I made the decision that I would date a frat boy long before I even knew there was a difference between keg beer and Corona. This boy: he’d be lovably arrogant and forgivably absentminded, never too hungover to throw on a polo shirt, tousle-haired, with a grin for miles and a chest as big as the Yukon Territory. U of Wherever, Kappa Delta Whoever, just give me an all-American boy with an all-Greek party mentality, and I’ve got college all figured out.

Judging by the hordes of googly-eyed pre-frosh girls flocking toward Sigma Nu at last spring’s Bulldog Days, I’m sure I’m not the only one whose childhood frat idolatry predated her decision to attend Yale. Yet despite our dreams, many of us arrived on campus as fraternity virgins, as ignorant about the fine points of frat-boy connoisseurship as we were about exactly what was in that red plastic cup during Bulldog Days. By now though, I know that finding your ideal drink is about as difficult, yet essential, as pinpointing your ultimate frat guy. To keep this metaphor rolling, Yale is more of a “private bar” then a full fledged “liquor store,” but a girl should still know her seven “drink options” — and better yet, how she can expect to feel the next morning.

Deke: A Keg of Beast (Technically Milwaukee’s Best)

Sure, it’s a little intimidating at first: it’s big, messy and has an intense reputation around campus. But it is the backbone of every bangin’ party and might just be your best pal after four years of college.

“Think of me as just a big, big guy with a big, big heart,” grins Matthew Lesniak ’05, “who likes to play some serious flip cup.”

Delta Kappa Epsilon was founded at Yale, and is as “FRAT” as fraternities get. The typical Deke boy is a football and baseball stud by day and party boy by night. Deke’s Tang, Mortician’s Ball, and Feb Club are some of the best-known parties on campus.

“Tang is one big drinking contest that’s been an annual thing forever,” Jared Milewski ’03 describes. “Mortician’s Ball is a costume party, THE Halloween party at Yale. As for Feb Club — in the past, Deke’s thrown a party every night of February. It used to be huge, and we are just starting to get off the ground again.”

A.D. Phi: A Lacrosse Shot (served at Toad’s)

A secret mix of high-proof ingredients taken straight up, it tastes sweet, but it’ll knock you on your ass.

“These are the funniest guys you’ll ever meet,” Brian Mulholland ’05 says. “We are NOT about the cheesy fraternity image, and you’re probably just as likely to see us partying at Toad’s as in our own house.”

The members of Alpha Delta Phi are predominantly lacrosse players hailing from the Northeast. A.D. Phi’s biggest contribution to the schoolwide party scene is “Funnelfest,” which typically takes place in the spring.

“We throw a party and have some funnels lying around for anyone to use,” A.D. Phi President Brad Liff ’03 says. “That’s as close to a theme party as we’re willing to get.”

SAE: Chardonnay (White Wine)

It’s fairly classy, popular with the ladies, and fashionable for a Thursday night. But it is as white as “Friends” and often served with cheese.

“The SAE guy: he played sports in high school, he’s probably a political science or econ major, he’s got an idea of how to look put together, and he knows how to treat girls right,” Sigma Alpha Epsilon rush chairman Todd Lippincott ’04 says. “SAE parties are frequent and well-attended, partly because we try to open them up to the whole campus. When SAE sends you a personal invitation — you’re probably going to show up, because you know we’re going to show you a good time.”

SAE has the longest rush process of all the fraternities at Yale and is serious about pledging boys who have been carefully combed over and are interested in making the fraternity a big part of their campus lives. It’s unique on campus because, unlike most other fraternities at Yale, it is not closely affiliated with a varsity sport. The SAE guy is going to be a little less about the jock image and a little more about his “Five-Year Plan;” it might just be the best husband shopping outside the Yale Law School.

Zeta Psi: Rolling Rock (A long-neck bottle of beer)

Never showy, it’s unpretentious yet high quality. It’s got attractive packaging, too, which is a little taller than most other brands.

“We are mainly ex-athletes, guys who have the values of having played on a sports team but are currently pursuing different interests at Yale,” Ted Pataki ’05 explains. “Zeta Psi boys are well-spoken and fairly conservative. You’re not going to find any meatheads in Zeta Psi.”

Besides its signature fall party, “Purple Cow,” Zeta Psi is responsible mainly for Late Nights each Saturday. The boys are mostly basketball players and special teamers on the football team. Most brothers prefer nights revolving around beer-pong and light music rather than attempting to recreate a club-like atmosphere inside the confines of their house. A word to the wise: these boys are basketball players, so accept beer-pong challenges with caution.

Sigma Nu: Corona (with lime)

Totally chill, down to earth, and reminds you of high school. It’s laid-back, dude.

“Tall, dark and handsome,” President Stuart Yingst ’03 says of his Sigma Nu brothers.

As most people know, parties at Sigma Nu are as frequent and open as those at SAE, but even if you’ve been to a Sigma Nu party or two, you might still not know any of the brothers. That’s probably because they are a low-key group, mainly soccer, tennis and golf athletes.

“Sigma Nu has a lot of well known parties. Oktoberfest in the fall is sponsored by Jagermeister, and Heaven and Hell is a late spring attempt to put a little more into the experience than just keg beer and music. We also have the newer Champagne and Schoolgirls,” Yingst says. “We try to work with themes. We want everyone to have a good time.”

Beta: Long Island Ice Tea (??)

Everyone’s heard of it, but no one know the exact ingredients. It’s a bunch of hard stuff, mixed up and offering pleasant flavor.

The guys in Beta are mostly swimmers, but are diverse as far as personalities and outside interests go. Beta is familiar mostly for its Late Nights, at which the swim team will offer up some decent beer and a game or two of beer-pong. Avalanche, a winter party famous for its ice luges, is also typical of the Beta scene.

Sigma Chi: Mike’s (Hard Lemonade)

Sweet, low-proof and harmless, it will never get you trashed.

Sigma Chi is a different kind of fraternity. You might recall the Blue Book Party at the beginning of term, which is a good indication of the atmosphere that Sigma Chi offers. The boys are well-dressed, entrepreneurial and serious about success; Sigma Chi boasts the highest GPA of any fraternity at Yale. Don’t go to Sigma Chi if you are looking for a night of reckless debauchery, but if a solid flow of the “harder stuff” has got you looking to detox, then Sigma Chi might be a welcome break.