This is a story I've told regularly many, many times as my signature "crazy dating story", "amazing college-era eye opener," or "that time I went ballistic on the Williams Christian Fellowship", but now, almost exactly 9 years later, with a little more life experience and wisdom under my belt, I'm going to retell the story here with a large amount of honesty, self-reflection, and of course, crudeness.
For The Love Of (There Is No) God, Part I
I met Annie (not her real name) during the production of The Price of Paradise, a show I was performing with Cap N' Bells, the student-run theater company at Williams College. We hadn't spoken or hung out much before the show wrapped, but during the cast party I sat down next to her, and we got to know each other. One thing led to another, and I ended the night going back to her dorm.
Immediately upon setting foot into her room, I realized that Annie and I were probably not going to be a great match. Whereas the walls of my dorm room were mostly littered with video game characters and Maxim women (I was in the prime of my 'I heart Jessica Alba!' period), hers were actually filled with Bible verses. John, Peter, Murphy, the whole gang made an appearance. It was more than a little unsettling for me. Mind you, not enough to stick around for a lovely little make out session. Shortly after that the night ended, and I made my way back home. The next day over IM we had a little chat about our potential future as a couple, or friends with bennies, or whathaveyou.
Now, a little background information for you. By senior year at Williams I was known for being three things:
1) A hardcore video game geek
2) A theater brat (though by this point in time there was a mutual separation between myself and the 'legitimate' theater community. This is a story for another time)
3) A staunch atheist.
I know what you're thinking! But sadly I hadn't yet become the amazing improviser/world famous blogsmith I am today, and my Matt Shafeek Fan Club Newsletters, (if you don't know me or didn't know me back then, these were real) while well received, hadn't quite made me the campus comedy legend I'd hope to become.
Regardless, even though there wasn't paraphernalia on my wall to prove it (mental note: look into potential Atheism-themed College Posters. First potential slogan: "This Is What I Worship!" accompanied by a picture of a fantastic pair of boobs), I was about as far on the other side of the spectrum from Annie as one could possibly be. Yet despite this undeniable truth, we both decided to just see where it went. A loving compromise of tolerance, understanding and hormones. Personally, I knew I was graduating in two months anyway, so I figured, why not?
For a while, things were nice. Annie was, in a word, adorable. She walked me to class, she hung out in my room while I played Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, she even tucked me in at night and made fun of the fact that I slept with socks on (so much for religious people being tolerant!). Unfortunately there's a downside to being adorable too. Usually when you think of someone or something adorable, you don't really sexualize them much, do you? I mean, sure, Jessica Alba started off as an adorable teenage scamp in Flipper, but then she grew up to be 'the hotness' years later. Annie was more of a Flipper-era Jessica Alba, and there were none of those pictures of her on my wall.
One time while fooling around in her bed she stopped my roaming hands and made it a point to tell me: "I need you to understand that everything from here (her waist) down belongs to God." Which to this day is one of the greatest things that's ever been said to me (Oh and FYI, apparently those same rules somehow applied to my heathen body as well!). At the risk of sounding completely insensitive - though honestly, I'm already going to hell anyway, right - I'll just come out and say it: that statement is just bananas. Overripe, mushy, oozing out of the peel B-A-N-A-N-A-S. After fighting off the strong urge for a loud, incredibly offensive laugh, I merely smiled at her and nodded. And it was an honest smile, because I knew I just had just been given the gift of a comedic gold mine that would bring that same smile to my face and many others for years to come.
So you might say things were going 'PG-13 rated' well, but not, you know, 'Hard R' or 'NC-17 rated' well*. I guess it was just about as good as could be expected. We had the talk about religion a few times, but I did my best to just nod my head and bite my tongue, which was very difficult for me as a highly opinionated 22 year old just-about-fully-college-educated young adult. Plus there was the fact that around this point in my life I was what you might refer to as a 'militant atheist'. Or an 'ironic atheist', as it were.
I was so passionate, so absolute in my knowledge that there was no God, and that religion was a JOKE, that anytime the topic came up I made it clear to to everyone in the room that you-had-to-be-fucking-kidding-me if you believed any of that mumbo-jumbo from any set of beliefs that came from a place other than scientific FACT. So agreeing to disagree on the subject with Annie was a BIG moment of personal growth for me. Personal growth, or perhaps the prospect of getting to 2nd base - which, naturally was north of the God equator.
Right about that time Annie's religious brethren - the Williams Christian Fellowship - caught wind of our relationship. Things were about to get messy.
Next Time: Part II, Or: As I Just Mentioned, Things Get Messy!
*Keep in mind I'm not just referring to sex here. There was also no drug use, nor excessive use of profanity. There was however, a fair amount of cartoon violence.