AN OVER-ACHIEVER’S PRE-GAMING

Lacking experience in balancing dating, friends, school and co-curriculars, I didn’t see my friendships unraveling, not to mention, the perfect senior year. Looking back on it, I was a bit myopic.

When my parents were my age, they were living in married student housing. I didn’t expect to be married, but when dreaming of senior year of college, I did not expect my year to start the way it did.

I lost the majority of my small group of friends due to my commitment to school work, to “be the perfect girlfriend” to Comicbook Crook and my deep allegiance to select TV organizations. Interestingly, it is this involvement that kept my friendships within the TV community going. It is also through one of these organizations that I became acquainted with future roommate, SuperFoods. In the spring of my junior year, A&E invited me to join her and some other girls to request a suite of six single rooms. We were accepted.

Senior year. It’s not how I pictured it. Not only did I dump my first real boyfriend, my dancing partner left me for a college in Seattle, WA. Without Bedroom Eyes, who was I going to dance with?

Dance - 2 Gettin w it

 

I entered senior year, with no boyfriend, no dancing partner and living in a suite with virtual strangers.

In an instant all these problems were dwarfed.

Senior year was punctuated with the September Eleventh attacks.

It was Tuesday at 9:15am and I was brushing my teeth in preparation for my 10am sketch comedy class. I could hear my TV across the narrow hall. For some reason, Good Morning America was still on; I went to investigate. The reporters were trying to make sense of everything. Charlie Gibson was talking with Don Dahler, who was calling in from his cell. Dahler, a seasoned war correspondent was always rock steady. He was not rock steady that morning— The panic in his voice scared me more than not knowing what was going on. I was held captive by my television, listening to the conversation between him and Gibson. I needed to stay. I couldn’t stay. My studious nature went into over-drive and I went to class. When I arrived, we were trying to wrap our heads around a plane accidentally flying into the World Trade Center. As classmates trickled in there was another plane crash….

 

… And then another.

 

Classes were canceled.

Soon, the entire school, commuters and residents alike were in the commissary and dormitories. We gathered around each other, eating ridiculous amounts of the comfort food the kitchen was cooking for us. . .  mac n cheese, tuna melts, ice cream.

The only thing that could silence a city so quickly would be a national tragedy.

This was it.

I walked through Boston in a haze with my suitemates and their friends. I have never experienced anything so quiet and hollow. The haunting silence loomed over the city from which American Airlines Flight #11 and United Airlines Flight #175 departed.

 

Senior year… It’s not how I pictured it. When a plane flew close to the ground, I ducked and covered almost all the time.

 

I was terrified.

 

I remained steadfast in my hyper-academic focus, but when tensions started to ease, SuperFoods insisted I have fun—

“It is your Senior year, you don’t want to study all the time.”

I have always studied all the time. I’ve done this since I started getting homework in the third grade.

But, I liked the taste of irreverence SuperFoods and her friends provided. Over the next year, her friends became my friends too. SuperFoods gave me a solid goal— DANCING. I studied harder during the week so I could have more balance and fun on the weekend. During senior year I gave Friday or Saturday to SuperFoods and the other evening was reserved for studying.

We tried to be normal carefree college kids. In the early months after 9-11-01, things weren’t normal. Nerves were exposed. People drank and danced in a fog. It was masquerade. No matter where you were, it seemed each evening ended with Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the U.S.A.. During one of these excursions we went to The Purple Shamrock. A guy I was dancing with had a connection to the bartender; I could have anything I wanted.

Purple Shamrock

May I have some water please?

I told a group member where I was going. I learned a very important lesson that night— Assess how drunk your friends are and tell the most responsible one where you’re going.

I was at the bar talking with this guy and enjoying my water. I looked up and didn’t see my friends. I declined an escort home and resolved to walk back to the dorms by myself. I made it to the street, and SuperFoods and Mermaid Linden were there to rescue me. Thank goodness responsible R.A. Mermaid Linden had decided to join us that night. When she did a head count and saw I wasn’t there, she brought the group back to retrieve me. SuperFoods told me I should’ve never trusted that other girl. Going forward, I never allowed us to go back to The Purple Shamrock and if I had to leave the safety of the group, I made sure I told SuperFoods where I was going.

