Today, my aunt asked me what college was like for me. I thought about this for a minute, remembering my previous day at school.
I was standing outside of my classroom, waiting for my professor to arrive for her office hours. She was running a little late, so I was awkwardly scrolling through my phone, trying not to look too out of place. I have this thing about people where if I don’t know you, then I NEVER want to talk to you, but at the same time, I want to make ALL OF THE FRIENDS. For this reason, when a boy around my age approached me, I was both nervous and excited: I saw this as the perfect opportunity to throw my anxiety to the side and finally have an actual conversation with another student.
Alas, my happiness was short-lived.
The boy sidled up to me and gave me what he probably thought was a seductive look. Then, he leaned in and whispered, “Hey girl. Will you twerk for me?”
Tell me, dear reader: WHAT WAS I EVEN SUPPOSED TO DO IN A SITUATION LIKE THAT??? Should I have slapped him for having the audacity to say something so rude to me? News flash: Not all black women can twerk. And even if they can, they’re not required to start droppin’ it like it’s hot just because you ask them to.
Should I have thrown myself to the ground, emitting a monotone groan, a la Tina Belcher?
Should I have cried out to the heavens, cursing the day that Miley Cyrus had brought twerking into the public eye?
This probably wasn’t the right way to go, but I chose to try and laugh it off, hoping that he’d just been making a joke; a horrible, semi-racist joke. “Lol,” I said uncomfortably, “I can’t twerk.”
I’d hoped that would be the end of it, but instead of walking away, he flew into a rage. “DON’T LIE TO ME,” he roared, “I KNOW YOU CAN.” His eyes were wide with crazed anger and a tiny vein was throbbing in his neck.
At this point, I completely shut down. Everything had escalated so quickly! One minute, I was patiently waiting for my communication Professor, the next, I was being harassed by a strange man. Had I been forced to endure any more of that moment, I would have slid down the wall, silent tears streaming down my face, waiting for the nervous breakdown I’ve been staving off for eighteen years to finally claim me.
Luckily, my professor arrived just in time. I broke eye contact with my aggressor and hurried into the class room. I was afraid he’d follow me in, but fortunately, he remained in the hallway.
Later that day, we met again. He had ordered two hamburgers from the cafeteria and, I kid you not, was paying for his order completely in change. While he was counting his nickels and dimes, he suddenly looked up and we locked eyes from across the room. I’m not sure what I thought he was going to do, but I certainly didn’t expect what happened: He quickly thrust his arm into the air in a furious, passionate fist-pump. Then, he went back to counting out his change.
Anyway, I smiled and told my aunt that college was going great.