Southern Fratters

mwilliamspr

New Member
This is from the comments section of a fairly entertaining website: Living the Frat Life


Sherman McCoy - 2006-07-11 12:26:35

I feel I should share my collection with you.
I've been holding this back so long.

Best definition of Southern fratters: folks living in Mountain Brook, Alabama, or the West End, Virginia, or the Garden District in Louisiana, or Buckhead, Georgia, or Belle Meade, Tennessee (if you've never heard of these Old Guard, old-money, fratter southern suburbs, than you're not a birthrite fratter). Southern fratters wear most of the classic clothes and styles including Lacoste, L.L. Bean, Vineyard vines, Topsiders, Brooks Brothers, tevas, Polo, and especially Patagonia. And the more monograms, the better. They also like outerwear by Barbour, Cole-Haan bit loafers, and wallobies by Clark. Fratters have longish, shaggy, wind blown hair. So do their daddies. They look so much alike. Southerners would attend day schools such as Altamont or Westminster or Harpeth Hall or boarding schools such as Woodberry Forest or Baylor or Foxcroft or Madiera, rather than a New England fratter school. For college, they may attend state schools such as Bama or UVA or UNC or private colleges such as Vanderbilt or W&L or Hamden-Sydney. fratter families live in historic or historic looking houses in nice, woodsy neighborhoods, that are comfortable in size but never ostentatious (no electronic gates!) Inside, family antiques, silver, china and portraits are found and all rooms are always used. It is an elegant yet comfortable environment. Southern fratters and their families belong to private town clubs and country clubs such as the Piedmont Driving Club of Atlanta, the Commonwealth Club of Richmond, and the Mountain Brook Club of Birmingham. Southern fratter families don't emphasize cars as status, but typically drive volvo wagons, mercedes sedans, Jeep Cherokees, and sometimes SUVs. It is more important to have money in the bank than in the driveway! Southern fratters enjoy sports such as tennis, sailing, soccer, lacrosse, and golf, but also quail hunting (in season) and attend Steeplechases in Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia. And they love to watch and attend college football games in fall. While some southern fratters journey northwards to summer on Martha's Vineyard or in Maine, most old southern families summer on Sea Island or St. Simmons's Island in Georgia, the mountain towns of Linville and Highlands in North Carolina, or the north Georgia lakes of Lake Rabun and Lake Burton. Southern fratters believe strongly in giving back to the community and are active members of their church, sit on symphony and museum boards, volunteer at children's hospitals, and run historic preservation societies.All southern fratters seem to know one another and have a large group of friends and acquaintances. Southern fratters have large, extended families and lots of cousins. They always go to the family country place for Thanksgiving and play football and ride horses. fratter as a fashion trend may come and go, by fratter as a lifestyle will always continue and exist, and probably more so in the South than elsewhere. Remember: the Virginia colonies were settled by England before Massachusetts and the rest of New England. And Virginia is very fratter.

A fratter is typically a well-educated, good-looking person who comes from a solid, well-established, "old-money" family. fratters lean towards conservatism, and generally are well-dressed and buttoned-down in public. A fratter is inclined to wear clothes from Brooks, Lacoste, J. Crew, - NOT Abercrombie or American Eagle, as some non-fratters believe. A fratter is usually an all around good guy and would be unlikely to brag about their status or wealth. fratters shouldn't be characterized as spoiled underachievers - if they were, where would top-tier schools like Princeton get their fratty reputations? Colleges and universites are becoming more democratic each year; an unqualified student wouldn't gain admittance on family wealth alone. People who bash fratters have probably only had contact with the A & F, A & E kind of wannabe-fratter - and in many cases I would agree with their comments. But a true fratter is far more understated; they would drive a Volkswagen GTI over a Cadillac, vacation on the Vineyard or on Bermuda rather than on St. Bart's, favor subtlety over ostentation.

A fratter's wardrobe consists of some expensive clothing, but they've had it for the better part of a decade--excluding the two Vineyard Vines polos they got for their birthday and the 50% off sale at Brooks Brothers--indicating the true fratter trait of valuing "classic" over "trendy". We don't buy into the Lacoste trend of now, but we will gladly wear "handed down from dad" Lacoste polo shirt when it still maintained an association with Izod, which was well before it became the token icon of a sold out, soulless and materialistic world.

And as far as the true fratter's garage is concerned, you're more likely to find a boxy Volvo station wagon or sedan (ski rack clutching to the roof for dear life) than you are the Ferrari or Hummer that everybody seems to associate with a fratter.

This brings me to education. fratters spend money on an education for the sole reason of having the proper tools to become successfully established with relative ease upon graduation. It's not for bragging rights, because anybody who brags about going to Harvard because it's "Haaaarvard" and not "the groundwork for their future success" usually winds up the victim of some form of brutal sodomy. A fratter's tendency with regard to education is to go to a top College or University (generally on the east coast, but there's always Stanford and UCLA should a fratter choose to make a respectable deviation from the norm). If for high school, a fratter found Choate, Kent or Andover to be too small, they might choose to attend any of the following public universities: UVA, UNC, Michigan, UCLA, etc.

