On the Ethics of Stealing from Parties

Beth Kutina, Self-diagnosed with sticky fingers syndrome

Illustration by Anna Stone.

Ladies, we’ve all been there. A house party. The sweaty bodies bumping into you as you try to dance to the third Grateful Dead song of the night.

Your stomach gurgles, the Cleveland Commons veggie burger and sweet potato fries somehow make a larger impact on your gastrointestinal tract than you anticipated. The three shots of Skol Vodka you took in your dorm room are starting to hit all at once, fueling your insatiable need to be mischievous.

From the corner of the living room, you spot it. The perfect knick-knack.

It could be a fridge magnet, a funky mug on the counter top, or a silly article of clothing from a mutual acquaintance. It doesn’t matter. Behind your drunken veil, you decide that the item you see belongs in your clutches, immediately, just for the moment. The scheming gears in your head begin to turn.

Before you start accusing me of romanticizing thievery, I should tell you that I’ve never purposefully stolen from an independent house party. More often than not, it is a legitimate mistake, one that becomes a sobering realization the day after. You may not believe me, but I promise it’s true. When I enter a house party, my goal is to dance as hard as I can, sweat even harder and wake up the next day headache-free.

The only time I’ve ever purposely stolen something from a party was at Beta Theta Pi. I remember the raw power and adrenaline that overcame me as I fled out the doors of the frat, pushing past ID checkers and party goers alike, an unopened game of Risk in hand. I was a mother bird providing for my housemates in the form of strategic board games. It was the most alive I’ve ever felt.

As a whole, stealing from parties does sound hard to rationalize. We are Whitman students, which means we are primed and ready to defend against any social injustices. Sure, we steal Yerba Mates from the Reid Café, but house parties are different. The treasures there don’t belong to the metaphorical ‘Man’ that we’ve been taught to stick it to.

However, I would argue there is one place where stealing from a party transcends any moral injustice and instead does more societal good for Whitman’s community. That place? Frats.

Let’s face it: Fraternities are the backbone of immorality at this college. They provide a support group for weird little dudes, which frankly I believe we need less of at this college. Stealing from them would be more than just a game of pleasure, it would be the grounds for feminist reclamation.

I’m not advocating for rummaging through the personal rooms of frat brothers. Frats are bad, but people’s private spaces should be left alone. However, I believe that their common spaces are for the common folk, their items akin to the free food left at the end of a WEB event.

Stealing from frats is more than just drunk fuckery, it is an ethical coming-of-age that all women should have the ability to participate in. Throughout history, women have been gatherers. We are evolutionarily adapted to acquire items for the household that are imperative for our well-being and survival. What the frats have provided for us is simply a way to explore feminine gathering niche that otherwise would be void at Whitman. Let us be women and let us steal.