When asked why I chose to attend a women’s college instead of the normative co-educational university, my response is usually a variation on, “Boys are stupid. Throw rocks at them. Don’t forget to aim.”
If phrased in a slightly less infantile manner, the answer would be, “Because I simply wasn’t ready to be around those individuals my high school math teacher referred to as ‘they who shall not be touched.'” Seventeen year old me– having been in a single sex environment for the past ten years– was slightly intimidated and notably fearful of the opposite sex.
They represented the unknown; a side of civilization I had not yet been exposed to, and perhaps most notably, a group of individuals with whom I had been conditioned to avoid fraternizing. Now while this conditioning applied to all individuals who did not speak the vagina monologues, there was a specific subset whom I was trained to avoid at all costs: frat boys.
Frat boys, the aforementioned high school teacher explained, were a group of guys who worshipped the almighty beer bottle. They judged women solely on the basis of physical appearance. And they most certainly did not abide by the rule: if you like it, then you should’ve put a ring on it.
I subsequently spent four years at a women’s college and not once ventured into any Boston-area based frat. Rabbi Loewy (said math teacher) would have been proud, I think. However, the Awesomest Sophomore (AS)– now technically a junior– determined to challenge my preconceived notions of the all-threatening frat boy this weekend.
Inviting me to brunch with two MIT frat boys, AS promised that I would find it an enlightening and, if nothing else, entertaining experience. I, a brunch fanatic, simply could not say no. Even if the company turned out to be subpar, I could at least bask in the glory of a spinach and feta omelette.
Enter Texas and his talkative cohort Conor. Texas, an up and coming McKinsey exec and Conor, an aspiring hedge fund analyst, greeted us in a fairly socially-acceptable manner. In fact, in many ways, they were downright cordial.
Confused, yet pleasantly surprised, I sat down to eat. I immediately ordered my signature drink– iced coffee. It was nearly 11:30, and my body was going into under-caffeinated anaphylactic shock. I needed my drug of choice, and I needed it then and there.
Which is why when Texas exclaimed, “Coffee is vile,” I nearly broke my glass of water over his sweaty head of hair. “Clearly,” he said, “we can’t be friends.” Honestly, he took the words right out of my mouth.
His chutzpah astounded me. Even if for some G-d forsaken reason he disdained the very drink that breathes life into me, he could have phrased in a slightly more Southern gentlemanly sort of way. I determined that his three weeks in New York had already hardened him, and that perhaps I should forsake this horrendous misstep.
However, Texas determined to spend the remainder of the meal on his iPhone. I admit that I am not always the most scintillating conversationalist, but seriously? I am far from boring, and I am fairly entertaining storyteller. And frankly, I was prepared to share some pretty amusing material with him and his cohort.
The only time he gazed elsewhere then his smartphone was when he was consuming his food of choice. Oh, and when retelling a story in which his father described keeping kosher as the “dumbest shit ever.” Actually, there was one other point too– when he described a frat brother (formerly Orthodox) as someone who was now “normal” and not one of “those crazies.”
If I hadn’t valued every sip of my coffee as much as I did, I likely would have spit the remaining contents of it at him. But instead I decided to be cool as a cucumber. If he was a friend of AS, he deserved to be treated like a human being, not a run-of-the-mill Nolita cockroach.
Fast forward to 1 am, and AS and I are strolling through the East Village, returning from the Gentile Giant’s first improv performance, when who should we happen to run into? The Texan himself. Completely sober, I determined to be the hardened New Yorker I earlier suppressed. Calling him out on his incessant cell phone usage and offensive coffee comment, I exhibited a sort of sass that would’ve made my mama proud.
Slightly stunned, but highly amused, Texas embraced it. He know he had it coming. And like a murderess character in Chicago the Musical, I subjected him to five minutes of my Wellesley-molded mind:
The moral of this stroll down frat boy-ladden lane is as follows: Never ever befriend a frat boy. Never. (Unless, of course, he loves coffee and maintains eye contact during conversation.)