Tuesday, July 31, 2012

YOLO, bro.

Beyond the Admissions brochure-worthy grandeur of lush campus lawns and sporting events, college is really just one big reminder of how much you don’t know.

There are the classrooms you can’t find, a library full of books you’ll never read and hundreds of faces passing by belonging to strangers you’ll never meet. And in a cruel twist of fate, there are multiple-choice tests that remind you that even when the answer is right in front of you, it’s possible to still be clueless.

The fact of the matter is that people don’t really expect the 18-year-old you to know anything. For the majority of four years, you are treated as a toddler roaming the streets of the adult world and provided with a nannie affectionately known as a resident assistant and an ID card that helps people return you to your owner should you get lost.  

Much of the highly-touted orientation week on a college campus is spent re-explaining things that were second nature in elementary school.

“If you hear a fire alarm, exit the building.”

“Don’t go anywhere without a buddy.”

“If you misbehave, we WILL call your parents!”

To most professors and community residents, college students are human receptacles for alcohol and drugs who sometimes successfully regurgitate study guide material in between cheers for the home team and catcalls. And yet, when you’re unleashed upon adult society at the end of four (or five…or six…) years, you’re expected to have something to contribute. Something that goes beyond a piece of paper with your degree stamped on it and an incredible tolerance for hard liquor.

The college experience is advertised as four years of somewhat contained mistake-making that happens to end with a graduation ceremony. It’s almost universally accepted that college is a time for fun. A time when we’re allowed to be sheeple travelling in packs to the dining hall, the stadium, the bars. Best case scenario, you walk away with some killer stories for your future progeny and a few semi-respectable experiences to list on your resume.

But you have to wonder what college would be like if we, the young adults of the world, were expected to know things. If unabashedly adult information like the consequences of credit card debt and what it takes to raise a puppy, let alone a child, was common knowledge, instead of part of the disclaimer on your diploma.

College is an incredible phenomenon that 20-somethings across the country wish would never end. But it does end. And the question “what are you doing Friday night?” becomes “what are you doing for the rest of your life?”

It’d be nice if more of us had the answer.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A bro in a bra.

Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away my Facebook feed was full of prom pictures instead of graduation posts. And among those many glamor shots was one that often flashes through my mind even four years down the road.
It's me. And I'm leaning against the wall in my patterned prom dress with my chuck taylors and air cast (soccer game gone wrong) among the men of our prom party in a moment of conversation that the photographer caught from the other end of the hallway.
The comment below from my ever-sassy friend Britta reads, "I just wish I was a chill girl...like you Kelsey Dallas."
And there it is my friends, the mission of my life: to be a chill girl.
I think it can all be traced back to my big brother. It was all fun and games when we were small enough to have no social life beyond making mud pies together in the back yard. But grade school really upped the ante. I had to compete for his attention with homework assignments! And bike rides! And, most importantly, bros.
Yep, you read that right.
And so it began.
My need to throw a perfect spiral with a football. To have a general knowledge of pokemon cards. To briefly run a Yahtzee-based gambling ring. (I know, I know. What a rebel, right?!)
And it continued!
By the time high school rolled around I had it down to a science. I could sing every lyric to the songs John played in the car. Rocked my own imitation Raybans. And was known to every guy in school as "Johnny D's little sister."
After John's graduation, I had the opportunity to strike out on my own in the high school halls. My copilot status with my big brother was permanently cemented so I could move on to the next great man challenge.
And so began my first bromance.
Though traditionally reserved for man-on-man friendships, I like to place my best male friendships in this category as well.
Why? Well that's easy. It's because they much more often involve me bro-ing it up than they do a guy getting girly.
I stand in cigarette smoke. I sip on Bud Lights. I reference baseball, football, hockey, basketball scores (you name the season, I'll have a general knowledge of standings).
And most importantly, I disguise that little tinge of crazy common in most of the fairer sex.
No, I am not a traitor to my kind. I just acknowledge that the things most often in the way of guy-girl friendships is the girl's inability to let go of over-analysis.
And so for the last decade or so I've been deadset on becoming the kind of cool that allows me to be one of the bros.
Looking back on it all, I'll admit that my strategy has its flaws. For one, I'm pretty sure my woefully short list of meaningful romantic relationships is at least in part due to my habit of friend zoning myself long before introductions are even over.
Because while I may be a self-described "cool girl", it is in much more of a wear-sweatpants-and-eat-disgusting-amounts-of-potato-chips-in-a-guys-presence kind of way than it is an oh-my-god-that-girl-is-so-cool-and-SEXY-that-i-must-make-her-mine talent.
It's really about balance.
I don't know where I'd be without the men in my life. I have some of the best female friends a girl could ask for, but my guys bring out a side of me that needs to be expressed.
I love that I know how to apply liquid liner AND could do a decent write-up about a baseball game.
I love that I could provide you with a detailed description of why guys love yoga pants so much AND have a working knowledge of what to eat when you want to lose weight.
Most importantly, I love the feeling that comes when a guy values me for more than just my boobs and my butt.
So the next time you see me choking back a Whiskey Sour, just recognize that there's a method behind my madness. And several great guy friends behind my smile.

Love, a bro in a bra.