The Movie “Promising Young Woman” Reminded Me That I’m Allowed to be Angry
You Do Not Have to Maintain a Bottomless Well of Forgiveness for Men
(Trigger Warning: this piece mentions sexual assault and suicide.)
I grew up trying not to be angry. I was taught anger was not productive, a waste of time, and a display of weakness. Strength meant moving on from whatever upset you and/or forgiving whoever was to blame. It wasn’t until college when I learned that you don’t have to forgive everyone and you don’t have to minimize your own feelings. This includes anger. Every woman I know has an array of stories about being catcalled, groped, or otherwise harassed or assaulted by men. It is so common that if I were to pitch this piece to a magazine they would probably say this subject matter is tired and the market is oversaturated. But we are more tired, and I am angry. I’m angry that women are told our discomfort and trauma do not matter, angry that women are expected to forgive and forget men’s bad behavior like mothers with misbehaving children, angry that women keep losing their lives to men who have grown up in a society where they are shown over and over again that they are superior. Promising Young Woman captures that anger, and the desperation associated with being vulnerable to a population that sidesteps repercussions.
Promising Young Woman follows Carry Mulligan in the role of Cassandra, on her quest to avenge the rape that lead to her best friend’s death by suicide. Early on, the viewer learns that Cassie’s friend’s rapist never faced any disciplinary action, graduated med school, and became a doctor. Cassie, on the other hand, dropped out of med school, refused to move out of her parent’s house and was unable to move forward with her career and life goals. Promising Young Woman delves into how men who do terrible things are often forgiven, and still perceived as kind and valuable contributing members to society. I went into the film knowing it might upset me because I still experience distress from a coercive partner almost a decade later. However, I could also tell from the trailer that many aspects of the movie might empower me. During the day, ex-medical student Cassie works at a bubblegum pink coffee shop and at night she poses as a vulnerable drunk woman at bars in order to bait men who would take advantage of a woman in that state. When the men climb on top of her, grope her, or attempt to undress her, she reveals that she is completely lucid. The shock the men experience is multi-faceted and varied as they all realize they have been caught doing something nefarious; some feel Cassie is to blame for pretending to be vulnerable enough to “get raped,” while others are distressed that their actions go against their self-perception as “Nice Guys,” even trying to argue that they are still Nice Guys after attempting sexual assault. The cast is stacked with genial male actors who do terrible things. This presentation of men who harass women as “normal” and charming is rare but more reflective of real life. I was eager to watch this story be told and disseminated into popular culture.
We can’t talk about Promising Young Woman without considering the antithesis, a Promising Young Man. The infamous Promising Young Man is the Stanford rapist, a freshman who raped an unconscious female student behind a dumpster. In the 2016 trial of the Stanford rapist, his father defended his son’s actions by describing him as a “promising young man” whose future would be ruined by a crime that was less than 20 minutes long. The undercurrent of this argument being that we should celebrate his son’s successes up until now and that his contributions to society outweigh the trauma he inflicted on the woman he raped, and because the length of the assault was so brief it was clearly a youthful mistake and relatively inconsequential in perspective with the rest of his son’s obviously stellar future. As the trial began, it drew on the “boys club” favoritism of the justice system that the rapist’s father knew prioritized men. The Stanford Rapist was sentenced to nine months in prison but only served six and was released on good behavior. After raping an unconscious woman, this “promising young man” essentially went on a shitty study abroad program to prison, before returning to his home and family and re-entering the world. The proliferation of the Promising Young Man, narrative infantilizes men’s actions as youthful mistakes. In the movie, as well as the Stanford rapist trial, female survivors are directly and indirectly told not to punish and scrutinize and ruin to young men. In another facet of victim-blaming, survivors are viewed as a snag in the history of a future powerful man. Survivors must live with the incidental trauma and the fact that disciplinary and judicial systems dismissed them in favor of their abuser. The action of inaction only further supports the patriarchal structure of male superiority and categorizes women as Jezebels trying to subjugate men. It allows men to move on with their lives while still considering themselves good people and believing women are exploitable. If the world believes a man can still be “promising” after raping an unconscious women, endless amounts of less atrocious behavior gets excused as well.
