Retrospective Introspection

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If you are a long time reader of this site, I wrote about my childhood in Richboro, moving to an isolated Gwynedd Valley, going to an all-boys high school and eventually going to Villanova.

My high school social life was non-existant. I was no longer around my childhood friends and living in a house on a very quiet street in Gwynedd. In high school I didn't date. I didn't even go to the prom. I simply didn't know any girls, nor was I friendly enough with guys in high school that I was going to parties on the weekend.

Villanova isn't a party school. After 1985, when they won the NCAA Championship the school really cracked down on drinking on campus. They wanted a more polished image. By the time I got there in 1990, it was very hard to get trashed as a freshman, unless you were in a sport, joined a fraternity or were in ROTC.

I was in NROTC, I did join a fraternity and even then - I would say my social experience at Villanova was "eh" (imagine a shoulder shrug here). Everyone's experiences are different. I'm sure if you pulled 100 guys from Villanova who graduated from 1994, they would have 100 different stories. My story is that my formative years, as a high schooler and having zero experience with girls didn't translate very well at a school like Villanova, which isn't known for its decadent party scene and sexually liberated women.

My first three years there, I had a good enough time, but nothing remarkable. A little of this, a little of that. I was always the nice guy in college. I always had a lot of girl friends. I was easy to talk to, and a lot of girls found that refreshing from their boyfriends that treated them badly. I would always get "I wish my boyfriend were like you" from girls. To me, I was an 80's kid watching too many movies with John Cusack where the nice friendly guy gets the cute girl. That never worked for me at Villanova, I just made a lot of girl friends who put me into the box of "friend". Plus it seemed that most girls who were freshman and sophomores were dating juniors and seniors, which didn't help much either. It wasn't until senior year that things started to look up for me.

My senior year I was back and living in Alumni Hall on campus. I liked it, since it was your own bedroom, maybe 8x12, quiet and located in the middle of campus. Only a month back I met Hannah, a freshmen from England, with long dirty blonde hair and very blue eyes. I was certainly smitten with her and she was with me.

We started as friends, but were at a fraternity party one night. Now, my fraternity were like the Land Of Misfit Toys ("Nobody wants a Charlie In the Box!"), in the form of college guys. You had engineeers, business majors, midshipmen, liberal arts, drug users, band members, rich kids, street kids and losers. One of the guys named Grella, who was a smart-talking kid from Brooklyn had a camera. While I was sitting on a chair, with Hannah on the arm rest, he comes up and says, "Hey, let me take a picture!", he gestures to Hannah saying, "Hey, you sit on his lap!"

She does, he takes the picture and then pipes up and says, "Lets get a kiss! Aw, come on!". So we kiss. Something simple and sweet. Grella doesn't like it much.

"That's not a KISS!", he moans. "Come on, put some work into it!"

We kiss and from there things changed. What was once a friend now turned into something different. That night was a lot of fun, we did kiss some more. We saw each other every day, and it was college so the whole "dating" thing wasn't really there. We would see each other for lunch and after classes. We would just "hang out" a lot.

After a few weeks I asked for her to be my girlfriend, she agreed and things were cool. I never experienced anything like it. I wasn't used to this. I took her to her first baseball game, which was a 1993 Phillies playoff game. I took her to Ocean City for a fall weekend, which turned out to be a slight disaster because it was frigid cold and the entire town was basically shut down. We were bored silly.

I wrote in other stories about how hard it is to be in a relationship with someone when you are around them 24-7. Hannah wanted to be that girl. She wanted to spend every moment with me, and at first I liked it. But then it became suffocating. I liked my "alone time", if I was on my computer or reading or doing homework. I can't do homework with someone else in my room, it distracts me. Consider that my 4 years of high school were spent with me in a mostly isolated situation and it speaks loads to the person that I have become - I enjoy a certain level of my free time.

This didn't compute with young Hannah. She just didn't understand why I wouldn't want to be around her all the time. I remember that I was going to introduce Hannah to my parents one weekend I think around late October or early December after we were together for almost 2 months. We got into an arguement on Friday, and broke up. I remember walking into my house at Gwynedd Valley on Saturday, the day I was going to bring Hannah.

13 years later I still can remember exactly how I walked in and saw my father sitting on his leather recliner, and I could tell that he took a bit more care into how he looked, as did my mother. They were expecting a guest, and I had none. I felt crestfallen because I forgot to tell them that Hannah and I broke up, and I gave a brief and lame explanation just saying that we broke up. Both my parents were very casual about it, and told me not to worry about it. Part of me felt disappointed that, in a way, I let my parents down.

Senior year trudged on, and Hannah got friendly with another one of my fraternity brothers. He was a senior like myself, but we weren't that close of friends, and was dating her by January. He even took her to our Senior dance. Interestingly enough, he had a house in Ocean City also, where she stayed with him for the summer of 1994. I never saw her again, and really don't know what happened between those two but I would be curious to know what happened to her.

I look back on my college experiences and have mixed emotions. I always tell people that i'm grateful for the education I got at Villanova, but wished in retrospect that I went to a more "fun" school. I don't know if that would have made much of a difference, but I never really felt that I broke out of my shell at Villanova. It wasn't until I moved up to Hoboken that things started to click a bit more and I grew more comfortable in my own skin.

I look back on my old experiences to understand who I am now. I wonder about the effect of Gwynedd Valley. The effect of Villanova. Being alone, isolated, having a so-so college experience. I wonder how things could have been different. I wonder what it would have been like if I went to a different school - would I have turned out differently?

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on February 17, 2006 12:05 AM.

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