TotalFratMove.com has become nothing short of an online bible for college guys across America. Their news stories, comedy articles and advice columns are the first thing that guys read in the morning before hitting class and the last thing they read before they pass out by the toilet after a night of partying.
Thankfully, TFM is there when you wake up from your boozy slumber with some choice reading material for the bathroom throne. Site creators Madison Wickham, Ryan Young and Ross Bolen have released Total Frat Move: The Book. Think of it as TFM for the literary bro on the go.
We had a chance to sit down with TFM’s Ross Bolen to discuss the finer points of frat livin’.
Eitan Levine: Tell me about the start of the Total Frat Move website and how you guys decided to adapt it into a book.
Ross Bolen: TotalFratMove.com was launched on June 1, 2010 by Madison Wickham and Ryan Young. I went to college with Madison and Ryan, who were older members of my fraternity, so in December, right before I graduated, they hired me as their first employee and staff writer. Shortly thereafter we received an email from a literary agent, Byrd Leavell, stating that he thought our brand offered a great opportunity for a bestselling book to be created. I obviously jumped at the opportunity, and before I knew it Byrd was guiding me through the stages of building a book proposal. We sold the book to Ben Greenberg at Grand Central Publishing a few months later, and then I spent a year or so writing it.
EL: How much of the book is based on reality and how much is made up?
RB: When I started writing the book one of my goals was to make it the most realistic representation of modern day fraternity life as possible, so everything in the book is actually inspired by reality. Whether the inspiration came from something I lived personally, heard about on campus, or was told by a friend who went to another school, everything within the book was inspired by something. That being said, it is a fictional humor novel, so all of the characters, events, and stories have been fictionalized and molded together to embody fraternity life as a whole.
EL: What is your favorite story from the book?
RB: It’s really hard for me to pick a favorite chapter, because I like different ones for different reasons, but “Join or Die a GDI” and “Road Trip Raging” are two of my favorites. The former is a personal favorite because it really captures the excitement and total naivety that freshmen take into their first semester of rush, and highlights how unbelievably fun that time period is. The latter is great too though, because there’s really no other experience quite like a bus trip to New Orleans for fraternity formal. That many crazy fucks packed onto buses with girls and booze creates one hell of a party atmosphere.
EL: What is YOUR craziest college story?
RB: My chapter had an annual paint party, similar to the one in the first chapter of the TFM book. When I was a pledge I got blackout drunk at that party (when I wasn’t supposed to be drinking in the first place), and got a ride back to campus with a pledge brother, two hammered actives, and a girlfriend of ours. When we arrived back on campus and parked in a parking garage near the dorms, I got out and immediately started pissing all over the pavement. Keep in mind, I am wearing a bathing suit, no shoes, and no shirt, covered from head to toe in multi-colored paint. As I’m relieving myself a cop pulls into the parking garage and hits me with his spotlight. One of the guys I was with yelled, “Stop pissing! Stop pissing! Cops!” and I immediately tucked-and-rolled over the concrete barricade and out of the parking garage, because I was already on probation and couldn’t get arrested again. Unbeknownst to me, we weren’t parked on the first floor. I dropped two stories and landed with a thud in the grass next to — you guess it — another cop car. A few cracked ribs later I was arrested, charged with public intoxication, and pissed myself in the county jail drunk tank that night. The mug shot from that night is my personal favorite. Oh, and everyone else that was with me got MIPs only because I ran. The actives were not happy.
EL: Is there anything you did in college that you regret?
RB: No. Regret is for losers.
EL: What is next for Total Frat Move?
RB: We’re constantly building to get bigger and better, but hopefully the very next thing that happens is a massive celebration for the book becoming a New York Times bestseller. We’ve also got some really exciting stuff brewing in Hollywood.
EL: Do you have any tips for guys starting college? Any tips for people rushing?
RB: Don’t blow it.
Eitan Levine is a New York City based comic. Follow him on Twitter at @Eitanthegoalie .