Furthermore, it is my assertion that a Promising Young Man becomes a “Nice Guy,” as the mythos of the Nice Guy is based on the supposed merit of not being a 100% monster. Much like the concept of the Promising Young Man, the label of Nice Guy acts as a band aide on men’s wrongdoing. The movie Promising Young Woman repeatedly shows how men who do hurtful and inappropriate things struggle to consider themselves anything other than nice even when they are faced with their own sins. I would personally bet money that the men who have groped me, threatened me, assaulted me, or obsessively harassed me still consider themselves Nice Guys. The actors in these Nice Guy roles in Promising Young Woman are familiar to most Americans as Nice Guy characters on TV and in movies: goofy McLovin from Superbad, endearing asshole Schmit from New Girl, kind Piz from Veronica Mars, sweet Seth Cohen from The OC… Whether we are aware of it or not, when we see this cast of male faces we are predisposed to believe they are good people, Nice Guys. Celebrated comedian, Bo Burnham plays the role of Ryan, a pediatrician and former classmate of Carrie’s. Renaissance man comedian-writer-director-performer Bo Burnham rose to popularity because of his self-deprecating, smart, and catchy humor largely in the form of jingles. He isn’t known as an actor, but a comedian. He has side swept brown hair over his forehead, a youthful shaved face, is tall and gangly, and dresses in simple t-shirts and jeans (the film predates the depression, hairiness, and nudity of his special Inside). Arguably the most powerful use of this dynamic casting is incorporating Burnham, who often plays a larger than life version of himself. This positions Burnham’s character as close to a real Nice Guy as possible. His appearance in the movie isn’t much different from the one he sported from the majority of his career, as though he just walked onto set as himself in a different dimension where he is a pediatrician named Ryan who owns a few collared shirts. Our minds are primed to accept Ryan, Bo Burnham’s character, as a real Nice Guy because it isn’t an actor playing Ryan it is America’s sweetheart viral comedian-at-a-keyboard. And in a bait-and-switch that angered some viewers and fans, the movie exposes all of these Nice Guys, including Ryan, as unscrupulous.
I have mentioned sexual assault quite a bit, but it is difficult to address the entire picture without discussing how even the most extreme actions like rape are downplayed and dismissed in our society when committed by a privileged white man. This dismissal leads to other inappropriate behavior being interpreted as mild and laudable simply for not being worse. Women and especially women of color, are expected to forgive all manner of actions while white men must merely forgive themselves. The logic of refusing to punish a man for his actions for the sake of his own self-preservation suggests he has an inherent value above everyone else. You can’t measure harm and “promise” against each other. In our current justice system, white men are allowed forgiveness and rehabilitation. They take priority when it comes to understanding, respect, and support. There are countless examples of this, such as Louis C.K.’s return to comedy after admitting to forcing women to watch him masturbate. The feelings and opinions of those he hurt did not matter, neither did forgiveness. Once again, a woman’s consent played no role in his actions. Despite being a predator, he decided he wanted to return to the stage. And while a Nice Guy forgives himself for his misdeeds, Cassie knows her only solace will be getting her friend’s rapist put away.
The summer between my Sophomore and Junior year of college I did an internship with the local newspaper. I lived with a close friend in a house off campus, the same house that would also be my residence for the next year. She worked at the YMCA kids camp and I did half-days at the newspaper, using the rest of my time to work on my book. We also had a friend doing astronomy research, although she was practically nocturnal. My boyfriend and I were long-distance for the summer until he arrived on campus in the fall. One of my future housemates was also in town, working at a winery and living in his frat’s party house off-campus*. For the sake of this story, we will call him Jack. In the balmy summer months the campus empties, professors and town residents can enjoy the quiet, and the remaining students form group chats and email chains to coordinate potlucks. Time moves slowly in the 100 plus degree heat and the college bubble relaxes, reminding us that there’s more to town than the academic hub we hunker down in for most of the year. In general students who stay over the summer find it relaxing and low-stress.
Jack made summer stressful for me. Jack had my phone number because the house had a group chat. We were friendly, as he was also an English major, and we had an overlapping social circle. Nobody disliked him, and he was known around campus as a funny and Nice Guy. But we hadn’t spent any sustained time together. I was outspoken in my classes and we had shared at least one class, maybe two. Perhaps that is how Jack decided he had a crush on me and that he needed to call me…a lot.
