Revenge of the Nerdbyrpsuch©
After doing countless (I lost count) edits of my upcoming novel, I decided to apply what I learned to make my old stories easier to read. My rewrite is around 93,000 words and 40-50 thousand to go to finish the story and make it a novel. I haven't decided how much to post so please bear with me until I figure out how much I have to add to retain the tension. It is not imminent.
Perhaps I should have been an actress.
Up until my junior year in college I played every role impeccably, until I met him.
I played the compliant daughter of wealthy, socially-connected parents so well, neither of them had an inkling I might have wanted something else, let alone chafed under the expectation.
I played the supremely confident, breathtakingly beautiful girl who had absolute power over any man, and absolute power corrupted me absolutely. It helped me play the quintessential queen of the popular crowd. Supplicants lined up to offer me things, do things for me, just for the opportunity to bask in my presence.
Watch any teen movie. I was the one hated by the vast majority of the other girls. I could see it in their faces. But when you're playing that role, you can't show any indecision, you can't even feel any in their presence: it might show.
I think it's an interesting commentary on the values of our society, and not a little disturbing, that the age is getting ever lower when boys are worshipped as athletes and given special treatment.
It's down to seventh grade in basketball. Middle schools try to recruit the top players away from their neighborhoods, even supplying bogus addresses so they can play for them. These guys don't have much academic pressure either. They get all the help they need, including alteration of grades to keep them eligible.
What do they learn from this? That they are special; that the rules don't apply to them; that almost any kind of behavior they engage in will be tolerated as long as they continue to contribute to victory.
The result for those who don't make it as professional athletes is predictably disastrous: They never learn to control their impulsive behavior; they are not equipped to do anything and often suffer the rest of their lives as a result.
What has this got to do with me, little more than a mere slip of a girl, you may ask? Nothing, really, except there is a similar situation for a small number of girls.
We're not necessarily intelligent. We don't excel at athletics. We just have the one personal characteristic most valued by our society -- we look good, very good.
I am the archetypal example.
I started to notice it in grade school. Guys would offer to provide all kinds of services to me just for the favor of my time. They would carry my books, do my homework and offer to beat each other up, though how that was supposed to be of any value to me I never quite understood.
As I moved up to middle school and high school, I was more revered than our star power forward. I was prom queen not only for the junior and senior proms, but the write-in vote picked me senior prom queen when I was a sophomore, though the principal disallowed it.
In high school I got even better service. Guys did my homework, wrote my papers, wrote my book reports, chauffeured me wherever my fancy desired, bought me things just because I wanted them and granted any other whim that came into my mind.
A perfect example was this nerd named Bill. I mockingly took to calling him Little Willie in a sing song voice just to let him know his place. Despite the fact that he was younger, he would prep me for tests. He was absolutely amazing. He didn't just go over the material with me. He analyzed it, came up with the questions most likely to be asked on the test and wrote the answers most likely to be successful for the style of the teacher.
How did I reward him for these services? The way I did everyone else: I let him provide them. He got to spend time to bask in my presence.
He foolishly thought he might be entitled to more than that. He asked me out to a movie. I could have been cruel. I could have told him I was so far out of his league that no matter what he did the rest of his life he would never catch up. But I was kind. I just told him he was too immature and that when he grew up he could consider asking me again.
The majority of these services were provided by nerds and other lesser individuals, but the elite were not immune to my charms. The quarterback and the star forward had their pick of girls, except me.
With most of the other girls, not only did they have a reasonable expectation that sex would be provided, they could name the particular sex act in which they were interested and the girls would comply.
But my status was so exalted they had no expectation I would do anything for them or with them. I might become involved in serious kissing, but it was the rare occasion on which I "forgot" and allowed one of them to touch my breast - on the outside of my clothing, of course.
Those rules were necessary to maintain my status in high school, but in college, I did have some competition, not serious competition, but competition nonetheless.
