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PSK Triple T's meaning?
September 10, 2006 2:37 AM   Subscribe

What is the secret meaning of the triple T's of phi sigma kappa? Picture: http://www.gmuphisig.org/images/triple_t.jpg

I have exhausted my web-search capabilities and this is the only answer I have been able to find:

"What is the meaning of the Triple T's?
Only the brothers of Phi Sigma Kappa know the true meaning of the Triple T’s."

My boyfriend, whom I'll probably marry at this point, wears a ring with this symbol on it everyday. He won't tell me what it means, other than the meaning is "close to his values", and that they are in another language, "not one you can look up in a book." He is a man of character and made a promise to the fraternity never to tell. Knowing him, he's going to keep that promise, but I'm curious and it is driving me nuts!!! I've never been in the greek society and don't really think it is cool to keep secrets from your loved ones, but I'm not going to break up with him over this (at least not yet, especially if any of you can help me out). I can't imagine, with my curiousity, living out the rest of my life without ever knowing. Please help if you have any information.

I originally gathered they had something to do with the cardinal principals of the fraternity:
http://www.phisigmakappa.org/?action=about_ideas

However, according to this latter site, the creed and cardinal principles weren't drafted untill 1934, whilst the triple T's were created in 1873:
http://www.gmuphisig.org/nathistory.htm

It doesn't mean that the T's and the principles aren't still related somehow, but none of this gives me any clue how the strange drawing of the T's fits into anything. HELP ME, PLEASE!!!!!! What do they mean?
posted by Summer1158 to Grab Bag (48 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think that you should probably let this go. You aren't going to get anywhere with him and people aren't going to publish fraternal secrets on the web.

Why is this such a big deal to you? Frankly, it seems rather rude to be digging into something that you've been told is a secret. You should respect that it is a secret, that it is not anything sinsister, and that it is none of your business.
posted by chrisamiller at 2:47 AM on September 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


It wouldn't bother me so much if he didn't wear it every day, specifically because it is so important to him. If he wants to keep secrets, that's fine, just don't taunt me. I see this symbol every day when I wake up (on the wall, when I brush my teeth, framed in the bathroom, on his ring finger). I don't suppose it would be nice to put the answer on the web, though. Feel free to e-mail me the answer at AEB04K@fsu.edu. I'd be eternally gratefull. I won't repost it, I do love the guy.
posted by Summer1158 at 3:09 AM on September 10, 2006


my guess, only a guess, is that there may be no big mystery. some student circa 1873 recast the greek (or possibly the latin) alphabet into T-shape forms. the three "T's" would then represent Phi (the top one, probably), sigma and kappa.
posted by londongeezer at 5:15 AM on September 10, 2006


Here's a secret you really do need to know: a good wife sometimes lets her husband have his way, just because. I can't imagine a better place gracefully to concede than on his sentimental attachment to his old frat house.

However, if you insist, here's how to find out. Active members and alumni aren't likely to tell this kind of thing, but deativated members (guys who quit because frat life isn't for them) would probably tell you for the price of a Coors Light. A typical fraternity will have 2 or 3 deactivators a year, which means that any college that has a chapter probably has 5 or 6 running around. If you really want to know, it'd probably take you two nights of cafe and bar hopping and dedicated chit-chatting at the nearest-to-you school where there's a chapter to get introduced to a deactivated member, and there's your answer.
posted by MattD at 5:19 AM on September 10, 2006


The wikipedia history page for PSK has a few hundred edits. Maybe it's hiding in there somewhere?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:31 AM on September 10, 2006


Let me be the dissenting voice here, as someone in a very happy, stable 20-year marriage: Married couples, IMO, should have no secrets from one another. The fact that he has something to do with his "values" (whatever on earth that means) that he won't share with you is troubling.

I'm not going to break up with him over this (at least not yet,

That part especially worries me. You're leaving the door open to breaking up with him over this which means, in time, you likely will. It's like putting a slice of cheesecake on the counter and saying I'm probably not going to eat it. You will eat it.

