Once walking back from a frat party, my friends and I met cute, hammered boys. They invited us to play beer pong on their porch. I felt rather sick, but I obliged my friends, drooling and giggling over these overgrown frat brothers. Melissa the freshman was smashed. She called the boy she’d slept with the week before.
“I miiiiiiss yooooooou,” she purred. She wandered into the sidewalk, tripping over herself, dancing, smiling, laughing. A shirtless, muscle-bound man stopped just behind her. She didn’t take notice. Branded on his chest were the raised insignias of a fraternity, Grecian scars. Behind his eyes, the movie played. How would this night go? He would take home this drunken girl. He would win her.
Melissa hung up and wandered to a lawn chair. The shirtless dude followed. I watched them talk. I watched them flirt. Reader, I’m a wing-woman. I never cock-block. But this—this was bad news. I stumbled over and with my best hostess smile said, “HI MY NAME IS RACHEL. WHAT’S YOURS?” He muttered his name. “Do you go here?” I asked.
“I did,” he said, “Graduated.”
“So how old are you?”
I nodded, “Has Melissa told you how old she is? She’s a freshman. She’s only eight-teen. She’s drunk. So I think you better back off, and try to sleep with someone your own age.”
He looked surprised and then smiled. He touched my hair. “You’re pretty,” he said.
“Don’t touch me,” I said.
“Girls like you—you girls flaunt your long, pretty hair and then get mad when someone notices. Oh, don’t put it back in that ponytail. Don’t be like that, baby.”
I dragged Melissa away. “It’s time to go,” I said to my friends. I wasn’t looking at him, but I knew he was looking at me. I could feel his gaze searing off my mini-skirt.
“I need to get your number, baby,” he said, “I need to get your credentials. Your credentials!! We can meet up later. Yeah? What’s your number, baby girl?”
“I don’t give my number to strangers,” I said. Melissa and I started walking.
He followed us for a few steps. “Why are you gonna be like that, baby?”
“GOOD NIGHT. GOOD BYE. YOU STAY RIGHT THERE. BYE BYE BYE. DON’T YOU DARE FOLLOW US. HAVE A GOOD NIGHT,” I shouted. Fear pulsed in my belly. Fear, fear, fear—acidic fear. I glanced behind us. He didn’t follow. Thank god.
On the bus ride home, the fear melted into pride. I saved us. Melissa would wake up in her own bed with a monster hangover. That guy would wake up next to some other polite drunk girl. I would wither back into my unassuming, ‘fraidy cat ways. I would over-apologize and over-tip and over-analyze. But for that night, for a few golden hours, I wore the badge of bad ass-ery. Don’t screw with me world, it said, I am not afraid.