I missed Bedroom Eyes, his friendship and the rhythm we had on the floor. I carried his teachings with me. When SuperFoods, friends, et al would go out, I danced to the feel of the music. Guys. Girls. I didn’t care who I was dancing with as long as I was dancing. And, if I fancied the guy I was dancing with, I would break out the eyes. The first guy I did that to kissed me! Holy smokes, I was not prepared. But, I kinda liked it. When I felt comfortable with my dance partner, The Eyes became my signature move. I turned down each invite to “continue the party somewhere else.” The only person I ever went home with was SuperFoods.

I was regaining the confidence Comicbook Crook stripped from me and getting confidence that was akin to a better version of me.

Before a night of dancing, the girls would come over and pre-game.  I had pushed myself so hard during the week, I was usually exhausted. My gaming started around 9pm.

It was coffee.

 

FAIL-SAFE PRE-GAMING RECIPE

You know that coffee pot that you’re not supposed to have in the dormitories? Yeah, that one.Mr. Coffee

  1. Brew yourself a full pot (two 10oz mugs).
  2. Have half a mug doctored however you want.
  3. Take a 20 minute power nap.
  4. Wake up and pound the rest of the now tepid/cold beverage.
  5. Splash some water on your face.
  6. Microwave the second mug of coffee.
 Doctor to your liking.
  7. Start drinking.
  8. Brush and style your hair.
  9. Apply makeup while finishing your coffee.
  10. Put on your club clothes.
  11. Grab money, keys and all necessary forms of I.D. (Due to my height and baby face I had to carry several as nobody believed I was over 21.)
  12. Go out.Coffee adbd Makeup

*BEDROOM EYES QUESADILLA

I never told Comicbook Crook I went dancing with Bedroom Eyes. Perhaps, I felt a little guilty, like I was cheating. My love of BRE and what we shared on the dance floor may have even prolonged the relationship with Comicbook Crook. BRE was certainly giving me some of the safe emotional and physical connection I needed… the kind would be standard in a relationship.
__________________________________________________________________

My college had a student body that was mostly women. The popular statistic was that women out-numbered men 3:1. With that ratio, dating was tough. But, to compound dating woes, allegedly, 65% of those men were gay. I’m not sure of the validity of the statement, but it seemed accurate.

The school paper even substantiated the statistics with a comic…
Frame One: Snaggle Tooth boy-troll wearing an I LOVE COMICS shirt.
Frame Two: Buxom hot girl.
Frame Three: Snaggle Tooth sees girl. Caption: How to pick up a girl at our college.
Frame Four: Snaggle Tooth, “I’m straight.”
Frame Five: Hot girl whisks Snaggle Tooth away.

I laughed. This wasn’t a little bemused laugh. It was a laugh that welled up from my belly and crossed my lips before I remembered who was sitting across from me.
Comicbook Crook was not amused.

He wasn’t bad looking, he just wasn’t going to win a beauty pageant. At any other college, he’d have a date or two… maybe. But, here, he was one of the few straight men. I was just one in a laundry list of women Comicbook Crook dated. I got to meet all his exes, even the one that broke up with him one month before he and I met. Part of me was happy to be part of the list. In some twisted way it validated my insecurity- I was somehow desirous. (Again, at this point, I didn’t realize that our first date started with date rape.)

Today I wouldn’t put up with his quirks, but part of being good at dating is ending something that doesn’t work. With my inexperience, I wasn’t good at dating…

…yet.

It’s not real life, but I was hoping that with love he would be the man I needed. I had invested considerable emotional energy, but the rose-colored glasses were slipping off. Me laughing at the comic was just a symptom of my growing discontent.

My three summers of working at camp helped me find my voice and undo the negativity that “friends” from junior high and high school heaped on. Camp had a compounding affect:  It taught me to confidently stand within myself and while doing so I gained more confidence. But, even with jokes, camaraderie and safe flirting, there were certain lines you didn’t cross… It was church camp after all.

3-7-14 Hubble Chapple Cross

I crossed those lines with Bedroom Eyes. There was no sex; he was one the 65%. We danced. We danced our asses off. (Yes, I know I’m quoting Footloose.) During my junior year, it became our Monday night tradition to go to Axis on Lansdowne Street. Monday night was “Gay Night.” Looking back on it now, it seems funny to have a bar with a theme of “Gay Night” where they proclaim they’re LBGTQ friendly. But this 2000/2001; Boston and America were still changing.

My first dance with BRE was awkward.

