I don’t know how I did it, but I survived a 3-year-long career as a Resident Assistant. I got out alive with a degree and some seriously crazy memories. Last week, I told you about my first crazy confrontation, and this week, things get a little more awkward. This is my crazy RA life and yes, these are all true stories!
There’s this thing about being an RA that makes other students get weird. For example, boys in trouble often try to charm their female RAs into letting them off the hook. It’s not uncommon to get hit on by residents regardless of your relationship status or if you went on rounds in skinny jeans or sweatpants. It’s bound to happen.
The problem is, sometimes the flirtation goes too far.
It all started my second year as an RA. Not long into the semester, one of my residents (we’ll call him Dave*) sent me a friend request on Facebook and I accepted. And so it began.
One afternoon Dave IM-ed me to ask me a question about policy. We started talking about papers and schoolwork and had a totally normal conversation. This became a usual thing – every once in a while, he would IM me and ask me how I was doing and if he had an issue, he’d come to me to talk. As the semester went on, we talked more frequently and joked around a lot. Sometimes Dave would get a little flirty, but nothing that was unusual. We became friends.
The Big Mistake
The first week of December was Holiday Ball, an annual dance at my school that always seems to bring out the worst, most drunken behavior in people. Dave and two of his suitemates found me and started dancing around me. I started laughing and pushed them back when they got too close. One of them put his arm around me and said “Oh come on, Brittney. You know you like me.” The other said, “No, she likes me!” while Dave stood back and laughed. Me, being naturally flirty, joked, “Oh please, if I was going to like any of you, it’d be Dave.”
Dave turned purple. And when I say he turned purple, I mean, he was wearing a maroon-colored button down shirt, and his face matched. He said nothing while his two suitemates obnoxiously shouted “Ohhhhhh!” like they were 12. I just laughed and had no idea that I’d just opened up Pandora’s box.
One night during finals week, Dave IM-ed me and asked me how studying was going. I told him I was studying for my Psychology exam and he said he was procrastinating working on a paper. Then he told me he had a question for me about policy. He said his friend wanted to know (that never ends well, does it?) I said shoot.
“So, what’s like, the policy about RAs and residents like, dating or hooking up or something?” He asked.
“Well, I mean, it’s not against policy, but it’s kind of frowned upon, especially if the resident is a first-year.” I said.
He said, “Okay, thanks,” and I started to change the subject.
We talked a little longer about other things, and then things got weird.
“So are you like, seeing anyone or anything?” He asked.
I didn’t know how to respond. “Actually, yeah, I am. Are you?”
“Oh,” he said. “Who? I mean, yeah, me too. I am.”
“I don’t think that really matters,” I responded.
“Yeah. I’m not telling either,” he said.
Needless to say, that conversation ended with an “Anyway, I have to get back to studying,” and a “Me too.”
Over winter break, I got an IM from Dave, saying, “What’s up?” I responded that I was just hanging out at home, and asked him in return. I prayed that this would be a normal conversation, wanting to avoid the impending weirdness. He told me he was bored, and the awkwardness ensued, naturally.
“Are you still seeing that guy?” He asked, to which I responded, “Yes, why?”
“Umm, maybe if that were to ever change, we could, you know, well…we should hook up sometime.”
“Wow. Okay. I really don’t know what to say. Anyway I’m going to go…” I said. I was shocked.
A week later, on Christmas Eve, Dave was having a party at his house. But despite the large amount of old friends and booze at his home miles away from me, he found the time to make my holiday extra awkward. Let’s just say, he drunkenly IM-ed me yet again, and said some inappropriate things. Things that were inappropriate enough to make him IM me the next day to apologize. Luckily I was not actually at my computer when it happened.
Dave was so embarrassed that he never IM-ed me again. Luckily, my boyfriend thought it was hilarious — so did my co-RA at the time. All I can say is, thank you Dave, for being the first (but unfortunately not the last) resident to teach me that setting boundaries is incredibly important.