When former classmate Ryan stops by her coffee shop, Cassie is cold towards his attempt to reconnect and flirt with her. After noticing her irritation, he assures her that he had nothing to do with the guys in their class that raped her friend. Cassie spits in his coffee. Ryan drinks the coffee in front of her, remarking that he probably deserves it considering he once associated with that crowd. From Cassie’s first interaction of Ryan, I suspected he was a self-forgiving Nice Guy. He presents himself as charming, smiley, and seemingly aware of his faults, drinking her spit in a twisted romantic gesture. But in the cafe, a space so Pepto-Bismal pink, all interactions are somewhat sickening. Ryan asks her out and Cassie gives him a fake phone number. Ryan returns to request her real number, aware that she had given him a fake phone number. His refusal to accept Cassie’s boundaries was when I knew for certain that Ryan’s character was not a Nice Guy. However, like Cassie I had to learn from experience to recognize that sort of selfish behavior.
At first when Jack started to call and text me about hanging out, I assumed he was lonely. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to hang out as friends, but he rarely, if ever, asked if the friend I lived with wanted to come along. She was also an English major and in the same classes. He pushed for me to go to his house for their parties. I made it clear to Jack that I had a boyfriend. The repeated invitation to parties with heavy drinking struck me as less of a friendship-building tactic and more of a well-your-boyfriend-isn’t-here tactic. I felt disrespected, targeted, and avoided Jack’s phone calls. I told him I wasn’t free. Most days I went from hunching over the old man sports-writer’s dirty keyboard writing filler about some band visiting town, to hunched over my laptop on my bed in our house without air-conditioning trying to create an unsolvable murder. If I called someone three or more times and they said they couldn’t hang out, I would leave them alone. Brushing Jack off should have been enough.
Cassie employs several tactics to show and tell Ryan that she is not interested in him, but he pursues her regardless. Once Ryan recognizes Cassie at the coffee shop, he is only thinking about what he wants. He wants Cassie to like him and go out with him, and he wants her forgiveness for spending time with her friend’s rapist in med school. He takes Cassie’s repeated dismissal of him as her ignorance of his worth. As Ryan continues to show up at the coffee shop to woo her, he is only thinking about the relationship he wants, ignoring her protestations. If he had an internal monologue I would imagine it might go something like this: Well she gave me a fake phone number but she probably didn’t mean it because I am a Nice Guy. Well she keeps telling me to go away but she just hasn’t gotten to know how special I am yet because I am a Nice Guy. Well she says she wants nothing to do with the guys from our med school class but I don’t count because I am a Nice Guy and didn’t rape anyone. Similar to Cassie, I had my own goals and did not want anyone to bother me. Similar to Ryan’s persistence, Jack continued to call and text me.
Jack’s calls became so frequent that my friend started to pick them up. When I saw the calls coming in, I wanted to run somewhere he couldn’t find me. When a woman walks down the street and a man catcalls them, she may be able to tell him to fuck off safely knowing she will never see him again. When a woman keeps getting asked out by a coworker she does not want to go out with, it gets much more complicated. Telling a coworker no, or to fuck off can make a hostile working environment. Telling someone you are going to live with or currently live with to leave you alone means introducing tension and resentment to your home. My friend and I tried to laugh it off as Jack being really lonely, but again, he never called my friend to hang out. I would have been fine telling Jack outright to leave me alone if we weren’t going to live in the same house that year. Jack wasn’t dangerous, but there would be social repercussions to upsetting him, so I tried to keep things light by telling him I wasn’t ever available and avoiding him. If I can avoid making another person feel bad, I try to. In the case with Jack, I trod lightly because it was the easiest way to avoid discomfort later down the line when we lived together, shared classes, and did theater. While unfair, women often feel the need to be the ones to prevent social disruptions when interacting with men. I was conflict-averse because I knew anything negative said about me would stick in a way it wouldn’t for him. I didn’t have the protection of a “Nice Guy” reputation.
