In my work trying to teach something to college students I have concluded there are two kinds of women: those who think all other women are backstabbing catty bitches and those who think men are ignorant, insensitive, assholes. The latter complain that “they” never call back, and when they think they have something going, they go to a party and he is making out with that their roommate, the bitch! While I am not much of a tisk-tisker, I wanted to go tisk-tisk at the tales of male disloyalty because I have taken up “loyalty” as a value that needs to be reasserted these days. I even tried to read Josiah Royce’s book on loyalty but he used the word loyalty too much.
I tisked-tisked with purity of heart, I though, until I remembered one day walking up the long hill—in college it was—to the dorm and up ahead of me is a young woman who has one of those double names like Ruth Anne and you are supposed to say both of them. Her long blond locks are flickering in the sun and she is striding along wearing a skirt—some college women did that back then—cut to just above the knees, and I find myself watching her swaying behind and her bony legs, and yell out, “Wait up!”
I know her from the student cafeteria where she had worked for a while, and I haven’t seen her for a bit. And we fall into talking and I said something that made her laugh. And she had this nice laugh, sort of burbling like, and then she said something that made Me laugh which is sort of unusually. So we walk along for a bit making each other laugh, and just as she is turning off to go wherever she is going, I say, “Hey, let’s go out some time.”
And she sort of smiles and looking at me from over her granny glasses, says, “Aren’t you with somebody.” I sort of shrug. “With? With? As if the word was ambiguous or something. What do I know from “with.” But then it came to me that I guessed I was with BJ since we were at that time regularly engaging in sexual congress. I just hadn’t thought about it that way, in the “with” way, and it came to me at the moment that she knew BJ.
Well, I said, not in the least disturbed, “You’re right. But if you don’t mind my saying so I found the idea you know of going out pleasant.”
“Thank you,” she said and went on her way.
I don’t know what the hell was with me that day or at that moment. It was as if all my nasty and unbalanced biochemicals freaked out for a minute and balanced themselves. Maybe it was something I ate or the way the stars were aligned. Or maybe I was on bennies that tended to make me feel confident. Whatever the fuck it was, I think I acted sort of like a normal guy at that moment, not one nearly dead from depression or gasping with anxiety. But if I was for a moment there relieved of my misery and somewhat normal, I can only say, by way of apology for the way college guys act, that we are sometimes forgetful.