It wasn't just that there was competition. I wanted to enjoy some sexual experiences myself, and I was eighteen, which meant I was legal. So I became a bit freer with, of course, the college elite.
Only juniors and seniors need apply. I dated the wealthy, the top athletes and the children of famous people even as a freshman. I was so knock-out, drop-dead gorgeous that I was readily recruited into these circles.
I was also far smarter than your average jock. I knew I could not completely succeed on the work of others. I knew, for example, that I couldn't get anybody to take my college boards for me and would, therefore, need to actually understand much of the work other people did for me in high school.
I knew I would also need to understand much of the material in order to succeed in a good college. And it was important for me to get into a good college because the elite there would be higher quality than the elite at a lesser school. That was important to my overall life plan.
I could have made it on my own. My family had almost limitless money. I guess that's not really making it on my own, and making it on my own was what I wanted to do.
I absolutely could have been a model. But I'd been told it's a lot of work and, from what I had learned when I was young, I could achieve the same or greater level of wealth by marrying well.
I wouldn't marry just for money. But surely there would be wealthy, successful guys out there worthy of loving me. In the meantime, whatever temporary profession I chose, I would have lots of useful contacts to help me generate business.
Best of all, I didn't have to make a choice now. I could pursue other interests, including sexual interests, without interfering with my overall plan. I didn't even have to be especially promiscuous to get the range of experience I desired because, secret's out guys, girls talk. I knew who was hung, who had special talents, whom I could go to if I wanted to try out some kinky experiment.
Not only do girls talk, they especially wanted to talk to me to curry favor. I was the hottest woman on campus and my stature grew steadily until, by my sophomore year, I was an undisputed phenomenon.
As Thanksgiving break approached in my junior year I began to notice unusual things happening within my coterie. A couple of the girls who had been climbing the social ladder were unaccountably absent from some key events and parties.
On a random Tuesday I saw one of them heading in my general direction. I considered it my responsibility to investigate what was happening to one of my retinue. I may have been curious as well.
"Hi, Jennifer. I haven't seen you around lately. What's keeping you so busy?"
"Hi, Ashley. You know, just taking care of school, enjoying life." There was something different about her. We were all happy with the lifestyle we were leading, but she seemed to have a level of contentment I had not seen before. She had a man.
"Who is he?"
"Your new guy. You haven't been sifting through the prospects lately but you seem, I don't know, peaceful, happy. Who is he?"
She blushed. "Nobody you know. A friend introduced us."
"A blind date? Wow. You must really trust her."
"So tell me about him. Jock? Connected? Classy? What?"
I had never seen her so reticent. In fact, I don't think I had ever seen her reticent at all. Not only would we talk about our guys, we would try to make them seem even better than they were. "Just a sweet guy."
"He must be some kind of stud to keep you away from the action. He must be hung like a horse."
She blushed again and turned her head slightly away. I had never seen this girl blush at anything before and she had done it twice in one short conversation. "Are you really that shallow?"
"What's wrong with shallow?" I asked without much conviction. I knew it sounded shallow. But in any field or group, there are key phrases that identify you as a member of the club, and even the leader needs to talk the talk now and then.
"He's just a very special guy."
"Very? So what is he, nine inches, ten?" No response. "A foot? My goodness." I waved my hand back and forth in front of my face as if to cool off a sudden flush.
"That's personal. I don't think I should be talking about it."
"Oh my God, he's even bigger. I want a crack at that." If she wasn't serious about the guy, she was honor bound to give me the opportunity.
"I, I really didn't measure. Anyway, that has nothing to do with it."
"Right. Only guys with little dicks say size has nothing to do with it."
"He doesn't say anything about it. He's just the most unbelievable lover I've ever had." I could see instant regret in her face that I had pushed her to talk about it. I would have to push to get more.
"My God, how big is he? Can you even take it all?"
"I don't know. Average." She looked down, avoiding my eyes.
I was shocked. I had no idea what to say. A guy would have to have an awful lot of money to get me to have anything to do with his average dick. "So what does he do that makes it so fantastic." I said it with real curiosity, not derision.
