While making my way through the kitchens of the sorority houses on campus, I came across two very different houseboys in the Delta Delta Delta house. Joseph Barnes, Sigma Pi junior, and Dan Mesenbrink, Sigma Pi alum, both work for Tri Delt and several other chapters through Keystone Food Services. Although Barnes and Mesenbrink pick up shifts where Keystone needs them, they mainly work at Tri Delt.
This is Barnes’s fifth semester at Tri Delt, and he believes his experience is unique because he became a houseboy “completely fresh,” and not knowing any previous houseboys. Mesenbrink on the other hand, said he entered into communication with Tri Delt’s kitchen staff after a philanthropy dinner between Sigma Pi and Tri Delt.
“One of the guys said, ‘We need some help back here in the kitchen anyways, so would you like a job?’” Mesenbrink said.
He started working in the kitchens in 2012, before graduating from OSU and moving to Tulsa for a, “big boy job.”
“Then I signed a Navy contract, and my boss at the time let me go. I knew I could this job back here in Stillwater, so I moved back until I ship out in May,” Mesenbrink said. He added that he will end up in Coronado, CA for Seals training.
Working in close proximity to a house full of sorority women has allowed Barnes to observe the members of Tri Delt. As he says, “everyone’s going to get along when there’s cake on the table.”
“They’re really comfortable because that’s their house," Barnes said. "They will tell you if they like the food or not. Apparently there’s no dress code on the first floor, they just walk in in their pajamas like, ‘Oh yeah, the house mom’s not here today,’ so they do whatever."
Mesenbrink said he knew more of the girls from when he was a houseboy in 2012.
“In 2012, I knew a lot of the girls that were there," he said. "Now that I’ve come back, most of those faces have come and gone. PC’09 was pretty rambunctious, but the girls that are there now are more reserved."
Tri Delt has seven houseboys. Despite coming from different chapters and backgrounds, they work well together, Mesenbrink and Barnes said.
“We come in, catch up on some dishes, maybe throw food, and just hang out," Barnes said. "We all get along pretty well together. Some of the other guys are SAEs, one’s not Greek and there’s no animosity among us, we just get along. Whenever I don’t have a shift, I’ll come over anyway to eat and shoot the s**t and have some fun."
The job isn’t always a walk in the park for these boys. Some days are worse than others when it comes to cleaning up after the girls. Occasionally, they have some little habits that get them down, Mesenbrink said.
“The most annoying thing would probably be when they drop the plates in the bucket and they splash you with the water. Some of them acknowledge it, but some of them just turn and walk away. Also, they have a bunch of different toppings in the salad line. It’s almost like a ritual for them to come by and put a little bit of cheese in ever other can. By the time you pull the salad bar in there’s cheese in everything and you have to pick it out,” Barnes said.
Mesenbrink's main complaint also pertained to washing the dishes.
“The most annoying thing is when they put things on their plate, take it up to their room and bring it back five days later," he said. "And then it’s impossible to clean, but I don’t let that bother me too much.
Both agreed that formal dinner is their least favorite part of the job, although they do find ways to make it more enjoyable. They said they often joke around behind the closed kitchen doors.
“It’s more work, but the party’s what you make it,” Barnes said.
One of Mesenbrink’s favorite stories from being a houseboy involves being invited to a date party. The theme was party animals and he went in a full bunny suit with a head mask, and ended up scaring some of the girls.
"There were some funny reactions. It was a pretty weird looking mask,” Mesenbrink said.Both guys agree that the houseboy gig is where it’s at: free food, flexible hours and valid excuses to spend time with sorority girls? What more could a college guy want out of a part-time job?