There I was, a second semester freshman sitting in a class struggling to make sense of biological classifications.
In this class, 25% of your semester grade depended on a presentation of a biological disease, depiction of its causal pathways, treatment options, and predicting what future research can lead to in terms of dealing with it.
As a group led us through Huntington’s Disease, I was enamored. Not with the presentation, but with a presenter. Her name was Dena. She had Demi Moore’s hair, Claire Dane’s eyes, and Reese Witherspoon’s body.
All I needed was a friend’s approval and I was sold on going after her. So I leaned over to my friend Hannah. “She’s pretty cute, right?”
“Yeah, you should ask her out.” Her words felt like gunfire at the start of a race. I was ready. I was going for it.
The timing couldn’t have been better, and the timing couldn’t have been worse. As Hannah unknowingly gave me a green light, Dena’s presentation reached the question and answer portion.
This was my chance. My hand shot up.
“Yes, you.” Her eyes locked on me. She was ready to answer anything.
I stalled, tried to compose myself, and squeaked “How do we detect it at an early age?” It was a bullshit question and a lame cover for wussing out on asking her out.
A few more people asked equally boring questions and the presentation reached its end. As Dena’s group made their way towards the side of the stage in front of our lecture hall of three hundred students, my hand shot back up.
“Wait, Matt’s got another question for the group.”
“Actually, this question’s for Dana.” Her name was Dena, not Dana. I’d already shot myself in the foot but kept sprinting for it.
“What are you doing tonight? I was hoping we could grab some coffee, talk about Huntington’s Disease, and go from there.”
Dena was ready for any question except that. Her eyes locked onto mine in shock, her mouth dropped, and silence came out. This was all the class needed for laughter to erupt. It started with a cackle in the upper right where someone woke up and realized what was happening. Then it spread like Chlamydia in the late sixties.
Little did I know, Dena had a personality like a corpse and a long-distance boyfriend of five years.
My friends fell out of their seat as their bodies contorted with bursts of laughter. Seriously, they were on the ground. When you combine a strict classroom striving to be as professional as college students could be, a twist is a shock and a shock is what a class of calculated thought never expected.
Dena’s face glowed with red like Darth Vader’s lightsaber before he took of Skywalker’s hand. Without a word, she walked off the stage and made her way towards her seat in the crowd of people who couldn’t stop laughing at my expense.
I couldn’t think, I could only react.
“Did I mention I’ll treat?” Was all it took for her to turn about face as she walked by my row and snap back. As she turned, the class silenced themselves to see how much worse I could crash and burn.
“For the record, I have a boyfriend and he’s visiting this week.”
Again, I couldn’t think. So I reacted.
“Can I meet him? I’d like to see what I’m up against.”
Once again, she wasn’t ready for my question. She turned her body away from me and her hair flung like a middle finger as it followed suit with the snappiness of her walk away.
Laughs died down slowly as people dabbed their eyes and sighed like they just had a Thanksgiving meal.
“Matt, remind me to never let you ask a question in my class.” Of course my professor couldn't resist kicking me when I was down. Who could?