"He knows things," she said softly.
"I really don't want to talk about it. We're just friends with privileges, so if you really want to find out, I'll introduce you to him."
"Is he at least a hunk?" I almost winced as I heard it come out of my mouth. He was lighting up her life and I was trying to find out if there was any justification whatsoever for her seeing him.
"He looks nice enough, though certainly not what you would call a hunk."
This was like pulling teeth. I was asking open-ended questions and she was giving me clipped responses. "So who introduced you to this," don't use derisive words, "special guy?"
"No fucking way." It just slipped out. Candy was the other girl who had been AWOL. Jennifer was offering no unsolicited information so I had to press on. "So what is it that's so special about this guy?"
"He's sweet and sincere. He treats me with respect, not at all like a sex object, even though, you know. And he has such a quiet self confidence it's hard not to be captivated by him."
"Do I hear love?"
"I don't know." But her tone said, "I don't think so." She shrugged. "He's great to be with and he's -- just amazing. I know people like to exaggerate about someone they know; to say he's so unique. In this case, it's true. He's one of a kind. They didn't break the mold when they made him, they can't even find the mold. Anyway, neither of us is ready to settle down right now. He's especially not ready."
"But you keep fucking him anyway?"
"And I have no plans to stop." She beamed. "He's too good. We do a lot of other stuff too, not just sex."
"So how did Candy know him?" I asked.
"She started seeing him first. She's not in love with him either, but she may be addicted."
"Wow. Wow. So how has this incredible guy managed to keep himself so well hidden for so long?"
She giggled and looked down again. "He's a freshman."
"Holy shit!" It was unthinkable that I, or any of us really, would go out with a freshman. Not that a twenty-year-old girl can't go out with an eighteen-year-old guy, but for God's sake, he was a freshman, completely devoid of status. However it was intriguing as well. I could spin it as doing a favor for a friend and make myself look courageous, supremely confident. "I must meet this interesting man." Would "boy" have been more appropriate?
"I'll see what I can do."
I haven't gone into any detail about my looks because, frankly, I don't want to sound like a narcissist. I'm five foot eight, and I have blond hair. I know it's become fashionable to shave off pubic hair, but I don't do it because I want to leave no doubt that I'm a natural blond for those who are lucky enough to see me naked.
Suffice it to say that if you were out on the date with the most beautiful woman you had ever met and I walked by, your eyes would follow me until I disappeared from sight as if you were alone.
Jennifer called later that day. She had negotiated a coffee shop, study date. I could easily spin a study date. A movie or dinner or, god forbid dancing at a club, would be a serious breach of protocol requiring flagrant misrepresentation.
You don't get your way almost all the time without being a little pushy.
"Come on Jen, tell me something. Give me something to look forward to." I call her Jennifer to emphasize my status over her. I called her Jen to make her feel I was her friend; to make her want to please me.
"Okay. He's a great kisser."
I arrived in the coffee shop in the Student Union ten minutes late. I didn't want to appear anxious and I thought it better form to locate her rather than have her see me and bring him to my table.
And there she was. I saw her from the side but didn't get a very good view of him. As I got closer I was surprised by his look and his looks. He wasn't bad looking though I never would have noticed him in a crowd.
He was kind of thin. What was striking was his clothing. He looked like he was wearing clothes his mother picked out for him for college. This was probably because he was wearing clothes his mother picked out for him for college. No, he didn't have on a cheap white dress shirt appropriate for a pocket protector. But if you put him in a lineup, ten out of ten girls would have identified him as the nerd.
"Hi, Jennifer. Been waiting long?"
"No. Just an appropriate amount of time. Jeff, this is Ashley."
He stood to shake my hand. I think they used to do that in black-and-white movies. "Nice to meet you, Ashley. Jen has been saying some nice things about you."
"She's been saying some nice things about you too."
