Ethel & Hyde

Ethel & Hyde

Dear Ethel/Hyde,

I signed a lease about a week ago for a flat on Leith St with a bunch of mates and now we have received an invitation to an initiation, because it turns out one of our friends knows someone living there this year and gave them our names. I am very nervous about what we might have to do, because of some of the stories going around my college at the moment. Also, I know one of the others in my flat group gets anxiety attacks, but doesn’t want anyone else to know or ruin it for the rest of us. What can I do?


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Ethel says

In the relatively short length of time since initiations started here at Otago (less than 10 years), there has become a sense of obligation amongst certain flat groups to hold initiations, and that there is also a sense of obligation to attend these if you are invited. However, this obligation is made up and has no reality given that renting a house is an arrangement between the tenants and landlord, which has absolutely nothing to do with previous or exiting tenants. If you still feel obliged due to some sense of loyalty to a made up ‘ritual’, because you don’t want to look bad in front of other students, please remember you can walk away at any point, and refuse to do anything asked of you, even if you said yes a mere two minutes ago. Some initiations are simply social affairs where you sit around and have a beverage, rather than having to perform humiliating tasks for the voyeuristic pleasure of your peers, and I hope if you do choose to attend it is one of these. If it isn’t, then get your anxious friend and leave immediately; you will still be renting the flat next year regardless. If you are bullied into staying and humiliated with outrageous tasks, you will be entitled to press charges. Do not put your life at risk by excessive drinking. People die from doing that. Stay alive, stay sane, stay safe.


Hyde says

Dead people aren’t funny. Synchronised swimming on land is funny. Animal costumes are funny. Hospitals aren’t funny. Public humiliation is not funny. Naked people are funny. Feathers are messy. Allergies are not funny. Doppelgangers are useful. YOU are funny. But YOU aren’t. Making clay genitals is fun. Small confined spaces are not fun. Baking is yum. Eating boogers gives you protein. Chili highs are real. Eating pretend brains and worms is special. Brain damage isn’t fun. Swallowing helium is funnnnnnnyyyyy. Breaking bones is bonkers. Adult treasure hunts are fun. Rappin’s flappin. Making sense is over-rated. Cross-age dressing is wrong. Climbing trees is fun, falling out is dumb. Ice on roofs makes slippery grooves which ain’t gonna help funky moves. Ambulances are expensive. Student loans don’t go away if you’re excluded. Alfoil wraps keep you fresh. Poos and wees are for the toilet. Cream and lychee can never be spoilt. Puking is natural, better out than in, not all people can tho’, so coma is their end game, and then YOU’RE FUCKED. Make memories not enemies. 

This article first appeared in Issue 17, 2017.
Posted 2:14pm Sunday 30th July 2017 by Student Support.