Update: This post was updated in August 2020 for clarity and to link to newer articles on FraternityMan.com.
“Can’t Even” is a silly phrase, but some of the silliest things I see on social media are complaints about how people eat certain foods. Who cares if someone pours the cereal or the milk first? Do you and leave everyone else alone.
It is understandable to expect someone to chew quietly, to keep crumbs off the table, or refrain from belching around guests. Some of us; however, “literally freak out” or “cannot even” after seeing something like the following picture:
Oh, stop huffing and puffing! There are many ways to eat a KitKat. Even if the image does not depict the best way to make the most of your KitKat bar, it is marketed as a single “bar.”
“…Break me off a piece of that KitKat bar”KitKat jingle
The first part of that quote, paired with the technical design of a KitKat, lead to a common understanding that a KitKat is meant to be broken into 4 separate pieces. (8 if you have a King Size, 2 for the Halloween/snack size) Each piece is then individually consumed.
Still, even that common understanding is open for debate. Take for example the Kourtney Kardashian Method: (KKM – with over 3 million views at the time of posting. . . seriously, where are people from?)
I tried the KKM, which inspired this post, and I must admit that it changed my perspective. The candy is more enjoyable, lasts longer, and I could appreciate each of the flavors and textures of a single KitKat bar. But, at the end of the day, a KitKat is simply made to be eaten. It fulfills its destiny so long as it is consumed.
Now, I might raise an issue if someone throws away a perfectly good KitKat bar. (Heathens) They are a wonderful candy and – as far as I recall – one of the few made without high fructose corn syrup. (Give me that real sugar, baby!) That said, I wouldn’t make a fuss so long as someone is eats it. Different people enjoy KitKats in different ways, and they are allowed to. Once the money changes hands, it is theres to consume.
Oh wow, this was a metaphor!
College fraternities also have an ultimate destiny. They exist to provide a family away from home for college students.  Fraternities have always done for fraternity members the things families do for family members: Hold them accountable, build them up, help them launch their future, and support them through tough times. Some are better at those things than others – just like real families!
Still, that sounds like a valuable experience in its own right – especially for those students who do not ome from supportive or well-connected families. So, why do we obsess over every minute detail regarding how a fraternity is structured? Why do we hamper fraternity men with expenses and expectations which make them less accessible? What (admirable) family operates in such a robotic, impersonal way?
While working as a Director of Fraternity Growth I would often pitch to potential campus partners that our organization was different – and it was! The vast majority of campus professionals I worked with would emphasize the need for something different at their school. They, along with the students who approved our expansion (ugh), would demand we create a new chapter which would shock their Greek Life system.
In almost every case; however, the chapter was expected to do the exact same things as every other chapter on campus immediately after establishment.
When our partners said “different,” what they often wanted was a fraternity chapter that would do everything asked of them without question. That would show the other chapters how to comply with top-down rules and demands!
“At this school you are not a fraternity if you don’t participate in the lip sync.” “At this school you are not a fraternity if you don’t have a house.” “At this school you are not a fraternity if you don’t at least try to win all of the trophies we offer.” What does that have to do with giving students a support system? How is that considered “self-governing”? What happened to all that “different” stuff you said before?
What about if students don’t care about those things? Based on registrations for “rush,” 70%-80% of students at most college campuses don’t care about those things. How do we appeal to them? Do we make the lists more complex?  Do we further limit and intensify the definition of what specific things need to be completed in order to be a “fraternity”? Would more people enjoy or purchase KitKats if we demanded that everyone apply the KKM?
Our laser focus on getting the checklist of leadership just right – “Zero tolerance! We know best!” – prevents chapters from focusing on things which would allow their members to stand out. Some people just want a family away from home, and are uninterested in vying for trophies or proving that they are better than everyone else.
Highly Curricular Extra-Curriculars
It is a shame that I would be turned down from setting up a chapter at a school because a few chapters were “struggling.” What’s worse is that the only way for those struggling chapters to be considered successful was if they grew and did everything all of the other chapters were doing.
Most still failed, succumbed to debt, or took years to get to where fraternity professionals wanted them to get. They could have just simplified their expectations, grew to a size with which they were comfortable, and acted like a family. Imagine how much of a better college experience that could be!
Within 3 years we forget who won which award, how many service hours a chapter logged, or which lectures they sat through. We require students to meet all of the fraternities because the only thing we allow to be different about each chapter is their personalities – everything else is often required to be cosmetic variations of the same thing. 
The “right” way to do fraternity (according to most professionals, speakers, and umbrella organizations) is repetitive, forgettable, and it distracts students from being creative with their fraternity/sorority experience.
It would be wonderful if we instead allow more students to enjoy their
KitKats fraternity experience in a way which suits their needs and interests. Not everyone should be required to subscribe to the KKM our checklists of standards in order to eat their KitKat have a family away from home.
Fraternity Man Articles referenced in this post:
- The Right People and Vision Are Better Than Trophies, A House, or Alcohol for Fraternity Recruitment.
- What Makes A Fraternity Expansion Successful? 3 Indicators Of Success & 3 Fads
- Can Greek Life be More Diverse & More Inclusive if it’s Less Accessible?
- How A Fraternity All About Pizza Can Change The World: The Message Map
- Greek Life Is Recruiting For Manpower, Not Character Or Talent.