Don’t be Eloise. Eloise is stupid and makes impulsive choices that she doesn’t think about the consequences for. Kissing boys is fine. It is innocent, it happens, and it especially happens in college. The reason I’m severely advising against being Eloise is because I made the fatal mistake of kissing my computer science TA.
Look, he’s a sweet guy. He gives good advice when it comes to my homework, and he is really passive and relaxed. I appreciate him a lot. His appreciation for me, of course, runs a lot deeper. I’d noticed him always sitting next to me during his homework help sessions, and giving extra attention to my questions. He’d insert himself (naturally) into my conversations, and he’d even invited me over to his room a couple times (in a non-creepy way).
Saturday, I took him up on his offer because I was admittedly a little attracted to his brains. I thought his passion for programming was impressive and I had respect for it. When I got there he shows me the elaborate LED light program he coded in his room, and we just talked for a little. At this point, I’m thinking He’s sweet; he’s nice. He clearly is attracted to me, and I’m slightly attracted to him. Not like anyone else is going to be coming into my life soon and so I can take this as slow as I want.
I kissed him.
I would like to note he is only 20, so he’s not a creepy old grad student. He’s a genuinely nice, normal kid. Also, I was his first kiss.
That very night I was invited to an upperclassmen party my friend Cameron’s roommate, Andres, was throwing. It was in his room– which happened to be a triple– and upon opening the door and seeing some people dancing and playing beer pong, I see both of Andres’ roommates, Cameron and Dorian Chaplin.
I was very happy to see Dorian. Dorian is on the varsity soccer team, well off from a nice family, pre-med, with light hair and blue eyes. I’d gushed countless times to Cameron about how attractive and kind I thought Dorian was. Even though I knew someone so perfect would never be interested, I still took advantage of how he sat alone on the couch, so I plopped down next to him. Conversation quickly followed. We’d been chatting for a while when Andres interrupts and asks us to play a round of beer pong.
Fun fact: pocketing ping pong balls into red solo cups is a hidden talent of mine, because Dorian and I emerged as reigning champions.
Afterwords, we all took a shot to celebrate. Raising out glasses in the air and cheering with a clink, everyone drank up. I’m not a very big alcohol person, so instead of drinking, I nervously held the glass to my mouth. Dorian took notice and tried to teach me how to drink it.
“Ignore the taste. Pretend it’s water. Hold your breath. Chase it with my Dr. Pepper.”
I followed his instructions to the T and it felt good, so I took another one. When I’d asked for a third, Dorian playfully took the glass away from me and refused to pour it. It was sweet how he was looking after me, but nonetheless I snuck in two more before I decided I’d reached my limit.
The world became dizzy and I felt super liberated. Dorian spent the night dancing with me and holding me close him. When my new friend, Dominque DuPont, pulled me to the side, she told me she’d noticed that Dorian seemed attracted to me. My inebriated self looked over at him and then back at her. I guess he had been holding my hand for most of the night, and watching out for my safety. Maybe he was. I tried to shake the idea out of my head, because I refused to believe it could be true.
That brings us to the next morning. Everything was fine, and I wasn’t really feeling terrible about what happened until then.
It started when I woke up and mentioned my TA to my roommates. I live in a quad with upperclassmen, and when they asked for his name, I told them, Marlowe Leider.
They grimaced. They’d known him from the year before and they weren’t the biggest fans. All of a sudden, for the first time, I felt embarrassed that I’d even known him. I’ve tried to block out the memory of what they said so that it doesn’t sway me, but I do remember being put off from him because of it. The urge to text him and talk to him went away.
I went back to Cameron’s room to pick up some stuff I’d left over, and Dorian was in there all alone. He smiled when I entered, and invited me to stay for a while. I gladly took him up on that. It started with my legs. I’d rested them on his while we worked on homework on the couch. I was pretty distracted by my workload until I felt his hand rub my thigh. I looked up and saw that his eyes were focused on his chemistry work, but his fingers played gently with the skin on my leg.
My eyes wandered for a little until a shiny object from the end of the table caught my eye. It was a plastic tiara. I stretched my arms across the table and reached for it. Dorian turned to look at me and laughed.
“It’s not mine. Someone left it here last night.”
I batted my eyes and tried to mimic regality.
“You have to crown me.”
I handed him the tiara and he pulled a strand of my hair behind my ear. He slid it onto my head, letting his hands linger near my face before smiling.
We went back to our work. There was music playing in the background and after some time, the both of us got sleepy. By this point, our positions had changed. My head was in his lap, one of his hands held mine, and the other played with my hair. That’s when he got up, sleepily, and suggested we took a short nap. I suggested to take it in his bed.
The lights were off, it was dark, and there I was laying with Dorian fucking Chaplin.
As good as it’d felt it the moment, when I’d left the room and we’d said our goodbyes, I had to head to the computer science homework session and face Marlowe. That’s when I saw how badly I fucked up. Marlowe clearly wanted a relationship. I didn’t.
Dorian had initiated that conversation shortly after our first kiss. We were on the same page about how we plan on pursuing each other further. Neither of us wanted anything serious, but we were both interested in each other for more than just the kissing. Unfortunately, Marlowe doesn’t have the same social maturity. He’s never had a relationship before, so I think that he assumes we’re exclusive and in one. That’s obviously not good. I think I’m going to let him down easy, and play the TA card– it’s so unethical because you grade my assignments. We could talk about getting together further down the line. It’s easy, swift, and makes it seem like I care about his feelings. I just don’t want to come out of this looking like the bad guy. It’s only been a day though, so I’m just trying to relax and take everything one day at a time.