If I were in your shoes, I would explain to him that 100% transparency is a condition of a long-term relationship, and if he wants one with you, he'll have to include you in the "inner circle" of people he trusts enough to share this (likely ridiculous) secret with. And of course, let him know that it works both ways - that there is nothing in your life you won't tell him. That is the case, right?
posted by jbickers at 6:32 AM on September 10, 2006


people aren't going to publish fraternal secrets on the web.

What nonsense. People (some people, which is all that's needed) publish anything on the web. The whole idea of boy's-club "NEVAR TELL!" supersecrets is a century past its sell-by date anyway. I guarantee if you follow MattD's advice you'll get the answer, and I urge you to publish it here just to piss off the stick-up-the-ass boy's-club types. "Oh no! She revealed the Secret Password of the Glorious Tree Toads! Now the world will crumble into dust and the Angels of the Eschaton will appear!" Sheesh.

And frankly, I agree with jbickers. Married couples shouldn't have important secrets from each other. If this is so goddam precious to him, he should be willing to share it with you. If his boy's club is more important to him than you are, well, that's something to think about, isn't it?
posted by languagehat at 6:43 AM on September 10, 2006 [5 favorites]


The fact that he has something to do with his "values" (whatever on earth that means) that he won't share with you is troubling.

He gave an oath to all those who came before him, and all those who come after him that he wouldn't reveal the meaning. The fact that she can't understand that and let it go is what is troubling.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 7:10 AM on September 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


He gave an oath to all those who came before him, and all those who come after him that he wouldn't reveal the meaning. The fact that she can't understand that and let it go is what is troubling.

Ah, now we get to the real crux: competing oaths. How many other secrets is he allowed to have?
posted by jbickers at 7:30 AM on September 10, 2006


As an alumni of a fraternity (not the same one), I'm also with the advice to just let this go. I'm personally not a fan of the flaunting of the secret symbols of a fraternity, some Houses have even gone the other way to open their rituals to public view. However, I do respect the right of these men to conduct their business and keep it private.

By the way, londongeezer sounds like he's got something close enough to be possible. Also, if Phi, Kappa, and Sigma all individually stand for a different principle of the fraternity, that would connect the story.

Like the others said, he's probably sworn more than one oath to take these secrets to his grave, respect that.
posted by onalark at 7:38 AM on September 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


I would be annoyed by the taunting aspect. Its seems juvenile to wear the ring and put the stuff up on a wall and then refuse to divulge. Isn't that what's called passive-aggression? Isn't he saying that he needs to have a secret from you and he needs you to know it at the same time? Clearly, you are responsive to this form of manipulation.
posted by anglophiliated at 8:06 AM on September 10, 2006


I am an alumnus from one of their chapters. I won't up and tell you, because I was told that if I do I'll be marked as one void of all truth and harpies will spring the ground and bite me on the bum and so on.

Your boyfriend has as good as told you that the t's are part of a "secret" alphabet. The cardinal principles are derived from the secret alphabet -- the t's stand for some words, and the cardinal principles start with the same letters in either English or Greek.

I can assure you that it's entirely harmless and utterly unimportant, exactly the kind of thing that you should not have a problem with him keeping secret from you. He has not promised to knock you out and share you with his frat brothers. He has not promised to run off to join the PSK cult at the age of 30. He hasn't promised to tithe to the fraternity or to help brothers dig up corpses to have sex with or anything else that any sane person would object to. He's made some promises that boil down to "Be excellent to each other" with an implicit "Party on, dudes."

The idea that couples don't keep secrets from each other is silly. Of course couples should not keep secrets from each other that matter. This does not matter. Him not telling you this is like him not telling you the ending to a Shyamalan movie, or not telling you what the answer to the Trivial Pursuit question is, or not telling you what your mom got you for Christmas, or not telling you the consistency and size of his latest bowel movement.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:24 AM on September 10, 2006 [2 favorites]


Let it go, he will not tell you, and it's a bit selfish of you to threaten to break up with him because of it, even jokingly. Cleary he still honours his fraternity and respects the oaths he took to it. You're asking him to break a promise he made essentially to every member of that fraternity, past and present, because you're curious?