I had successfully thwarted guys acting creepy before. My freshman year there was a guy who would not stop staring at me in the dining hall. He had a long thin face and round overly-alert eyes. For a few days, I tried to convince myself that he wasn’t watching me with a million excuses: it was a small dining hall, everyone was aware of everyone else to some degree and his eyes were unnaturally wide which could have made it appear like he was staring at me. Maybe I looked familiar or maybe I was being paranoid, having grown up in a major city and extra aware of my surroundings. Then my roommate noticed and asked if I knew him. His unsettling behavior continued for weeks. There was no way he could have interpreted my fearful glances as flirting. I didn’t smile at him or flutter my eyelashes or some other thing a person defending him might say. I tried my best to ignore him. I hit my limit at about a month. Anger took the wheel. I shot up from my seat, walked over to where he and his friends were sitting, introduced myself, sat down, and forcefully joined the conversation. I could tell by the look of surprise on his face that he understood that I was aware he had been staring at me and wasn’t afraid to take action. It worked; he stopped staring at me in the dining hall. A year or so later I was chatting with a female friend and mentioned the incident. She said the guy was actually “really nice” and just “awkward.” I refused to let her dismiss his behavior. We weren’t children on the bus gawking at a tall person. He stared at me for weeks, but he was just awkward? It didn’t matter if he was nice to her or not, he spent day after day in the dining hall watching me. If a male student had experienced the same thing, he and his friends would have no problem condemning a female student’s behavior as inappropriate and unhinged. When a man is persistent towards a woman who has shown no interest in him, it is seen as innocent and romantic or misguided but sweet. All manner of inappropriate behavior should be condemned regardless of whether it is romantic in nature. My anger, and the action it instigated were what worked to get him to leave me alone.
In addition to trying to avoid a toxic living situation in the future, I didn’t want Jack going around telling people I was a bitch. The situation with Jack got me stuck between a rock and a hard place. I could choose between an uncertain future of being harassed or slandered, or try to hang out just to get him out of my hair. Our college had less than 1,500 students and I was the only Evelyn. It isn’t as simple as not caring about what other people think of you when your college is small enough that everybody is familiar with each other but doesn’t necessarily know them. This environment makes it easy for gossip to take hold even if the “information” isn’t spread maliciously. If enough students start hearing you are a bitch you might not get invited to social gatherings, get cast in student theater productions, or get voted into student government. No matter how much I deflected Jack in an attempt to keep things casual and inoffensive, he kept calling. He did not listen and instead followed his own narrative where I guess I was playing “hard to get” because I actually yearned for him and wanted to cheat on my boyfriend but was too coy… To this day I cannot make it make sense. Besides, the concept of “hard-to-get” must be something men created to justify nagging women. A similar situation plays out with Cassie in Promising Young Woman.
Cassie eventually relents to Ryan, not that there was really another option. As a person working in customer service, Cassie was vulnerable to him showing up to harass her every day until the end of time. She goes out with Ryan and gives him the benefit of the doubt because he presents as kind and truly interested in her as a person. She even apologizes to him about being difficult. They keep dating, get intimate, and seem to be falling in love. Then Ryan reveals that doesn’t believe her friend’s rapist deserves to be punished because it could ruin his upcoming marriage and career as a doctor. This assertion shows that Ryan is in line with the Promising Young Man structure where men should be protected from the consequences of their actions on account of their inherent worth. Cassie is upset by this admission but doesn’t write Ryan off completely even though he exposes himself as an active part of a system she wants to dismantle. If Ryan had accepted Cassie’s repeated deflections, she wouldn’t have been involved with someone who had different values where it mattered to her most.
I kept pushing back against Jack’s advances, and then his behavior escalated with a series of drunk voicemails. I woke up to a voicemail from around midnight where he was talking in circles and asking me to come hang out at his house right now because they were having a party. It made my stomach churn and I didn’t respond. Maybe a week later, I woke up to a second drunk voicemail. This one was worse. He swore and insulted me, and then pleaded for me to come over and hang out. I can’t remember the exact words but it could be summarized as “ You never come over. Fuck you for not being here! Please come over…” I shared the voicemail with my friend for her opinion. He may have left me another similar voicemail. It became clear to me that Jack wasn’t going to leave me alone until I hung out with him.
I re-asserted to Jack that I had no interest in going to the parties because I didn’t drink and I had work in the morning. He invited me to brunch. Similar to how Ryan had worn Cassie down and convinced her that she had been the issue preventing them from getting to know each other and having a good time, I started to wonder if maybe I was being difficult and Jack really did just want to be friends. I had to fight the voice that said I had been rude. But once again, my friend who was also an English major in our year wasn’t invited. If he was looking for friends, he could have had two! I agreed to go to brunch with him out of sheer exhaustion, in hopes that he would understand I was not romantically interested in him if we spent more time together. I didn’t want to relent to Jack’s harassment, but it felt like an opportunity to get him off my back without spoiling the future house dynamic or besmirching my reputation. I also planned to mention my boyfriend enough so that he would know I was serious about my relationship. We talked about books. I refused to let Jack pay for me in fear of giving him the “wrong impression.” I know people don’t owe anything to those who treat them to a meal, but it is a problematic standard still held by many men and I didn’t want to accept anything from Jack.