I shook his hand. I guess that's what you're supposed to do. It wasn't the limp handshake I had been expecting, but neither was it the kind I experienced from the guys in my crowd, the kind that said, "I'm better than you."
He did have a nice smile. It was warm and friendly as if he really was happy to meet me. But it wasn't the kind that said he had been set up with a hot one. He showed no awe of me, which was very surprising, because almost everyone else did, including women.
"I can't stay long," said Jennifer. "I have a study group and I need the help."
"I told you I could help you with that," he said.
"I know. But I can't rely on you for everything. I need to establish some independence, even if it is in a group."
He seemed to find that amusing for some reason.
I went to the counter and got a cup of black coffee. When I returned to the table Jennifer was gathering up her stuff and begging off to go to her study group. We were alone.
"Jennifer said you're just a freshman. How can you help with her courses?"
"I know some stuff. I read a lot."
"Maybe you should be taking junior courses." My tone made my insincerity obvious.
He hesitated, as if reluctant to speak. "I am."
"How can you be taking advanced courses as a freshman?"
"I placed out of some stuff on the entrance evaluation exams."
"Ah, just some stuff. Nothing important. Jen says you were homecoming queen last year. Does that take a lot of time away from your studies?"
"Nah. I'm pretty smart. I keep up with the stuff pretty easily." And I can recognize a segue, though it was pretty smooth.
"You're fortunate. Some people here have to work very hard to do well."
"Thanks." When was he going to mention my breathtaking beauty? I had never been on any kind of date where the guy didn't almost wax poetic over it unless he was tripping over his tongue. What was wrong with this guy?
"If I'm talking too much just tell me. I know you expected to get some studying done," he said.
"Yeah. Maybe we should do a little."
I was inclined to think about him, to speculate on what interested him, how smart he was to skip those courses and, yeah, I'll admit it, what it was that made him so special in the sack. I didn't know if he was looking at me, but history indicates he would be stealing glances so I dug into my work.
I glanced at him a few times and smiled in case he looked up at the same time. He was just reading. He took no notes. In fact, he didn't seem to even have a notebook or pen. Maybe it was in the missing pocket protector.
Two of my subjects went very smoothly. The third was a problem. I still didn't get why we were doing it. I could sort of keep up with how to do it, but I never understood why, and that muddied up my understanding of each thing I learned. I threw down my pencil in disgust.
He looked up. "Problem?"
"I just don't understand this damn accounting. I never got why we always do two entries. That makes it tough to know what entry goes where, because I don't know why I'm doing it."
He reached into his pocket. "I'm sorry. I seem not to have brought enough money with me. Could you loan me a buck?"
He had the most annoying ability to change the subject. "Are you good for it?"
He smiled. It was a nice smile. "You can track me down if I don't pay up."
I handed him a dollar.
"What's your financial situation now that you've loaned me a dollar?"
"Are you any better off? Worse off? The same?"
"I'm out a buck."
"Let's look at the entries. You have one dollar less in cash, but you also have a one dollar entry in your Loans Outstanding account. So one asset was credited because it was decreased -- cash. But the other asset, Loans Outstanding, was debited by the same amount.
"There hasn't been any change in your financial situation except to the extent that cash may be a better quality asset than a loan.
"If all you did was a single entry for the reduction in cash, you'd have no way to know it didn't affect your financial position at all, and you wouldn't have any record that I owed you the money.
"With other types of transactions you may be making two entries that allow you to keep track of profit and loss at the same time you maintain your assets. The idea of the whole thing is that, in some way, the fact that assets equal liabilities plus owners' equity allows you a complete picture of your profit and loss at the same time you know all your assets and what you owe."
I guess he recognized the quizzical look on my face.
"Do you know any algebra?" he asked.
"Yes. I remember some."
"Do you remember that if you do the exact same thing to both sides of an equation, you don't change its validity?"
"6 = 3y. If you divide each side of the equation by three you get six over three is two equals three over three, that's one, times y. So the new equation is 2 = y.