And what's this about never keeping secrets from your loved ones? You are always going to have secrets. If you best friend swore you to keep something that was important to her a secret from everyone including your fiance, would you violate her trust and tell your fiance just because he is a loved one? I hope not.

Clearly, this guy will not tell you. And my guess is he would be kind of upset that you are going behind his back to try to find out something he has said was off limits.

Disclosure: I was in a sorority myself, and I would be very annoyed if my other was snooping around trying to find out the meanings of my sorority symbols after I told him not to. I would never tell either, not because they're so special or they have some deep meaning, but because I promised. I keep my promise out of respect to the organization and to my fellow sorority members. Even if I didn't think the secret things were that important, there are thousands of women who do, and for me to treat something that they value highly with such flippancy is very disrespectful. I would also be upset if he insisted on knowing about anything else I said was a no-go zone.

I can assure you that whatever the meaning of the symbol is, it's nothing bizzare or weird, and probably not that interesting anyway. Ask him to move the stuff with the letters somewhere so that you don't have to look at it every day, and just let it go.
posted by orangskye at 9:01 AM on September 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


I would be annoyed by the taunting aspect. Its seems juvenile to wear the ring and put the stuff up on a wall and then refuse to divulge. Isn't that what's called passive-aggression? Isn't he saying that he needs to have a secret from you and he needs you to know it at the same time? Clearly, you are responsive to this form of manipulation.
posted by anglophiliated at 8:06 AM PST on September 10


This is what it comes down to. Those symbols, for him, serve to inflate his ego, make him feel important or mysterious, but they cannot do so unless people know he has this "secret." And frankly, both wearing it and having it framed in the bathroom is so fucking queer I can't even believe that it's true. I would be less embarassed for him if the topic was "my boyfriend won't have sex with me because he has to level up his orc ranger."

So I guess it's up to you. Are you comfortable with him doing this juvenile kid's club shit for the next fifty years? Because I don't think that you'll be happy even if you find out the answer, if it doesn't come from him.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:15 AM on September 10, 2006 [3 favorites]


FYI, PSK means Park Side Killers.
posted by 31d1 at 9:23 AM on September 10, 2006


Doesn't it bother you more that this is a grown man acting like he has the Little Orphan Annie Secret Decoder Ring?

Is he a grown man? I'd assumed he was 22--25 or so, still basically a kid.

Putting this sort of crap up doesn't need to mean "I AM SEKRIT AND MYSTERIOUS WORSHIP ME" or anything of the sort. It can simply mean "I like my friends from college." It's not particularly different than having a photo of college chums signed "El Stinko says WOMBAT!" or some other old in-joke.

It means 'I buy my friends and shop at Abercrombie and Fitch. Come ride in my Jetta.'

Depends on where you are. At Virginia in the late 80s, it meant "I am a big dork. I get good grades, am probably an engineer, and I have an encyclopedic knowledge of Monty Python but probably not Star Trek."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:36 AM on September 10, 2006


The kneejerk animosity from so many people toward all things Greek/secret society, esp. as do not even really relate to the OP, are quite telling. I never knew people really still cared; some people join clubs like college fraternities, Masons, etc., some do not. Why all the smug superiority over it?

The fact that she can't understand that and let it go is what is troubling.

This is to me as well. Further, all this "SPOUSES SHOULD TELL EVERYTHING!!1!!!!" is really irrelevant, as they are not married; she is merely his GF. The case that he owes her this explanation is specious.

Agree that the poster's BF is likely still very young and still quite enamored with the ritual secrets. Eventually he will mature and care less, and stop wearing/hanging up all the frat business.

Likewise, she should mature and stop caring ("I can't imagine, with my curiousity, living out the rest of my life without ever knowing." Really? Seriously?), and realize that the secrets that destroy a relationship are not the exact way that "Be excellent to one another" is translated for this particular club's traditions, but things like infidelity, betrayal, financial irresponsibility, and drug habits.

