No secret to any, everyone knows about the famous, unspoken female guide: girl code. Friends have definitely betrayed me by breaking the girl code before; every girl experiences this a few times in life, especially in high school. I came into college set on avoiding drama and thriving socially.
I ended up breaking girl code. And now I can’t make popcorn.
I just finished up my first year at the University of Florida, and my roommate Vicky just finished up her Master’s in Public Health. As an 18-year-old student living off-campus, I had no guarantee of getting matched with students, let alone roommates of the same age. Vicky just turned 24, but regardless, she and I hit it off really quickly.
Everyday Vicky and I sat on the living room floor and discussed the daily tea. Whether she ran into her last Bumble date on campus or another fight with her coworker, Vicky always made sure to give me all the juicy details. I remember one time how she ran into one of her old Bumble matches four times on campus in one day. I’m convinced that he stalked her after she ghosted him. Each day, I looked forward to these tea sessions above everything else.
Other than Vicky, I didn’t have any real friends to trust in college. I grew apart from my high school friends during my first semester. By the time spring came around, she became my right-hand man in Gainesville. Every outfit I put on got her approval beforehand, and I did the same for her. Vicky already built her life in Gainesville before I came along though.
Of all her friends, she talked about JT the most.
An undergrad at the time, Vicky met JT in a co-ed fraternity on campus. Every week they watched a movie together. She also studied with him or hung out with him unless she made plans with me. Despite their close bond, their relationship remained strictly platonic.
Even so, as her best friend he fell under the “off-limits” category. JT came over to the apartment a handful of times, but she, coincidentally, only invited him over in my absence. I finally got the chance to meet him in March.
One Saturday night, Vicky didn’t have any plans, and I needed to finish up a project. We listened to Bad Bunny and gossiped in the living room, as usual. She started to persuade me into going out and assumed I didn’t want to.
Normally, I would have said no. Very comfortable on the floor, I needed to finish my project and get some rest for work the next day. However, looking at the excitement on Vicky’s face and taking into consideration the fact that I hadn’t gone out all month, I said yes. “Wait, what did you say? You need to say it again so that I know you aren’t kidding,” Vicky said. Once I told her to get dressed, she knew I meant it seriously.
Eventually, she made plans for us to go dancing at Bricks, a nightclub downtown that held a Latin night once a week. Exactly our scene. Turned out, JT and two of his friends, Orlando and Aaron, planned on tagging along. I hadn’t met any of her friends before, so I considered this as another bonding moment between me and Vicky.
I didn’t plan to hook up with anyone that night.
Although, I’m not new to the occasional one night stand or even getting a guy’s Snapchat. But I just wanted to enjoy the night solo and have fun without things getting messy.
Around 10:30 p.m., Vicky and I drove to Orlando and Aaron’s hotel. In our time talking, I got to know them fairly well. Orlando and Aaron didn’t go to UF but visited JT frequently. All three of them grew up in Miami, my hometown. At 22 years old, I found them all attractive and, though we hit it off, I still intended on keeping my promise to myself.
Out of the three boys, JT immediately caught my gaze. I didn’t usually fall for a guy that quickly, but I definitely grew intrigued at what could happen. JT seemed different—or so I thought. He didn’t come off as arrogant or immature as most Miami boys do. Instead, he remained quiet most of the time, something I found strange. This guy acted nothing like the guys I’ve dated in the past, and it made me excited and intrigued.
Who knew that catching feelings would mean I couldn’t reheat yesterday’s leftovers?
Finally leaving and making it downtown around 11 p.m., we got to dancing and ordering drinks fairly quickly. Time flew as the night went on. A little after 1 a.m., Vicky and the boys went to the bar to get more drinks. Meanwhile, JT and I kept dancing. Then, out of nowhere, he kissed me.
Caught off guard, I stepped back and looked at him for a split second to take it all in; this was not part of the plan.
My next move surprised me: I kissed him back.
Only a few hours after meeting him, I started to seriously like this guy. I liked his ambition, his ability to listen, his dancing and his goofy smile. After more dancing, 2 a.m. rolled around, and the ushers kicked us out. Classic Gainesville.
We all went back to the hotel to drop off the boys. Business as usual. JT didn’t attempt to hit on me aside from our brief kiss. Vicky and I went back home to our rooms without a word. Did she see JT and I kiss? I didn’t ask her just in case she really hadn’t seen us. My mind raced through tons of emotions, but I put them aside and prioritized one thing: sleep. I needed to wake up by 8 a.m. for work.
Picking my clothes up from the floor the next morning, I checked the pockets for any stray cash, lipstick or receipts. To my surprise, I found a napkin with a phone number —JT’s phone number. He must’ve slipped it into my pocket while we danced last night.
Smooth. I’m falling for this guy already.
I spent the rest of the morning at work debating whether or not to text him. Do not break the girl code. I gave in to temptation. Acting like a horrible friend, I ended up texting him after work. He responded within minutes. The rest happened fast: he asked me out, we ate dinner and, before I knew it, we went on dates twice a week.
JT remains the only guy that I went out with more than twice during freshman year. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking that Vicky would kill me if she found out.
I kept JT a secret from her.
Lying to her took a toll on him, as well. But he knew how she would react. Vicky didn’t cry or get revenge; she pushed people away. Neither JT nor I wanted to lose her as a friend, and we knew that our dating would likely result in that. A month and a half later, though, she found out.
Cooking dinner together in the kitchen, I made the mistake of leaving my phone out on the counter next to the stove. JT sent me a text. What a rookie mistake. My phone showed message previews, and he asked me if I could hang out with him the next night. I couldn’t twist what she saw in any way.
Within seconds her cheerful, bubbly mood transformed entirely. She angrily asked me how long ago we started lying to her. At this point, about a month and a half passed since that night at Bricks. “Are you serious, Vanessa? Out of all three of them JT? Unbelievable,” Vicky said.
I didn’t even try to argue my way out of the situation. I just apologized profusely and tried telling Vicky that I couldn’t help my feelings. Looking back, I sounded like a classic teen romance sidekick: pathetic and hypocritical.
She didn’t talk to me for a few days and when she finally did, she only said a few words about an Amazon package that arrived for me. About two weeks later, she spontaneously decided to go away for the weekend. She didn’t tell me where she went, but she did take the microwave with her and didn’t bring it back.
With nothing to reheat leftovers with, I could no longer make enough food for dinner and lunch the next day. I settled for chips and yogurt on most days. And let’s just say that with all my Pub subs, my credit card bill stayed at an all-time high each month.
After two months together, JT and I decided that we met at the wrong time and place. While I went back home to South Florida for the summer, he went to an internship in California. I would’ve done anything to stay with him, but I thought about Vicky. He had called me a few days after she stole the microwave and told me that she had stopped by his apartment to yell at him. Vicky’s surprise didn’t lie with him but with me. You just don’t break girl code.
Hearing that broke my heart and though I apologized about a hundred times, Vicky and I never got back to our former relationship. There went our popcorn nights together and any reason to keep leftovers in the fridge. I just hope I can hear the microwave’s very much missed beeping before the lease is up.