Monday, January 30, 2006

Inbreeding

"Do you think incest is best?"

This is going to be a long year, I thought to myself. I was a college sophomore in the fall of 1992. I had reached the ripe old age of twenty - that miraculous age when you know everything and nothing at the same time. My teenage years were finally behind me! So my immediate reaction to his question was I am WAY. TOO. OLD for this nonsense! SIGH.

In retrospect, it was all pretty funny. He was just an 18 year old kid, after all, at a new school. He was actually fairly cute in a cornfed-Midwestern-white boy sort of way. He was completely harmless, but he made a pretty creepy first impression.

We met at the beginning of the fall term when our RA, a junior called Amy, organized our floor to introduce us all to each other. We all went around in a circle and said our name, what year and major we were, blah blah. As it happened, Jed, one of the freshman guys, had the same last name as me.

After the intros, we all started mingling and chatting. Jed sidled up to me, and that's when he asked, "Do you think incest is best?"

"What??" I started to laugh, mostly because of the mock-serious look on his face.

"Do you think incest is best?" he repeated. "Because, you know, I think we should keep it in the family."

"Do you now." I was amazed that it was Day 1 of this kid's college career, and he was already trying to line up his first lay. Sexual peak, indeed. "Don't you worry about having babies with two heads?"

"Yeah, well," he said, shuffling his feet, "it isn't always about makin' babies."

I went to a school whose undergraduate population was about 70% female. That sounds like a pretty good deal for male students, doesn't it? Seven women for every man! Throw that statistic at any young guy, and it sounds pretty sweet. "Like shooting fish in a barrel!", I overheard one wasted frat boy exclaim at a party (is there any other kind of frat boy?). I'm sure that when the new freshman guys found their one suite surrounded by three female suites, they entertained visions of 2am orgies, homecooked meals and free laundry services.

They got a reality check pretty quickly. We ladies enjoyed some good-natured teasing of our male neighbors. We had a lot of affection for them, but didn't put up with any macho bullshit. When Todd, a barrel-chested former football player, first moved onto our floor, he reveled in the mostly female environment, figuring that anything within arms' length that had tits was his for the taking. That attitude is a source of nonstop entertainment for a group of young women who've already made their own missteps with junior and senior guys. When Todd put a "scoreboard" up on his wall to track the sexual conquests that he was certain he'd be making that year, we conducted a sort of panty raid on his room, stealing every single pair of BVDs he owned as his roommate Mike watched helplessly, unable to stem the tide of giggling women streaming through the door. Those tighty whities were all over our dorm by the time we were done - taped to mirrors, hanging from shower heads, draped on couches, even hanging from the ceiling. That was a lot of work, come to think of it. When Todd came back to the hall, he was furious, which just made us all laugh harder. I was actually amazed that he recognized his own underwear so quickly. I mean, they were your standard bargain 3-pack that you can get anywhere, and doesn't every guy have a bunch of those? Anyway, instead of alienating Todd, it brought him into the fold a bit. He curtailed the misogynistic nonsense, and we stopped riding him.

I told Jed that I did not, in fact, believe that incest was best, but rejection is an aphrodisiac for the young and horny. One Saturday night, weeks later, a group of us wound up in Jed's room after a night of partying. The room stank; he and his roommate had started a collection of empty Mad Dog bottles. For those of you who don't know, Mad Dog is $3.99 cheap shit wine that comes in flavors like grape, peach and lime. They must have had almost thirty bottles in that room, and they hadn't cleaned them out before displaying them. Dear readers, the scent was not good. Coupled with the pungent odor of weeks' worth of dirty laundry, it was a potent combination, and not in a good way.

I sat at the end of Jed's bed with Jed and my friend Meghan, listening to The Doors. What is it with college students and The Doors? Everybody goes through a Doors phase in college, I don't care what decade it is.

Jed was drunk; I think Meghan was tipsy; I was sober, having nursed one drink all night. Meghan wound up leaving the room for a few minutes, temporarily distracted by Jed's very cute roommate. Jed and I chatted a bit. "So, how many guys have you had sex with?" he asked me.

"None of your business," I laughed. "You don't have a right to that information."

He leaned in. "I need to know," he insisted. "I feel close to you. I want to get close to you, Ginger, I want to know you."

"You want to know me carnally. You're drunk, Jed, and you don't need to get any closer to me. Go to sleep." I slid off the bed.

"You don't like me?" Awww, it was almost cute, this insecure pseudo-seduction technique. I softened a little.

"I like you fine, but I'm not going to have sex with you. Besides, I'm seeing somebody." My boyfriend matriculated at another school hundreds of miles away, but I've always been a goody two shoes in the fidelity department. "Go to sleep."

He passed out a few minutes later, Mad Dog bottles and dirty socks scattered around him. Asleep, he looked not like a wasted Lothario but what he really was, an 18 year old boy.

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