In the interest of disclosure, I am an alum of a Greek-letter club, as is my spouse. I've never asked about his club's rituals and he would never ask about mine, as it is a respect issue. By placing my own curiosity or needs over his wishes, I would in essence be saying, "I don't respect the fact that you made a promise and would prefer to honor it, so I'm going to put you in a position to have to choose between me and an oath that you made."

I perceive myself to also be a woman of character, and therefore that's simply not how I treat someone important to me. Especially not someone that I then took my own oath with.

Summer1158, if you're dying to know, MattD is right that a disgruntled ex-member will certainly tell you. Harness the power of the Internets and someone will tell you (or maybe already has), and then your curiosity will be sated without you having to make it a trust issue between you and your BF.
posted by pineapple at 10:27 AM on September 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


erm...i think the "framing on the wall" issue is being misconstrued, as we could read the poster's reference to "on the wall, when I brush my teeth, framed in the bathroom, on his ring finger" to mean "i see his ring in the framed mirror on the wall when he's brushing his teeth every morning."

if that's all that's being referred to, yeah, let it go. if, however, there are framed icons on the wall, then yeah, wtfo?
posted by garfy3 at 10:31 AM on September 10, 2006


Ya know, I'm still more concerned about the OP's need to know versus Frat Boy's need to keep his symbols sekrit.

If I knew that my SO was sneaking around trying to discover someting like this, I'd take it as a serious sign of immatureity and insecurity. What's she going to do next, start reading all of my email to make sure I'm not sleeping secretly on the side with my friends?

My SO's dad is a Mason. His wife doesn't know everything about what he does as a Mason, even though she's involved in the ladies' chapter (and they're very forward in being a ladies' chapter in that they aren't referred to EVER as auxillaries) and helps with all of the social events for the Masons. That's just the way things are; it's a sign of her trust and faith in him that she doesn't *need* to know, and it's a sign to her of his faithfulness, trustworthiness, and fidelity that he doesn't reveal things he's made vows not to reveal.
posted by SpecialK at 11:08 AM on September 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


If you don't like this shit, then don't date frat boys. I find it very weird that this would all of a sudden start to bother you - it isn't as if this bizarre secretive frat crap just sprang out of nowhere.

As far as your question, do exactly what MattD said. I knew a deactivated member of another frat who was fairly bitter, and I'm sure that some alcohol would have opened him up quite easily.
posted by gatorae at 11:32 AM on September 10, 2006


Doesn't it bother you more that this is a grown man acting like he has the Little Orphan Annie Secret Decoder Ring?

Exactly.

And Jesus, I had no idea MeFi was crawling with Exalted Poohbahs of the Glorious Tree Toads who regard with awe the Solemn Oath they swore to all past and future Tree Toads NEVAR TO REVEAL the Sacred Secrets! Well, whatever makes you happy. But she's still going to have to decide if she's OK with the Tree Toads being more important than she is.
posted by languagehat at 11:33 AM on September 10, 2006 [2 favorites]


And, Jesus, I had no idea that some people still place so much significance in secret societies and their exclusive nature that they take it all so personally!

But she's still going to have to decide if she's OK with the Tree Toads being more important than she is.

That's one very defensive way to look at it. Another is... the way everyone else has said it: that yes, the Exalted Poohbahs' seekrits are a bit silly, and that yes, the OP's commensurate reaction is also silly.

If she really is defining her own self-worth by whether a frat keeps secrets, the issues on the table are really nothing to do with the Tree Toads.
posted by pineapple at 11:45 AM on September 10, 2006


He'll probably get over it as he gets older and tell you feeling silly about the whole thing. He might be into something similiar (mysterious, pretentious) like Kabllah or eastern philosophies by then. If youre okay with his personality type as-is this shouldnt be a big deal. If this ring is a symptom of a larger issue then you have something to talk/think about.
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:51 AM on September 10, 2006


It doesn't mean that the Exalted Tree Toads are more important than she is.

Say I mention some vaguely embarrassing thing that Bob did in college -- The Grapefruit Incident -- over the phone and my schmoopie asks me what it was. If I tell her, "I'm sure Bob would rather I didn't get into any specifics, but it was a harmless dumb college thing," does that mean that I think Bob is more important than my widdle schmoopie? If she presses and I refuse, am I making it clear that I really do value Bob more than her, or is she being nosy about stuff she should lay off about?