Cassie meets an old classmate for lunch and later receives a video from the night of the party. The footage proves that Ryan had lied about attending the party. It shows that Ryan had done nothing to intervene to prevent his friend from raping Cassie’s friend. Ryan comments on the vulnerable state of Cassie’s friend as the guys at the party mess with her. He says “oh my god, this is insane,” with the intonation of a person watching something they know shouldn’t, but enjoying it. Ryan is even heard saying that they should not be filming, acknowledging that he is aware they are engaging in obviously vile behavior. Cassie tricks Ryan into watching the video, he huffs uncomfortably as she pushes against him holding the phone to his face. He says he doesn’t remember and tells her to put the video away. Then Ryan demands her forgiveness and tries to excuse himself from blame because he was a “kid.” He changes tactics when Cassie says she has no intention to forgive him, chastising her “so you’re perfect right, you’ve never done anything you’re ashamed of?” At the prospect of Cassie releasing the video and getting him fired from his pediatric job, Ryan raises his voice “then we both won’t be doctors, you fucking failure!” This interaction between Ryan and Cassie perfectly illustrates the thought process of a man who has grown up with the privilege of always being forgiven: the Promising Young Man turned Nice Guy. Ryan is complicit in the gender power imbalance where men forgive themselves, other men, and expect forgiveness from women when they act inappropriately.
After the meal Jack insisted we go wine tasting, even though he knew I didn’t drink. I told him I didn’t want to go — but it wasn’t never about me. He pressured me more and I contemplated if he was trying to get me drunk. I felt stuck and relented to one place, even though I was also concerned he would get tipsy and start insulting me like in the voicemail. Still, I had gotten this far without causing future issues, I could do it a tiny bit longer! I stood at the bar with my box of leftover pancakes as Jack told a server that he “worked in the industry” and was a “Comparative Literature Major” (or some other conceited way to say English). I told the server that I was just an English major and then told Jack that he sounded pretentious. He finished the flight of wines and I said I wanted to go home. Jack said we had to stop by the next tasting room because it was on the way. I pouted through a second performance of “I work in the industry,” and Jack tried to get me to go to a third tasting room. I starkly refused, my patience dwindling. He insisted on walking me home. I spied a writhing caterpillar on the hot sidewalk and remarked that I needed a minute to scoop it up and put it in a potted plant. Jack made some disparaging comments and kept walking. You don’t have to know me well to know that I will help a caterpillar. I was more of an accessory to Jack. It was about what he wanted and the version of myself that he had created in his mind. Jack followed me into the house, under the guise that this was going to be his home soon. My friend came out of her bedroom and met us in the foyer. We gave each other incredulous looks. Jack left eventually after I made certain he didn’t forget anything so he had no excuses to return.
In the film, Burnham’s character Ryan demonstrates that not raping or murdering people doesn’t automatically make you a Nice Guy. You can appear unassuming, friendly, even sweet, say nice words, be a pediatrician, and lie, coerce people, and be a rape-apologist. Ryan’s selfishness to be with Cassie even after she has rejected him over and over again is the kind of entitled behavior that men engage in to distance themselves and absolve themselves from everything from harassing to killing women. When he is caught lying, Ryan tries to double-down saying he does not remember, because he knows remembering will get him in more trouble. When that fails he demands forgiveness and claims he was a “kid” and therefore didn’t know any better, even though med school students are in their mid-twenties. Ryan attempts to guilt Cassie out of releasing the footage because it will harm his own career, insinuating that the nobility of his career should outweigh his mistakes. Lastly Ryan insults Cassie, calling her a failure, suggesting that the right response would have been to forgive and forget like everyone else in the class. He tries to insult her into believing that her pain should be pushed aside with her desire for justice in favor of doing something of promise, like becoming a doctor. Ryan knew the whole time that he was lying to Cassie about being present the night of the rape, and socializing with the other guys in their class. Ryan chose to lie because he knew Cassie wouldn’t give him the time of day if she knew that he had let her friend get raped that night. However, Ryan didn’t care that he was involved in the incident, because he was under the impression Cassie would never find out. He wanted to be with her so badly that he didn’t care that his previous actions were morally questionable because he had forgiven himself long ago, even though he was never the victim.
