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Better Than Sams


A few of my favorite Bruins.

This weekend, I spent some time with Vivien and Jennifer who were in visiting from Pittsburgh and L.A., respectively. We were all at UCLA together and it was in my senior year that they saved my life. Senior year was the year people were graduating, getting jobs, moving, joining the Peace Corps — all sorts of crazy stuff. It was also the year that I decided to start dating because not enough was going on in my life already. I wanted to date to “see who was out there” and to “have some fun.” Having fun in my mind meant staying up late to watch reruns of Sex and the City and going out for ice cream, so I thought it’d be a piece of cake finding fun people to have fun with. I was open minded and didn’t have too many restrictions, save for my one rule which was that he had to be a loser. OK, actually, I never formally decided on that one, but that’s how it turned out, and I am still convinced I must have had some sign stuck to my back that entire year: Hello, I’m looking for Losers. Are you one? Ask me out!

I dated a series of Sams, none of which were very interesting. I dated one Sam near Halloween and as we brainstormed costume ideas, I suggested that we might wrap ourselves up in aluminum foil and be an element off the Periodic Table. But he didn’t know what the Periodic Table was, and it was no fun at all when we showed up at a party together and he had no idea why we were dressed like the Tin Man.

Another Sam (whom I never really dated, but who had befriended me to “talk about life” because “I was cool”) offered to walk me home one night. He had just finished creeping me out (turns out he didn’t just want to be my friend), and as I made a beeline back to my apartment, he grabbed my hand (because “friends can hold hands,” he had said). In my head I thought, Fine, just let him hold your hand. It’s not a long walk. Then when you get home you can run inside and tell Keith all about how terribly creepy this guy is. But we hadn’t walked more than 10 steps up the sidewalk when I heard someone yelling his name.

“Is someone calling you?” I asked.

He shrugged. “It’s a common name,” he said.

The yelling went on.

“I think someone’s calling your name,” I said.

The calling got closer and closer until finally a young lady was right behind us. He whipped around and dropped my hand.

“This is my friend… Sobrina…” he stammered to her.

She glared at him, then at me.

“Hi Sobrina,” she said cooly, “I’m his girlfriend.” Then she screeched out some profanities at the both of us before running off in the opposite direction, him taking flight right behind her.

I should have learned my lesson after three bad Sams, but I continued trying to date and the loser streak continued, each guy more loser-y than the last. One day, I forget how it happened, Jennifer and Vivien invited me over. Their apartment was unlike anyone else’s apartment I’d ever seen before. It was cute and coordinated, and it definitely did not look like they had secured any of their furniture by being the first to drag the rejected sofas and bookshelves off the curb and back up to their apartment. (Which is how I got my desk and nightstand).

In contrast to me (a pile of exposed, jittery, over-anxious nerves), they sat relaxed on the couch, typing on their laptops and watching episodes of The Gilmore Girls. Sometimes they would watch episodes of Sex and the City and that was when I decided to stop dating all together. They would offer me slices of pie with fresh whipped cream. I had never known anyone in my entire life who had her own whip cream maker and I wanted to be a part of their lives. I had no idea what I was going to do after graduation, but they both had been accepted into grad school and seemed to be so very calm and cool and collected. How they were collected! They would wear immaculate outfits with adorable shoes, sweaters with small cats stitched onto the breast. I would often make notes about their wardrobe and one day I voiced how lovely I thought their attire was. It was late at night and they seemed flattered and then told me they were just wearing their pajamas. I have no idea what kinds of things they wore out during the day if even their pajamas were so refined, but I had to imagine they wore only the very best.

Thanks to them, to the breath of fresh air they were to me, I stopped trying to date any more Sams and my life has proved to be much better because of it.

Last modified: January 10, 2019