Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Days of our (college) Lives 

Inanna told me when she did my reading, that I had the unique ability to learn from other people's mistakes. This is true. That's why I've never invaded Russia.

But what kind of mistakes made by others have I learned from over the years? I got nothing really to post on today, so I'm going to tell you a story from my college days. A story about how I got in the middle of a HUGE drama...that happened to someone else. My life is rarely dramatic.

So back in college, I had accumulated a pretty large group of friends. We were all pretty tight - ate meals together, partied and drank together, you know, the usual stuff. This group consisted of about 7 girls and 6 guys. Four of us girls were also biology majors, and we were our own little group within a group...bonded by our obsessive habit of nervously stuttering to one another after a test "what did you put for #4? Osmosis? Oh crap! I said Golgi apparatus!!!" Also we all considered a "B" as failing. You know the type, right? That was us.

The three major players of this little drama are:

Crystal - one of the Biology 4, and pretty much our leader. VERY pretty, actively pursued by many a boy on campus. but a good little catholic girl. shameless flirt, and a little spoiled.

Melinda - part of the larger group, shameless flirt, even though she had a boyfriend at a military school. was short, and used it to play up her cuteness, even though her face wasn't really that pretty. everyone called her "chico," I don't know why.

Mike - aka "god." the undisputed leader of the guys. Engineering major, but still kind of hot.

Mike loved Crystal since freshman year. Loved her. LOOOOOOVED her. But Crystal was a little stuck up (Jersey girl) and wanted someone a little more muscley and cute. With money, so they could buy her things. So Mike got muscley and cute, and saved up some money. By sophomore year, he was a definate hottie. Crystal finally relented, and started dating him. This was big news: think Ross and Rachel big. And everyone was happy, and the group was strong, and we drank and danced.

Then, around Christmas of that year, Crystal got bored with Mike. There were alot of guys on our huge campus of under 2000 (haha...sarcasm), and she wanted to play the field a bit...as much as a good catholic girl could play the field. (boob touching and dry humps). Mike was upset, but a few nights of drinking and a strip club with the guys seemed to cheer him up immensely.

Then, late winter, Crystal realizes that Mike is a great guy. He's cute. He's got six pack abs (remember in college how guys could consume nothing but doritos and beer, and still have six pack abs??? what was up with that?). He treats her well. Now Crystal is in love with Mike, and she wants him back. Mike is up for it, and they start dating again.

(I should probably mention, that since we were in school in a po-dunk little town, "dating" meant making out a lot, and sleeping in the same bed on the weekends*)

*only boob touching and dry humping remember, she's CATHOLIC!

Again, like Ross and Rachel, all is well in the universe. I am pleased, because I tend to really form close attachments with my friends. They become my support group. When the group is happy, I'm happy. We all looked out for one another. Things were great. I was great. Crystal and Mike were great.

Then...a disturbance in the force: Melinda.

Melinda had a boyfriend at some wacky military school, where they treated him like shit most of the time. When he finally attained the level of "human being," he was allowed to make a few short phone calls a month. Remember, this is college. Melinda may have loved her boyfriend, but he was not an obvious presence in her life.

Melinda and Mike were good friends. Flirty friends. yeah...bad news. I think what happened was this: Mike realized that Crystal would probably continue to jerk him around. Also, he wasn't really getting any (catholic!). Now here's Melinda. Horny, non-practicing protestant, who was obviously attracted to him.

Hmmm....let's all try to think what Mike did next?

Yep. Dropped Crystal like a hot potato and ran into the arms of Melinda.

Crystal FREAKED OUT. No, really...she FREAKED OUT!!!!

To the point that after he told her, she lay in the hallway of our dorm at 3am, sobbing hysterically.

A tiny, mean part of me thought "suck it up, Crystal. You're a flake, and he's a flake. you're both probably better off." but I said nothing, and consoled her as best I could, and came to the realization that my happy little world was coming to a brutal and abrupt end.

The group split into two fractions: the Crystal's and the Melinda's (Crystal didnt' blame Mike, she blamed "that whore Melinda") I hated choosing sides. H-A-T-E-D I-T! But since Crystal was technically one of my best friends, I had to choose her...sort of. The group somewhat held together, but it was a year before Crystal would even be in the same room with Melinda. The biology 4 mostly ate seperately, though we still partied at the guys' townhouse, because there was no where else to party. I had to play referee alot, since Crystal either got beligerent or weepy when drunk. She eventually got over Mike and moved on, but never forgave Melinda.

I'm not even sure Melinda and Mike even officially dated - that's the funny part. The other funny part is that I haven't spoken to most of the group since my roommate's wedding 5 years ago. Mike married my roommate's cousin. I wasn't invited to the wedding, which hurt, since I still maintained a friendshipt with him through graduation. Crystal and I stayed in touch for a little while. She went to vet school in ohio. Senior year she had started going out with this annoying sophomore guy who cheated on her and treated her badly. She broke up with him, and he kept trying to come back. Eventually she decided to take him back, and I disapproved. I think she eventually decided that having a friend who would tell her the truth was too much of a burden. I haven't spoken with her in 3 years.

Ironically, I still occasionally email back and forth with Melinda. She's married now, and I think lives in Ohio.

So what did I learn from this who escapade? The firm rule: never date within the group. If you value your friendships, do your best to override what may be temporary horniness.

I watched something similar happen with a good friend of mine here in Atlanta. He dated two girls from our young adult group at church that ended in complete disaster, mostly because they never took the time to really figure out if they were compatible. When he told me that he was dating another mutual friend of ours, I nearly lost it. But since they had been friends for so long, and really REALLY took things slowly, it all worked out. They're married now. See? A happy ending.

What else did I learn? If someone breaks the dating rule, STAY THE HELL OUT OF IT! I did my best to maintain and outward neutrality, and probably singlehandedly kept the group together, but it cost me MUCH STRESS and MANY SLEEPLESS NIGHTS! No longer my problem. I just stay the hell out of those trainwrecks.

Congrats if you've read this far. I fell asleep myself 8 minutes ago.