Or say that I don't reveal to my schmoopie the size, firmness, and ease of passage of my bowel movement, even when she asks. Does that mean that I think my feces are more important than my schmoopie, or does it mean that my schmoopie is being pointlessly nosy about something I'd rather not discuss that's of no importance?

The rituals of the Exalted Tree Toads fit firmly into the "Why would anyone give a shit?" category. It's sheer pointless nosiness to which "It's a stupid fraternity thing" should be a sufficient answer. Does it really matter whether the answer is that it spells out the names of the founders, or that it's the initials of the motto, or, shit, even that it spells out EAT AT JOE'S in Attic Greek, or whatever? Why on earth would anyone want to know it, except that it's a part of his life that she wasn't part of?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:53 AM on September 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


It is absolutely ludicrous that he won't tell you. Sounds to me like exactly the kind of guy who's going to think that affairs are par for the course, since you're "just the wife" anyway -- after all, what is the purpose of old boys' clubs if not to exclude women? On its own, this isn't significant, but what it reveals about him is concerning.

Basically, if he won't tell you what his secret "values" are, you should probably assume the worst. Maybe I'm just petty, but I would certainly break up with someone over this.
posted by reklaw at 11:54 AM on September 10, 2006


Oh, and tell him that he has three choices:

1. Tell you what it means.
2. Stop wearing it.
3. Start looking for a new girlfriend.

That is all.
posted by reklaw at 11:56 AM on September 10, 2006


I have no idea how people think that a guy who keeps his promises is the kind of guy that will think affairs are par for the course.
posted by SpecialK at 12:01 PM on September 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


This thread reminds of that play about three friends ("ART"??), one of whom buys an an extreme abstract painting: the characters of all of them are revealed by their reaction to it.
posted by londongeezer at 12:06 PM on September 10, 2006


Please, enough of the pop psychology! None of this is going to help the poster and her obnoxious, smarmy, unable-to-put-away-childish-things boyfriend salvage their doomed relationship from the rocks of passive aggression!
posted by riotgrrl69 at 12:45 PM on September 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


Basically, if he won't tell you what his secret "values" are, you should probably assume the worst.

There aren't any "secret values." Those are available for anyone to see. In this case, they're "brotherhood, scholarship, and character." In the case of other fraternal orgranizations, they'll be something else that's vaguely positive in a mealy-mouthed Up With People sort of way.

The only thing that's secret is what Roman or Greek letters the weird symbols stand for, and what words those are the first letters of. Why would you care?

Maybe I'm just petty, but I would certainly break up with someone over this.

You're petty. Would you also break up with someone who wouldn't tell you what Bob did in college to earn the nickname Captain Wombat because Bob would prefer you didn't, or someone who wouldn't discuss his or her bowel movements with you?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:54 PM on September 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


Wow, talk about slippery-slope arguments! Because he won't reveal something he swore to never tell, he must be going to cheat on you!

Frankly, I'd be more worried if he told you at the drop of a hat. His behavior says something about his committment and loyalty to the organization that he loves. It should be reassuring that, as something else he loves, you can expect the same kind of treatment.
posted by chrisamiller at 12:55 PM on September 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


Please, enough of the pop psychology! None of this is going to help the poster

I tried to be helpful before, but if it didn't stick:
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:04 PM on September 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


It should be reassuring that, as something else he loves, you can expect the same kind of treatment.

"Gosh! He loves me as much as he loves the Tree Toads! *sniff* I'm... I'm the happiest girl in the world!"

Somehow I don't think being placed on the same level as a frat would give me a tremendous sense of reassurance. But that's just me.

Say I mention some vaguely embarrassing thing that Bob did in college -- The Grapefruit Incident -- over the phone and my schmoopie asks me what it was.

My wife and I tell each other things like that, always with the understanding that it will go no further. If you can't trust your schmoopie with other people's secrets, you can't trust them with your own, and that's not a good basis for a schmoopic relationship.