My boyfriend arrived in the Fall and we ran into Jack on the house’s staircase. I had been telling my boyfriend about Jack’s behavior on our nightly phone calls and looked forward to my boyfriend’s presence to influence Jack to leave me alone. I wish it wasn’t the case that some men don’t take women’s dismissal seriously until they physically see their partners, but c’est la vie. After I introduced them Jack stopped bothering me. Then Jack adopted a macho veneer, calling my boyfriend “ dirty dog,” and asking him to get beers every time they crossed paths. I wonder if Jack’s small stature had anything to do with the way others perceived him as funny and harmless. As a short person myself, it can be hard to escape being constantly reminded of your size, whether that is trying to reach a box of crackers in the grocery store, or having friends use you as an armrest. I’m probably sassier for it, because hand in hand with being small is being treated like a child. Consequently, there is part of me that feels I have to push back against that treatment. Still, my stature has never been the reason I disrespect another person, or an excuse to say or do inappropriate things.
In the beginning of Promising Young Woman we see a shot of the notebook where Cassie keeps a catalogue of men’s names, crossed out like a hit-list. The movie briefly leans into by showing us a shot of her with a blood-like substance on her shirt from one of her nights out, but this blood turns out to be jelly from a doughnut. After years of struggle and pain, Cassie won’t let anyone tell her how to feel, a valiant display of strength in a world that silences women who fight back. While Cassie is the obvious choice for committing murder within this “revenge” film, she is unable to escape the Nice Guys — her friend’s rapist and his friends, men who may not view themselves as dangerous but will kill to hide their guilt, maintain their lives, and their image. Even though Cassie prepared and planned, trying to get a confession from her friend’s rapist at the bachelor party, it was her existence as a woman in a room full of men that resulted in her death, much like her friend’s. We watch Cassie get smothered for over two minutes. The groomsmen and the groom desecrate her body, bury her in a shallow grave, and then attend the wedding the next day as though nothing happened. While Cassie does set up a safety net to get the men prosecuted even if she is killed, this net still depends on other men following through with the justice system — a system we are hoping has changed from when Cassie’s friend attempted to get her rapist prosecuted but we never get to see. When the police arrive at the wedding, we know that at least one change has been made: the lawyer who defended Cassie’s friend’s rapist was persuaded by Cassie to confront the role he had in allowing the rapist to go free by calling the police and reporting Cassie’s disappearance.
A couple years after I graduated, my boyfriend was at a local bar in our college town and ran into Jack. Flustered and overwhelmed, he listened as Jack rambled on about post-grad life and then asked if my boyfriend was still “corn-holing” me. When I heard about this incident I was furious. I was being compared to nothing more than a vessel to please men and though several years have passed since this interaction, Jack deserves no forgiveness. Crudeness aside, it should not be acceptable or excusable to say and do hurtful things without amends. I will never forgive the man who was controlling towards me in our relationship; I can’t see myself forgiving Jack anytime soon and I don’t need to. We don’t owe anyone forgiveness. It is not enough for men to call themselves Nice Guys because they do the bare minimum of not killing women. Promising Young Woman shows how accepted and commonplace it is for men to act inappropriately and expect forgiveness without affecting their own Nice Guy self-perception. Standards for men’s behavior are lower than those for women because men’s actions are excused by youth or lack of understanding significantly beyond childhood. Cassie refuses to accept reprehensible behavior by men that other people and systems around her write off because the patriarchy has maintained that self-serving tradition. However, change happens when we do not perpetuate the double-standards, by identifying harassment, victim-blaming, etc. as well as letting others know that they deserve to be heard and are allowed to be angry. Anger motivates us to communicate with our friends and family about how we have been hurt, it helps us organize and make changes in our communities. My anger empowers me because it affirms that I deserve to be treated with respect.
*Although this frat was supposed to be “dry,” a handful of members conveniently rented and lived in another house within sight-line from their frat where their frat parties with alcohol took place.