Dance - 1 Awkward

Awkward in the sense that he was a boy. Prior to him, the most I had done with a boy, dancing wise, was the HS shuffle with a friend. I had never danced a fast dance with a boy. He pulled me close. I moved with him as best I could. But, even with my years in Band and understanding the rhythm of music, I didn’t have experiencing moving my body to that rhythm. He pulled me closer. Hips gyrating. His hands on my ass.

I better do something.

Dance - 2 Gettin w it

The moment when you figure out how to dance at a club…

I put my hands on his bicep. I didn’t want to be in his personal space. Besides, even though I wasn’t a virgin, I was quite virginal in my mind and practical experiencing. Putting my hand on his bicep was non-threatening and the best I could do at the time.

I looked around and saw how other people were dancing and decided I better do something more… I put my hands on his chest. He didn’t recoil. We just got more in sync. It was completely fluid and absolutely freeing. I felt sexy. This was safe sexy dancing. Then, I learned a key component to BRE’s sexy dancing— It’s all in the eyes. His big, beautiful, deep and penetrating Bedroom Eyes. I felt one dancing with him. Forget Sabrina, I had the post Patrick Swayze Baby attitude. Nobody’s going to put me in a corner!

D Dancing - Baby Working It

I never told Comicbook Crook I went dancing with Bedroom Eyes. Perhaps, I felt a little guilty, like I was cheating. My love of BRE and what we shared on the dance floor may have even prolonged the relationship with Comicbook Crook. BRE was certainly giving me some of the safe emotional and physical connection I needed. Combined with the flirting and safe sexy dancing, my shaky confidence was becoming stable and even blossomed.

BRE and I didn’t even need alcohol to loosen us up to dance, it just happened once we walked through the doors. With the pulse of the music and everyone moving we fell into the momentum of dance.

In April the school had a big end of year dance where the leadership within the school clubs was handed down to the successor(s) for the next school year. It was a lot like prom. This time, I didn’t have to take a camp friend. I took Comicbook Crook and was excited to show off my moves. We both wore black and looked super slick. There was dinner, speeches and then it was time to dance! I’ve always loved dancing and now I had moves I could use. Comicbook Crook didn’t want to dance. I found Bedroom Eyes. I was a dancing machine, a monster. I owned myself. I loved dancing with BRE.

But, I didn’t go to the dance with him, I wanted to dance with my man.

Dancing Machine

It took some effort, but I was able to coax Comicbook Crook to the dance floor. He wasn’t thrilled, but slowly, he relaxed. Then there was a slow song. Easy stuff— Hold each other close and shuffle your feet. A fast song came back on. We stayed close.

Then I did what the music commanded me to do, which was walk backwards and beckon him to come get me. It was a cute move and I thought he’d walk forward to chase me. Instead, he had a bona fide temper tantrum. He needed a formula and pre-determined steps.

Why can’t he just go with the flow and dance with me?

Again, I had to console him. He was ruining my very first dance I had a boyfriend for.

I know I was stiff my first time, but at least I tried. I expected him to do the same. It was part of his job as my boyfriend to make me happy. I had reasons to stay with him, but coming up with new reasons to stay was becoming harder and harder to do. The big reason for not breaking up was boiling down to:

I don’t want to hurt his feelings.

But, the months of childish behavior, stealing, not eating crust and not letting me be me were adding up. This tantrum was put into my column of “reasons to break up.”

QUESADILLAS

Bedroom Eyes and I would often grab some food before a night of dancing… it was simply practical. On his side of campus they served diner-like food. Everything was loaded with starch, which would be good for sustained energy on the dance floor. Quesadillas have it all. While the traditional quesadilla is made with flour tortillas, really any kind of tortilla works.

INGREDIENTS
Guerrero Tortillas
Cheddar or Tex Mex Cheese
Pickled jalapeños

For the sides:
Sour Cream
Pace Salsa

 

Quesadilla Ingredients

Layer 1

Don’t be like some of the cooks at my school and scrimp on jalapeños like the one on the left.

STEP BY STEP DIRECTIONS
Preheat toaster oven or oven to 375F.
On a tray lay out your tortilla and put the cheese and jalapeños.
Add more Cheese.
Cover with another tortilla.

Bake 10 minutes.
Quesadilla Baked - Done

Slice to desired size.
Serve with sour cream and salsa.
Quesadilla Presentation
TIP:
While putting the oven to toast for the last couple minutes is tempting, it will make your quesadilla to crispy and it will fall apart when you cut it.