Busboys and Other Rituals

by Mark on October 4, 2010

The engagement of my son reminds me of my own courtship. It began under less-than-stellar intentions with some Greek goddesses; included an ancient ritual; with some assistance from a nun; and sealed forever by a secret code.

I was a busboy at the Kappa Delta Sorority House, a now defunct Ohio University institution. The goals were simple: free food; dates with the campus’s most beautiful women; and eventual promotion to house boy where you whispered, “Man on the floor,” while sneaking up the staircase. I achieved two out of three.

With smiles and white jackets we served the sorority their meals to the sound of hand bell rang by the house mother, a Catholic nun. After battling these holy sisters for most of my youth, it should not have surprised me one guarded paradise. These Greek goddesses were dressed to kill in the evenings, but resembled the living dead at weekend breakfasts after too much partying. They were sweet and actually serenaded us with busboy songs. Most importantly, one-by-one they enjoyed dating busboys.

After a month or so I began believing the nun housemother was a positive sign with movies, dinner, and partying with shockingly beautiful sorority sisters. One fateful day the door slammed shut. They all politely turned me down. When I persisted, they replied, “AOT.” When asked what that meant, they smiled and shrugged.

It turned out one of their sorority sisters, Kathy Palmer, was contemplating asking me to the sorority formal. Just that simple intention labeled me as untouchable, like a plague. Kathy was a cutie, who was also reputed to be one of the best beer-chuggers on campus. Beer was cheap and our courtship bloomed. Before you know it we were ‘laveliered’ at a in the middle of a secret candle ritual at the sorority house. In addition to my former dates, the nun stood there with a wicked smile behind her flame. Everyone hugged and repeated, “AOT.”

The ritual created some magic. Within months we were engaged and a year or so later married. At the wedding reception the sorority lined up in another circle, serenaded us, and added some AOT’s for good measure. I finally pried the meaning of AOT out of my beautiful bride. It is Greek for “Each to the other true.” That magic has worked for us now thirty-six years and counting.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Pat Newcomb October 6, 2010 at 9:56 am

Hi Mark,

What a wonderful tribute to your love and a promise made over thirty-six years ago! May you and Kathy be blessed with many more years of AOT.

Your Mom and Dad did a great job raising you.

All the best my friend,

Lynn Maxim October 6, 2010 at 7:37 pm

Loved your blog today! I am sure your children enjoyed you sharing your memories of your own courtship and engagement.

Taylor Smith November 11, 2015 at 9:01 pm

This is the BIGGEST JOKE I’ve ever read! As an initiated Kappa Delta sister and the President of my chapter, your wife should be ashamed because that is a secret ritual held by the bonds of our sisterhood and it should not be taken lightly. You have NO idea of what AOT actually means because it is not YOUR lifestyle! It is a Kappa Delta thing and because you’re married into it, doesn’t mean you’re a part of it. End of story.

Mark November 21, 2015 at 9:08 am

Dear Taylor

Because of the actions of a few, Kappa Delta closed their Ohio University Chapter, leaving my wife and many of her other sisters in the lurch. The meaning of AOT died with the decision. I do appreciate the feedback.


T April 4, 2016 at 12:08 am

Kappa Delta is a national sorority with over 200,000 initiated into it worldwide. AOT was not only an Ohio University thing, but a Kappa Delta sorority thing as a whole. AOT means so much to all 200,000+ KD women. If you look up the KD crest, you will see the words AOT in the middle, which is a watchword to us all. While I am happy you relate our ritual to your marriage, I am saddened you revealed one of our dearest secrets.

Xxx December 25, 2016 at 6:06 pm

You should delete this article out of respect for KD’s

taytay September 27, 2017 at 11:26 am

You should delete this article out of respect for Kappa Delta. If you have a daughter, I hope she pledges a different sorority and will keep their secrets and commitment to her sisters. It is a shame that nothing can be kept as a secret any longer. Few people have respect for anything.

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