Please, enough of the pop psychology! None of this is going to help the poster and her obnoxious, smarmy, unable-to-put-away-childish-things boyfriend salvage their doomed relationship from the rocks of passive aggression!

Heh.
posted by languagehat at 1:04 PM on September 10, 2006


It still seems to me that the healthier response to what Bob did or what the letters stand for is "It's a stupid, ordinary college thing that others would rather I didn't go into detail about," and the healthy response to that is "Oh, okay."

I mean, really, why would you care? You're allowed to have had a life before you met your schmoopie, and you're allowed to have a life distinct from your schmoopie. Part of that is, sometimes, knowing harmless things that others would rather not have passed on to your schmoopie. Yeah, if push comes to shove you should go ahead and tell them rather than alienate them, but it takes a pretty shallow person to be alienated by stuff like that.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:53 PM on September 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


It's not the fact that he swore never to tell (stupid as that is), so much as the fact that he wears it on a ring. If he didn't go round wearing such a thing, there obviously wouldn't be (much of) a problem. It's not just something he's keeping private -- it's something he's deliberately and aggressively keeping private, for no good reason, and then effectively sticking in her face every day. This might not necessarily mean he has affairs, but it certainly sends some big "I'm a fuckhead" messages.

And yes, I would break up with someone who wouldn't discuss bowel movements. Why should anything be off limits?
posted by reklaw at 1:54 PM on September 10, 2006


Oh, and tell him that he has three choices:

1. Tell you what it means.
2. Stop wearing it.
3. Start looking for a new girlfriend.

That is all.


any man worth a damn would pick the third one
posted by Rubbstone at 1:57 PM on September 10, 2006 [3 favorites]


Yeah, to finish things off, what Rubbstone said.
posted by SpecialK at 2:03 PM on September 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


Rubbstone has it; any self-respecting man would start looking for a new girlfriend if given such an ultimatum over something like this.

I guess I don't understand some people. Swearing an oath is swearing an oath whoever you are swearing it in front of. It's not about silly or not silly, it's about keeping your promises.
posted by Justinian at 2:07 PM on September 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


1. Let the baby have his bottle.
2. Don't get into a romantic relationship with a fucking baby.
posted by I Foody at 2:12 PM on September 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


I am an alumnus of a fraternal-ish organization (the "ish" only because we were coeducational). I wouldn't tell my girlfriend any of the secrets either, mainly because I promised not to, but at least a little because they are banal enough that she would laugh me out of the room. In any case, if you do end up marrying the guy, you are probably then allowed to know.

You should let him keep his secret, because the promise is important to him, and once you know, it will not be important to you, and he's still broken his promise. Find out if you must, but don't mention it to him. I promise it will not be worth the minimal effort required.

I have a sentimental attachment to my own organization that really has nothing to do with formal secrets, but with the people I met there and the experiences I had. The secrets are just a way of formalizing a weird kind of circle of friends.

People seem to get really excited about what should be a pretty minor thing on both sides. They should break up over this? How do you people make a relationship last more than an hour?

And the fraternity-bashing is a little over the top too--you get out what you put in, and if that's beer-swilling jocks, so be it. I'm sure those guys would find a way to be idiots even if it didn't involve the magical power of Greek letters. They may represent a large part of fraternity members, but certainly not all.
posted by lackutrol at 2:19 PM on September 10, 2006


It's not the fact that he swore never to tell (stupid as that is), so much as the fact that he wears it on a ring. If he didn't go round wearing such a thing, there obviously wouldn't be (much of) a problem.

So, this also holds true for the Masons, then, who frequently wear pins or jewelry displaying their logo? They've got some obligation to the rest of us? Should the people who participate in the four-day Emmaus/Cursillo program also have to go around sharing the full details of their experience before being allowed to put the bumper sticker on their cars?

There is a lot of projection about "my own level of comfort with disclosure" going on here, and a real lack of perspective. They are not married. It's doubtful they are even living together. Her email address indicates that they are still in college, actually, so he might even be a newly minted member -- and then it's hardly a case of juvenile refusal to let go of childish things. If he's 19 years old, and they've been dating for 2 months, is his keeping the secret as promised still inappropriate?

