafter and we were ready to eat.
To adhere to the prestablished chivalrous standards, Drew escorted me (arm in arm) into the main dining room. Because I was a guest we sat at the head table with the house Mom. The rest of the guys filed in behind us and took positions at the round tables standing in the room. When everybody was situated behind a chair, the singing began. The "song leader" began a prayer song and all the boys quickly joined in. The small room filled with men's vioces and...wow... were they were good. So beautiful. Following the prayer song came an actual prayer.
Drew pulled out my chair for me to sit in, and all the guys waited until the "Mom" and I were seated before sitting themselves. I tell you what, I was just simply not prepared for all this chivalrous treatment. Plus it was slighltly awkward. The place settings were set with a salad fork, a dinner fork, a dessert fork, a spoon and a knife. The beverage of choice was tea- no substitutions. We passed around sugar, and many of the guys made sweet tea. Servers brought out dinner and served Mom and I first. On the menu was Rueben sandwiches, green beans, potatoes, and a salad. Conversation at dinner was simply "Leave It to Beaver" style. We talked about old TV shows including Full House, Home Improvement, Seasame Street, Power Rangers and Becker. Simple, clean conversation. After it appeared that most everyone was done with the main dinner, the song leader announced another song- "Lean On Me" and the room broke out into a harmonious rendition of the old classic. This song was supposed to signal to the kitchen that the group was done with their main meal and the dishes could be cleared. While the dishes were being removed, the group sang another song. I asked Drew why they weren't a choir. I'd attend their concerts. Dessert was a fruit cobbler. Once dessert was finished, the guys sang one last song- the FarmHouse theme song or something like that. Drew then escorted me back out and gave me a tour of FarmHouse.
Incredibly, I found this video of the K-State FarmHouse on YouTube. It's a very good tour of FarmHouse. There is sound, but it doesn't come until you've reached the front door.
Honestly, I didn't know what I was getting myself into when I agreed to having dinner at FarmHouse. However, I loved the traditional mannor and how gentlemanly the guys treated women. I don't see much of either of those characteristics much in my daily life. The FarmHouse website says:
FarmHouse encourages social growth and awareness and practice of the conduct of a gentleman that will become so much a part of the man that he is no longer conscious of effort in achieving social amenities.
FarmHouse boys are great guys. I felt very priviledged to be eating dinner with them.