Upsetting
Monday, January 12, 2004
 
The students pour across the university campus like paint spilled on a street, and the boys are excited because the girls wear spring clothes. Some of the girls know about the extra attention that attends spring classes, and some of those girls relish it.

Some of the girls dislike still being referred to as girls. One of the boys who has read Dworkin and MacKinnon says that no subjugating offense is intended, it’s just that boys always think of themselves “guys” – no matter how old they are – and the appropriate matching term for women is “girls.” Some of the girls buy that explanation, but others think it’s more of the same.

In the nation’s capital, a firestorm has erupted over one of the president’s men describing the commander in chief as a blind man in a room full of deaf people. The conservative sources, the Drudges and Washington Times of the world, run stories about how the president’s man was never listened to anyway. They sell the impossible idea that the president’s man was respected and sought after enough to be named a Secretary of the Treasury who was ignored.

The college students, their minds hot with skepticism, don’t buy it.

One of the girls on the campus says she doesn’t care, and when someone asks her how she could possibly not have an interest in the events that shape her life, she says that those events do not shape her life.

She says the greatest power she has is to not care.

If I don’t care, she says, I can’t become one of them. If I care, I get drawn into and forced to a side. I won’t have it.

A boy watches this girl say these words and tells himself there’s no way she could go guy for a guy like him. Quietly, he turns his baseball hat around toward the front. He immediately decides he will never again wear a t-shirt with a logo.

He feels he has to raise his game for a girl like this.

He will, and he will make her see that is he not like the other college boys. He is proud of himself for deciding on action, no longer content with the view from the sidelines. As his friend says, You gotta be in it to win it.
 
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