Just because she REALLY REALLY REALLY!!! wants to know doesn't actually mean he owes her anything.

Yes, we can surmise he might be incredibly fratty (a ring and a picture in the bathroom, OMG), but we can also surmise that she's unreasonably hung up on it.

That it has now been decided by MeFites that he's harboring adulterous tendencies, incapable of real love, and fraught with immaturity and passive-aggression, is really just silly.
posted by pineapple at 2:26 PM on September 10, 2006


It's not the fact that he swore never to tell (stupid as that is), so much as the fact that he wears it on a ring.

It's a college ring, for God's sake. Why get uptight about a college ring?

It's not just something he's keeping private -- it's something he's deliberately and aggressively keeping private, for no good reason

I see it more as nosing into something that's not relevant to anything. There's no reason for summer1158 to know pointless little secrets like that except for pure nosiness, or an insistence that her boyfriend can't have any part of his life -- including his past -- that she's not so completely and utterly the most important part of that nobody else matters.

Yeah, wearing big rings and blethering about how important it is isn't a great thing to do, but unless this guy is 40 all it says is that he's young with normal youthful enthusiasms, much the same way that 20-year-olds can be very earnest and serious about their favorite band.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:35 PM on September 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


It's a double-edged sword. If he breaks the oath and tells her the secret to appease her curiosity, then he's an oath breaker. If she's this hung up about his keeping the secret, she's just as likely to pillory him for giving it up a couple years down the road.
posted by FYKshun at 2:48 PM on September 10, 2006


Let it go - he is not obligated to break his oaths for you, even if they were stupid oaths to begin with. Respect his integrity, already.

If you can't trust your schmoopie with other people's secrets, you can't trust them with your own, and that's not a good basis for a schmoopic relationship. - languagehat

I have some very good friends who think this way, and I can not confide anything about my relationship with my husband to the wife, because she invariably tells her husband, who then, out of honest concern, checks in with my husband to make sure everything's okay. All you do by sharing your friend's secrets with your spouse is prove to your friends that you aren't trustworthy.

(This does not apply, by the way, to grapefuit incidents, which one must always share with one's spouse, because that is just comedy gold.)
posted by joannemerriam at 3:12 PM on September 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


dump him. or let it go. it is, after all, just a frat thing.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 3:38 PM on September 10, 2006


It's simple. Start wearing a ring with a Rorschach design. When he asks about it, let him guess, and his guesses will give you much to talk about, similar to how people's attitudes to this question have revealed much about them.

Reklaw and languagehat, I'm looking at you.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 4:29 PM on September 10, 2006


On further reflection, I agree that this discussion is a bit overheated for a relationship that may or may not be headed for marriage. Furthermore, lots of wives/girlfriends have no problem with their significant others keeping secrets from them, and that's great. But the poster is clearly not one of them, and I think she should get some support for her feeling that she deserves to know. However, taking into account the deep feelings of the Tree Toads about their deep oaths, I agree that she shouldn't push it. Instead, I vote for Mr. Gunn's solution of ostentatiously wearing some mysterious symbol she refuses to explain to him. Fun for all!

I have some very good friends who think this way, and I can not confide anything about my relationship with my husband to the wife, because she invariably tells her husband, who then, out of honest concern, checks in with my husband to make sure everything's okay. All you do by sharing your friend's secrets with your spouse is prove to your friends that you aren't trustworthy.

Obviously some people are like this. My wife and I would never do that. When I say "just between us," that's what I mean.
posted by languagehat at 5:07 PM on September 10, 2006


I am a sorority alum (well, a women's fraternity, if you're technical about such distinctions), and I am sitting here trying to decide if I would ever tell an SO about the standards behind the Greek letters on our crest.

None of them ever really much gave a crap that I was in a house at all, much less about our secrets and rituals. Well, except when they hear I broke my arm during initiation, but whatever. I would prefer not to tell. None of my previous boyfriends asked, anyway.

I like the Rorschach ring idea. I would totally wear one.
posted by astruc at 6:42 PM on September 10, 2006


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