Finally, to put an end to an abhorrent misconception that everybody seems to maintain: NO, true fratters do not buy their social status. Maybe we'll hang out at a ritzy bar if a friend is getting married, but normally, we avoid those scenes until we're at least 45 years old and drink scotch. The young people who frequent those places are just plain trying too hard. A true fratter knows where to find a classy joint that won't break the bank or the heart. An amazing night on the town for a fratter consists of dinner at J.G. Melon (11$) followed by an evening of wasting away on well-bourbon at T.J.'s (25$), which is an incredibly fun and inexpensive joint, considering it's in Manhattan. If that were my night, which it has been before, I would have just spent less in six hours than the pretentious bastard across the street did in the thirty seconds that it took him to order the Escargot.

A true fratter is a classy individual. We know where to go, who to know and we seriously believe in class, and the true ones of us refuse to buy into pop culture. We do the right things, whether it's holding the door for a lady, mixing our Gin and Tonic with the right proportions, or double-spacing after every period when we write our essays. Truly, "fratter" is not a trend, it is a classic way of life.

Fratters are offspring of the old Anglo-American ruling class, whether or not they rule today. fratters once ruled North and South. Their offspring can be be found in select enclaves in Texas and California, but will always be aware of their roots in the British colonies where their ancestors were Royal Governors, Judges, Presidents of Harvard or Yale, Declaration of Independence signatories or other useful things such as merely rich. fratters have long driveways. Public display of wealth is not fratter. fratters do not drive ferrarris. fratter men do not wear Italian clothes.
Fratters have always been fratters. As far as clothes its a manner of dressing that you are born into. Siblings raid each other's or their parents closets for fratter clothes. All generations dress the same with minor variations. Old fratter clothes are better than new. fratters are not nouveau. Your dad bought his suits at Brooks brothers or had them made bespoke by his tailor. If you are lucky he may have some nice English tweeds you may come into and shirts with double cuffs from somewhere around St. James's in London. Your fratter dad taught you how to shoot (guns are fratty). You learnt how to swim, ride, and sail (water and horses are fratty). Someday you will get dad's very thin gold watch and you will wear it on a striped grosgrain band just like he did. You inherit your grandfather's thin gold cuff-links and thick ivory-handled coat brush engraved with his monogram or coat of arms. You have and often wear a dinner jacket, and possibly a white tie for full dress with gewgaws.
fratters are the gentry. The real ones have pedigrees that tie them to the English gentry and nobility. You may be a 9th cousin once removed of Prince William. fratters came to America in the 17th c. on boats like the Lady Arabella (better than the Mayflower) named in honor of the Earl of Lincoln's daughter.
fratters did not come through Ellis Island. Some of your friends and someone in your family is in the Social Register. You do not belong to the very expensive clubs and socialize with new minted high tech billionaires. You belong to the older clubs that fratters have always inhabited. You may go to a public school but only if you live in the right fratter neighborhood so that you will find other WASP fratters there including . Super fratters will have recognizable "social" names that are like a code only fratters know and by which they can identity each other. fratters are often the nicest people on the planet because they have no need to be otherwise. Since they are born with top inherited social status, they have no need to step on others to get ahead unlike the aggressive middle class strivers and class climbers you will find taking over places like Harvard.
fratters may be city slickers for a while, but they are country people at heart. Fratters love the land, country houses, and country pursuits like steeple chases, point-to-pointing and gentleman farming.
fratters love the past. fratters have oil paintings of their fratter ancestors, often by famous artists of the 18th c. The future belongs to everyone else. fratters know the best stuff (beautiful women, good drink, fine houses, the countryside, hunting, oxford, cambridge, and harvard) has always been around. fratters are not trendy, although the women may be stylilsh and fashionable. Men can be dashing and southern fratters tend to have retained a more aristocratic dash from their royalist ancestors than their buttoned- down puritan cousins.
fratters are not "intellectuals" and find the term somewhat alien and amusing in its pretentions. They may be very smart, even scholarly, highly accomplished and full prefessors in which case they are men of letters. fratters like alcohol and good conversation. Hip flasks and good jokes are fratty. Fratters have beautiful antique furniture (some inherited, some bought at auction or scrounged from estate sales in the country). fratters are rarely found running large American corporations anymore, and except for lucky fratters, the old
fortune is not what it once was although you probably still have your trust fund to take some of the hard edges off of life. Some fratters are born into branches of the family without the money but will live essentially the same way as their more fortunate cousins, just on a smaller scale. fratters won't change for anybody, or anything. Even poor fratters, They have one of the few authentic, distinct and enduring cultures in America reaching back nearly 400 years. fratters like Washington and Jefferson invented America. fratters are usually socially tolerant Republicans, although some may be conservative Democrats.

