No matter whether we admit it to our friends, to our roommates, or even to ourselves, we all start every semester with the same faint hope. We envision walking into our classroom, anxious because we know no one, until suddenly a totally hot stranger walks into the room. You instantly make eye contact, he makes some kind of clever quip as he sits next to you, at which time you form an immediate friendship, fall in love, and move somewhere exotic like Cabo or San Lucas. You live happily ever after and the only thing you ever worry about is the fact that you can’t remember if you put two shots of vodka into your mimosa or twenty. Needless to say, this has probably happened to like, two people since 2007, and we should probably all just accept defeat, and call up the pizza guy to deliver us another round, because the bartender isn’t at work yet. What does manage to regularly happen to innocent girls everywhere on their first days of class is something like what happened to me this semester.
The sun was shining and that piece of hair that always sticks out at the worst possible times was finally in place. A feeling of invincibility swept over my body and all the confidence in the world was resting in the palm of my hand. You see, my normal look could probably be described as “homeless chic,” except not so much chic as it is homeless. But seeing as it was the first day of school and all, I applied some makeup, put on a shirt that never belonged to a man, and went on my way.
I got to class, pulled out my spiral and pencils in a pathetic attempt to appear busy while I secretly eyed every person who walked into the classroom in search of a familiar face and/or someone to judge. And then…he walked in.
Like any barely-functioning college student, I got back to campus for the semester a week or so early to enjoy the booze-fueled, responsibility-free bliss that is the week before syllabus week. Most nights included some shrieks of delight and some variation of “Oh my Goddddd! I missed youuuuu! What are you doing tomorrow night? We have to catch up.” A few nights included twerking at the bar and bathroom girl romances. And one night included drunken Snapchats to my ex to show him how good I was doing without him, because there is no better way to show him up than to give him photographic evidence of you looking hot while shotgunning a beer with a guy he doesn’t know.
Long story short: mistakes were made. Somewhere between the shots of tequila and the trash can punch, my vision got a little blurry and as if I’d completely lost control of all my motor functions, my mouth was beelining it toward some guy’s face. Was he attractive? No. Did that matter? It should have, but still no. I made out with him aggressively before even knowing his name.
I woke up in the morning thoroughly believing that while it was unlikely I’d been hit by a train, it was extremely possible that I’d been hit by some other sort of moving vehicle like a bicycle or a segway. It became immediately apparent that I’d have to blame the evening entirely on my alter-ego whom I’ve named “Monica Spice,” that way I’d never have to feel like I was truly accountable for my actions. I could simply pretend the night didn’t happen.
I did pretend my night hadn’t happened for exactly three more days. Until, of course, my night showed up to Anthropology 102. Praying he didn’t recognize me, and still holding out hope that my future husband could walk in at any minute (while simultaneously cursing the god responsible for run-ins with future husbands for clearly mixing up my files and sending the wrong boy), I ducked my head in shame. It was no use. My mystery man immediately spotted me and sat down next to me just in time for me to watch the class hot guy find his way to his seat, where there would inevitably be some other girl with whom he’d become immediate friends, fall in love, and move somewhere exotic and care-free like Cabo. The professor called roll and the guy who was ruining my marriage took it upon himself to get reacquainted.
“Hey! Monica, right?” he said, as I dreaded what was about to come next.
“Mackenzie? Is there a Mackenzie in the room?” the professor said for the second time.
I stared at the guy awkwardly, raised my hand, and with shame in my heart and in my voice, I let out the very most reluctant “Here.”.