It's just after midnight at Milan (809 Congress, 713-247-0809), and the club is packed with college students. I'm standing in the leather-laden VIP area near the DJ booth, posing a number of frivolous questions to Michelle, president of the Delta Phi Omega sorority. Delta Phi, one of two Greek organizations behind tonight's “A Scarlet Affair” event, appears to be comprised of very beautiful Indian women.
“Our parties don't really get going until after midnight,” she tells me. I check the stacked dance floor.
“This looks like a good crowd to me.”
“Oh, it's great,” she says. “But you can expect it to double inside of an hour.”
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“So, do you ladies have lots of parties?”
“Oh, yeah,” Michelle says with a mischievous smirk.
“Good,” I say. “I was hoping it was that sort of sorority.”
Having bothered Michelle enough, I fight my way back to the bar for another cocktail. Aaron, Milan's owner and frequent fill-in bartender, is churning out shots like a machine. The bar is three deep, so I nudge between two well-dressed young women; their hips immediately envelope me.
“What's your major?” I ask the girl to my right. The music is blaring, so I have to repeat my question.
“Psychology,” she yells in my ear.
“What're you gonna do with the degree?”
“Prescribe medication,” she says without hesitation.
I turn to the taller girl on my left, who is happily grinding against a lady friend. “What're you studying?” I interrupt them. After a pause, she points to her drink on the bar and nods her head.
“Vodka?” I ask. “Warren's is just across the street if you decide to do some post-grad work on that.” She keeps dancing.
Karen, Milan's newest bartender, is trying to manage the scene. She scans the crowd for customers. I catch her eye. She smiles and shrugs, then runs off to help someone else. As much as I appreciate the smile, it doesn't get me any more gin. I abandon the quest for more booze and see about hunting down the president of Omega Delta Phi, the fraternity that is co-hosting tonight's bash. I spot a small group of guys in black shirts and red ties. Assuming these are officers, I tap one on the shoulder and ask for the frat's president.
He points to a short, obviously drunken young man behind me who is playfully humping a cute girl against the bar while her friends laugh. This could border on sexual harassment, except he's so inept; I have flashbacks of Revenge of the Nerds. I introduce myself to this sweaty young man, Will, and we excuse ourselves to a lounge area for a chat.
“We're a service/social organization, and we want folks to know that helping people is important, but so is having a good time. We've done beach cleanups in Galveston and regularly mentor at the Barrio Center, tutoring kids and things like that. And afterward, we party.”
“What do you think about these Delta Phi girls?” I ask.
“They're hot,” he says, stating the obvious. “We're a multicultural fraternity, and we've never done an event with the Delta Phis. It's turned out well.”
It's getting late, so I thank Mr. Prez and go to the bar to close out my tab. On the way out, I stop to talk with Nima, the sorority sister who has been working the door all night. When I mention that I spoke with their president, she balks and points to the guy sitting next to her. “This is Carlos,” she says.
“Hi Carlos,” we shake hands. Realizing that Nima isn't going to explain why she introduced me to Carlos, I finally ask, “So, what's your part in all of this?”
Carlos straightens his tie. “I'm the president of the Omega Delta fraternity.”
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