With one article, I turned a fellow student into road kill on the highway of love.
With one quote, I either broke up his relationship or undid all of the work he had put into it. And it all started with one question: “Do you see a double standard between men, women and sex?”
It’ll be almost three months since I stumbled across the miniature tape on which the interview was recorded. But it’ll be three years to the date since that article ran in The Famuan on Valentine’s Day.
What a better time than that to be quoted on the front page of our student newspaper saying, “Every guy has a roster. Depending on his game, he might have three girls, five girls, 12 or 15 – and they are all in a certain order. From girl nine to 13, I call them my 12 a.m. to 3 a.m. girls.”
While my source broke down this system of dating that came under adoption by a few FAMU men, his roommates, who were also present, ranted about how the campus lacked women worthy of being considered marriage-material. Their claim was that upon meeting any given woman at FAMU, they were sure to know at least one guy who had had sex with her.
In actuality, the guys’ line of reasoning only made sense if you paired it with my source’s description of on-campus dating.
So what did all of this imply?
As willing as some of these women were to prove themselves worthy of proper treatment, there were no healthy relationships on this campus. More than two years later, the same things are still being said. And FAMU women are increasingly managing the starting lineup for the “there-is-no-I-in-team” roster.
With quotes like the aforementioned, there was no way that I was not going to use them. After the story ran, my source was justifiably upset. To stifle my nagging conscience, I merely made note of the present-day adage, “The game is to be sold and not be told.” He had clearly messed up.
Looking back, however, I have to admit that I was definitely in the wrong. And it stemmed from my failure to put all of these hair-raising claims into context.
Throughout the interview, my source put a disclaimer on almost every outrageous piece of information that he shared with me: “Until I met my girl” and “Before I was with my girl.” At the time, I felt that none of this was pertinent to the article.
As a matter of fact, it was. Taking into account all of my sources’ comments, this man’s bond with his girlfriend may have been the only real relationship on campus. If it wasn’t the only genuine chemistry between two students, it was obvious that he was in love by his reaction to the article.
So, I type all of this almost three years after the fact to say, “My bad.”
What I left out of his quotes was a story more fitting for the day dedicated to lovers.
“My girl is beautiful to me,” he said. “She displayed some characteristics about herself that either no one else had or that would be hard for me to find again.”
Monica Harden is a senior magazine production student from Hockley, Texas. She is the assistant opinions editor. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.