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  • Writer's pictureBethany Lynne

Worth Men-tioning Ep 4: The Cookie Monster 

Author note: There have been many men to enter and exit my life, whether as a friend, acquaintance, or romantic interest. Each of these men have brought something unique to my life – a lesson to learn, a truth to observe, a growing pain to experience. Whatever the case, I’ve kept a list of their names so I would never forget. I desire to tell their stories, as they are a part of mine. No names will be used in an effort to respect their privacy.


There is a common tactic utilized by the male sex when trying to secure the returned interest of a lady. It is a strategy I picked up on early in my college days from continual, personal experience. 


The tactic is as follows: the male will do a little recon (emphasis on little), to discover something the lady of his interest enjoys. This item or activity will then be used as a means of connection, bonding, or winning favor with said lady. 


For example, while working at a teen camp in college, word got around that peach rings were my favorite candy. Over the course of the summer, I was assiduously supplied with 17 bags from boys on the camp staff. 


This banal tactic, though seemingly harmless, has the potential of going horribly awry when the information gained by the male is not properly verified. Allow me to elaborate. 


It was the second semester of my freshman year of college. There was a gawky sort of fellow I had just met who worked on the staff of the institute. One night in the library, he unexpectedly encroached on a conversation between me and my peers regarding sweets. I, being the actor I am, was playing at some sort of bit. The words, “What I wouldn’t give for a cookie.” Came out of my mouth, no doubt in some sort of British dialect. 


His pupils seemed to dilate behind his thick rimmed glasses as he zeroed in on my words.  


“What kind of cookies?” He eagerly inquired. 


“Oh… um… any kind, really.” I replied. 


I didn’t have enough energy in my bones to explain that I didn’t actually like cookies, that I was playing a bit, and if given the choice between a cookie and really any other type of dessert, I would most certainly choose the latter. 


How he secured my digits, I can’t remember. A vague recollection of indignance clue me in to believe I may have seen it an act of betrayal by a clueless peer. 


The next day the messages ensued. He informed me he had secured some noteworthy cookies, and was determined to deliver them to me. I politely, (or probably not so politely) evaded his messages thinking he’d drop the matter after a few days. But the bad vibrations continued with every text plaguing my phone. I physically evaded him loitering at the library study spot, at my usual dining room table, and in the classroom building hallway. 


A day or so later, I was walking back to my dorm late in the evening. It was very dark, as our campus resided in the forested no-where of upstate New York. It was secluded and remote enough that I never had felt in any danger of strangers entering school grounds. If there was a threat, it was at worst, a lost, meandering beaver. However, on this evening stroll, I sensed a presence behind me. The sound of a slow creeping vehicle across gravel grated on my ears. My shadow lengthened in front of me, as the headlights illuminated my path. I continued at my speed, stepping to the side of the road, thinking I was obstructing the vehicle's path, but it maintained its speed behind me. The back of my neck prickled. I felt the presence encroach as the vehicle came alongside me, and a soft, strange voice said my name. It was the awkward cookie boy, creeping along beside me in his staff vehicle - a large, white van.  


He offered me a ride to my dorm, to which I quickly, yet politely (or perhaps not so politely), declined, running across the dew soaked field away from the road. He had sought me out in the library, the student dining room, the school hallways, and my evening stroll path. I sprinted towards my dorm - the only remaining safe haven. 


A few evenings later I sat on the floor of my sanctuary.  


I have the cookies. His text lit up my phone. 


I replied that I was already in my dorm for the night. 


I’m bringing them to you. 


Nooo. That’s really okay. 


I’m outside your dorm. 


I panicked. The audacity to ignore my refusals. It was past curfew. I could get in trouble for just stepping outside the front door at this hour. I’d be a terrible influence as an RA to break the rules for such a ridiculous venture. 


I’ll wait until you can come outside. He wasn’t giving up. 


I turned to one of my girls. 


“Tara? Can you do me a huge favor?” 


She looked up from her desk. “What’s up?” 


“Can you go outside, walk to the end of the sidewalk, and tell the man waiting in the white van you’re there for the cookies?”


There was a brief pause. 


“Do I get some of the cookies?” She asked. 


“You can have them all.” I replied. 


She shrugged. “Okay.” 


Moments later she returned with the bane of my existence. To my continued exasperation, the cookies were not some sort of holy grail of homemade goodness. They weren’t some impossibly procured grandmother's recipe. They were Chips Ahoy: Reece’s edition. 


In my deep seated seething, I proceeded to resume my position on the floor, and open the package, only to discover that half of it was empty. 


Excuse me. 


This boy, who was desperate to impress and secure my supposed interest had chased me around campus for three whole days, to then lure me out of my dorm and give me HALF A PACK OF CHIPS AHOY? 


I consumed every last remaining cookie. (After my roommate had declined them, of course) 


The antics didn’t stop. The messages, variety of cookies offered, and the haunting presence of the white van around every forested corner was paralyzing. My anxiety and rage engulfed me, and I made a regrettable decision. 


I reported the awkward cookie boy to his supervisor. 


A week later, we sat across from one another in the student dining room. His eyes wide, his skin a shade paler than usual, his voice wavering, and his tone desperately apologetic. He poured forth his deepest remorse for the way his actions had been misconstrued. He laboriously attempted to clarify his intentions. 


I felt my righteous indignation and disgust turn into a pit in my stomach, as I watched him wring his sweaty palms in uneasiness. His eyes darted frantically between me and every observable object in the room. He was fearful of what I thought of him, he was fearful of his supervisor's warning, he was fearful of me. 


While his actions, when spoken about to my girl friends, were expeditiously labeled as “inappropriate,” “creepy,” and “stalkerish,” I had never actually taken the time to convey plainly to him that I didn’t desire his pursuit. I didn’t tell him that his actions made me feel uncomfortable. I didn’t tell him that I didn’t want cookies, because I do not like cookies. I didn’t give him the chance to honor or respect my boundaries, because I never expressed them. 


Understandably, he steered clear of me after that, and girls steered clear of him, the gossip having spread across school about “The Cookie Monster” and his white van. I wondered how much damage I caused his reputation from a few exasperated rants in the girls dormitory. 


A few years ago, I saw via social media that he got married to a beautiful woman, and my soul felt a little more at peace knowing he found happiness and understanding. 


I’m sorry, awkward cookie boy, for not honoring you with direct communication. Men in my life now often express their appreciation for my consistency in that area. That pit in my stomach was motivation to change and I properly dealt with it. I’ve grown since our encounter, and I’m grateful for it. 


And would you believe it? I’ve also grown more fond of cookies. 


-B







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