Happy fratters spot a noovo over Bloody Mary's at the Yacht Club on Sunday: one fratter says "What's the difference between a porcupine and a range rover?" The other fratter answers "With a range rover, the pricks are on the inside!"
 

tripreed

Elite Member
Some interesting stuff, although I feel like I read my life-time fill of the word "fratter." It does seem to me that this person had way too much time on their hands at some point to write this dissertation on "fratters." I think it's also interesting that the word "fraternity" was never used in the article.
 

vwguy

Honors Member
tripreed said:
Some interesting stuff, although I feel like I read my life-time fill of the word "fratter." It does seem to me that this person had way too much time on their hands at some point to write this dissertation on "fratters." I think it's also interesting that the word "fraternity" was never used in the article.

I'm one of those people who absolutely depise any other word than Fraternity to describe a Fraternity or members thereof. Had fratter been replaced w/ Fraternity, it would have been a much better read for me as well ;)

Brian
 

Plainsman

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I should have started the Tom Clancy novel instead. I probably would have finished it quicker. :icon_smile:
 

I_Should_Be_Working

Senior Member
vwguy said:
I'm one of those people who absolutely depise any other word than Fraternity to describe a Fraternity or members thereof. Had fratter been replaced w/ Fraternity, it would have been a much better read for me as well ;)

Brian


As all pledges should be instucted, "You don't call your country a 'c*nt', so don't call the fraternity a 'frat'.
 

rojo

Super Member
I'm from a Virginia family myself, but I still think the Cavalier tradition is more mythology than reality.
 

rojo

Super Member
Having now looked at the web site where this originated, I see that it is all about one kind of college kid being able to distinguish himself and his friends from other kinds of college kids.

Notice how the writer quoted above draws a distinction between the Mayflower and the Lady Arabella, then turns right around and pays homage to Harvard several times instead of any number of Southern schools he might have mentioned.

Imagine being young enough to think that having owned an article of clothing for "the better part of a decade" is a long time.
 

I_Should_Be_Working

Senior Member
rojo said:
I'm from a Virginia family myself, but I still think the Cavalier tradition is more mythology than reality.

Myth is much more convenient, interesting, and comforting than reality.

Without the myth, they'd be middle class just like the majority 85% or so.
 

JDDY

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Yeah, I completely understand where this is coming from, but it sure doesn't seem too "classy". I guess this article is "noovo".
 

A.Squire

Honors Member
It would seem that I’ve been posting on the wrong forum. (wink)

Sure the author’s piece is not the most eloquent and smacks of immaturity, however I would say that much of his posting could be used as the building blocks of “southern trad”. In fact, follow the provided links for several examples of “Southern Lifestyle Trad”. Of course, if you feel that trad is only about the clothes—stay away or this thread will erupt into one of “those” arguments. But, when these “young men” grow up and start posting on AAAC, which forum to you think they’ll use?

I was even tempted to list the Chevy Tahoe/Suburban as an example of a “southern trad” vehicle in a recent post on the subject.
Any others share these views?

Allen
 

JDDY

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
You're right Allen. The article nails some things as discussed here; the youth of the author does seem to shine through though. Can't say I'd never take back anything I've ever said.
 

shuman

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I_Should_Be_Working said:
As all pledges should be instucted, "You don't call your country a 'c*nt', so don't call the fraternity a 'frat'.

Amen to that. We are cut from the same cloth.
 
Another youth post....

Have to agree with JDDY on this one.

He does have some of the details (especially the first paragraph) down but the delivery is all wrong....

Cheers to youth,
J.
 

Harris

Elite Member
WAHOO culture is reality-based mythology. Or something like that. Ditto for W&L and HSC, although the latter is mostly reality.
 

tom22

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
get back to us when the fratters admit jews

blacks and catholics. or actually don't even bother. no decent person cares at this point.
 

tom22

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
to be even more explicit, I have been everywhere and known

everyone. and I think the author this thread is trash, pure and simple.
 

Spooter

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
rojo said:
I'm from a Virginia family myself, but I still think the Cavalier tradition is more mythology than reality.

Rojo,

the cavalier tradtion may be more mythology than reality -- but then again, does "tradition" have to be "real" or is it just as much an "idea" or "ideal"?? -- but those Southerners such as Shelby Foote, to name but one example, have attributed a conciousness of a Cavalier Tradition to the South. In fact, he claims that we shouldn't rule out entirely that the seeds of the South's defeat were sown in this very tradition. That these gentlemen, who learnt their ethics from Dumas and Scott, were woefully ill-equipped to fight the War with such an "arsenal".

--Spooter
 

tom22

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
My family owns land in the Caolinas which

I plan to buy this year but at some point southerners need to know (hey there is GWB phrase) the north east thinks it is better off by accepting, blacks women jews and oh my god, irish catholics into their clubs. there may be some that some that don't today. but really, all that counts is some money. the places I know only care about the fees. and I don't want to belong to any goofy place that cares about much else.
 
Your email address will not be publicly visible. We will only use it to contact you to confirm your post.

IMPORTANT: BEFORE POSTING PLEASE CHECK THE DATE OF THE LAST POST OF THIS THREAD. IF IT'S VERY OLD, PLEASE CONSIDER REGISTERING FIRST, AND STARTING A NEW THREAD ABOUT THIS TOPIC.