Some people are most vulnerable at the end of an uncomfortably sad movie; one where the dog dies or the grandfather never makes amends with his grandson and his wife sees the light before he does.
Some are most vulnerable at the end of a chewed pencil, textbook open, mind shut down. Some at the end of a never-ending day, some at the register of the dining hall, three cupcakes in tow.
Others share a different kind of vulnerability. These unfortunate others are most vulnerable unclothed. Bare-naked. Completely exposed.
I, like these others, am most vulnerable when I’m naked. See also: post-breakup. See especially: post-Long Island iced tea.
So here we are, twenty-something and in college, and you’ve seen me naked. A blessing by weekend, and an irreversible curse come Monday morning.
You’ve seen me more vulnerable than my weepy mother at the end of “My Dog Skip.” Your charming slurs pummeled through my emotionally barred walls as I followed you like Skip back to your place.
Now, I wave my white flag.
As an unlucky student of a campus of fewer than 5,000 undergrads, it’s almost impossible to avoid the casual (yet frequent) run-in with a one-time-late-night-drunken-decision. They’re everywhere. There they are at the gym, two treadmills down. There they are in your 8 a.m. lecture, 9 a.m. lecture and then again at the dining hall. There they are one more time, two people ahead of you in line for Dunkin Donuts.
As you stir your 500-calorie caramel latte, you’ll notice sugar isn’t the only thing they’re skipping today. See also: eye contact, acknowledgement, respect and balls.
What is it about life that allows the human race to grow older in age but younger in maturity? Why is it that the nervous introvert I borrowed a pencil from freshman year can look me in the eye but you, the friend of a friend who volunteered as tribute to a very public, gruesome makeout, consider me nothing more than a buffer between you and the air.
Let the record state that despite being awkward as hell, I consider myself a connoisseur of uncomfortable situations. Sext me on Saturday and I will treat you no differently on Sunday. Shameless cuddler? I can dig it, and we can still share notes Monday morning. Pillow-talk? Yes please. I can small-talk my way ‘till 4 a.m., just give me an oversized tee-shirt first. And no, I’ll never tell anyone about your dreams.
So this one’s for you (yeah, you).
How about you put your big-boy pants on and quit playing blind during our head-on-campus-collisions. I see you. You see me. I SEE YOU SEEING ME. YOU SEE ME SEEING YOU SEEING ME. I see you pick up pace. I see you check a convenient text. I see you fake a phone call, a fall, a death or whatever. I see you.
You’ve seen me naked, you can say hi. Spoiler alert: it meant nothing to me either.