Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Beginning of a Terrible Experience

Eighteen years. Eighteen, long years. Eighteen, long, boyfriendless years. Just to make something clear, I, at this point, am the only one out of all of my friends to have never had a boyfriend. (You know what that does to a girl’s self esteem? Me neither, but it sure doesn’t boost it.)
So 11 or so hours after my crush with Garret was over, I was on to accomplishing my quest for an NJB with Mike. (Gotta move fast before these boys get snatched up.) Maybe 11, is an exaggeration, but it was November and I had just finished up the worst week of my life. (For sorority social calendar purposes we will call this week sisterly bonding week. My sorority most definitely 100% did not haze me… They gave me sisterly bonding time.)
Instead of attending the party at the end of the week to celebrate being initiated, I decided to celebrate someone else’s 21st birthday. (While I had just been initiated, the sisterly bonding time made me question my bonds with everyone but my pledge class. Shout out to my ‘12s…look of disgust goes out to all the older girls.) Still at the ripe age of 18, I was lucky the party was at the piano bar that was 18 and up rather than 19 and up like the rest of the bars in my college cities (Urbana and Champaign).
As I walked in with two of my friends (not in the sorority), I would like to say that as the great friend I am, my eyes darted to the birthday girl. Instead, my eyes went straight to Mike, and my brain went to complete mush. I politely said my happy birthday and pretended my excitement was for her and not for me. Then I proceeded to the Orthodox end of the table.
I fondly refer to these boys as Orthos. What I am about to say might come as a shock, but it’s the honest truth. These wonderfully weird boys are my comfort zone. There is something nice about being around boys I am in no way remotely interested in since they won’t touch me and find me repulsive because I prefer jeans to skirts and tights like the Ortho girls they drool over. I guess you could say, I can be completely myself (not on my best behavior with my shoulders back) since they can’t judge me. (If you polled America, Orthos would totally win on the weird scale…no offense…you know it’s true...)
My Orthos were friends with Mike who was sitting in the middle of the table. I am not sure how it happened but 15 minutes later I had removed myself from the Orthos because Mike has shimmied his way down, and for the first time in my life I was shy so I had to disappear. Five minutes later, Mike was in front of me, and we were dancing to “Rock Your Body Now” by the Backstreet Boys on the piano. Absolute bliss doesn’t begin to describe the feeling of someone you have a butterfly for dancing and talking to you.
After showing off a few of my amazingly terrible dance moves, we sat down and he began the questioning. I don’t remember the entire conversation, but this is the question burned in my head, and the answer I know I will never repeat again in my life:
Mike: Tell me about yourself.
(Long Pause)
Me: I’m awkward.
WHAT WAS I SAYING! Who in their right minds admits that, especially to the Jew of their 18-year-old dreams! (So that it’s not all on me, who the hell says that? How was I supposed to respond…my year and major?)
I must have done something right. I woke up Sunday morning with a facebook friend request. At 11:04 am when I accepted, I was positive I had landed my NJB and was ready to call my search off.
PSA: I most definitely have fond feelings for my awkward, completely nerdy, Jewish sorority, even if I did want to quit the Friday before sisterly bonding week was over, and even though my sisters dropped me on my head once during a trust exercise (trust you right off a cliff).
*I was asked to take my sorority name down, because the "H" word was included. Apparently that's some sort of myth that the Greek system participates in that.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Older and Wiser...Whatever

Garret Stein, one of the smartest people I have ever met. I was introduced to this senior computer science major at a Jewish welcome barbeque the weekend before classes started. I was immediately enamored by his huge smile and his ability to keep a conversation going even if there was nothing else to say. His bright red face to most would have been a huge turnoff, but I found it sweet and innocent looking (reminding me of myself).

This red-headed, nice, Jewish boy was clearly perfect for me. I sat by him at Hillel during my first Friday night service at school. Two days later I was ready to enter into complete crush mode. Then, I met one of his more handsome friends (shallow I know), Mike, that slowed me down in my pursuit of declaring crush.

As I proceeded to crushdom with caution (and eyes looking elsewhere) and then immersed myself into crush mode, I learned that a four year separation in age really does make a difference at such a young pivotal point in life.

I went grocery shopping with him (I considered this a date), made a pro/con list about him, gave him my leftover chicken, etc. And then we went to a party together…

One month into college and I was living it up. It was my first taste of freedom. I was learning my boundaries and I assumed that’s what everyone else my age was doing too. Garret, on the other hand, already figured out his boundaries four years earlier when he was a freshman, and he wanted me to have the same boundaries that he set for himself. I can clearly remember him taking the drink out of my hand at the party and telling me it was time to go…not okay!

Unlike Liesl from the Sound of Music, I do not need someone older and wiser to take care of me. With that, I was snapped out of this crush and onto his friend Mike.

Looking back, after now deciding where my boundaries are and seeing him two years later as a successful computer nerd and going through the ringer with Mike, maybe I should have just followed his rules. We could have been a beautiful, nerdy couple together. Nah…he wasn’t meant to be my NJB, at least I don’t think so.