Fiction On Odyssey: Her And Her And Me, Too

Fiction On Odyssey: Her And Her And Me, Too

She didn't want it, but that didn't matter.
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CAROLINE is number one in our class.

She’s the president of four clubs, captain of the varsity volleyball team, and has won the statewide debate competition three years in a row now. She raises her hand in class while the rest of us stare blankly at our phones or try to discreetly unwrap a granola bar without making too much noise. She always gets the highest grades on exams but never has the under-eye circles to show for it. Caroline’s hair is always in the right place and she consistently looks like she stepped out of a catalog. Beauty and brains, we say behind her back. Most of us have neither. We wonder if she somehow has more hours in the day than the rest of us.

On Friday morning, Caroline strides into school like she owns the place (doesn’t she?). We all watch in awe. She’s so confident. We would be, too, if we were her.

The principal, the cool principal, is greeting all the students, but he halts when he sees her. He walks up to her and leads her to his office and we assume he’s going to tell her she’s valedictorian or something.


In front of us, Caroline sucks in a deep breath. The dimness of the school after hours casts a shadow upon her face, and she suddenly doesn’t seem so confident anymore. And she’s here, so we know she’s not. She tugs at the neckline of her shirt before proceeding with her story.


She wonders if this is going to be a vote of confidence for the fourth statewide debate competition she has next week or a "congratulations" for getting into her top-choice college. The principal pulls her into his office and closes the door, holding his breath as if he has a reason to.

He looks down, and at first, she thinks he’s nervous, but her heart drops to the bottom of her stomach when she realizes that 1. this is neither, and 2. he’s not looking at the ground.

“That dress is awfully short,” he says, trying to ease into it. “I’m seeing more of you than I want to.”

Then stop looking, she thinks but doesn’t have the voice to say.

He tells her she’s a girl, but dressing like that is only going to bring her the wrong kind of attention. “You want to be noticed for your intelligence, don’t you?” he says. “Why don’t you go home and change? With all of these teenage boys…that dress is too distracting.”


Caroline tries really hard not to cry in front of us. She’s supposed to be strong. She’s supposed to be breaking glass ceilings for girls everywhere, even though that man shattered her before she could even touch the glass.

She tells us that the principal went off to look over some paperwork and call some troubled kids into his office and have his regular day and his regular lunch break and all, while she locked herself in a bathroom stall, wept, and never wore that dress again.

Caroline’s a smart girl, but that didn’t matter.


MARIE is at the bottom of our class.

She went to one fashion club meeting in her sophomore year but left after one of her guy friends told her that fashion was shallow and stupid, and she realized that, yes, it was silly to care so much about that kind of stuff.

She has a weakness for football players. One in particular. And he’s the kind who knows how to smile the kind of dazzling smile that reveals the perfect amount of self-assuredness without daring to come off as cocky.

All throughout football season, she works to catch his eye, his sparkling blue eyes. She whispers the response to him when the teacher calls on him in class. Lends him a copy of the math homework he didn’t do. Wishes him good luck before the big game.

And then one night, she thinks it’s all worth it. The team wins the game against the rival school, and there’s a party to celebrate.

The house they go to is huge, but the room he takes her to is “perfect”: intimate and downright claustrophobic.


Marie pauses for a long time, like she doesn’t want to give us the rest of the story, like she’s going to fall apart if she does. Some of us already are because we know where this is going. We know it too well.


It’s dark. He’s gotten a few drinks in her. A few in him, too, she can tell because his breath is hot against her skin and it’s tinged with the traces of cheap beer.

He kisses her neck. Seizes her arm when she tries to push him away. Forces her onto someone’s unmade bed.

His blue eyes don’t seem like they belong to the same person anymore. They don’t sparkle anymore, or enliven. They paralyze. Terrify. Terrorize.

“Come on, Marie. Didn’t you want this?”

“You can’t just turn a guy on like that and play hard to get.”

“I know you want it.”


The room grows silent. She brings her knees up to her chest and wraps her arms around herself, using herself as a crutch. She stays quiet, not giving us the boy’s name.

Who is he, we want to ask. Do we know him? What if we just passed him in the halls and didn’t even know?

She bursts into sobs.

Marie didn’t want it, but that didn’t matter.


BONNIE loves the football team almost as much as Marie does.

Did.

But school for Bonnie is the opposite of what it is for Marie, because the boys don’t give her the attention that they give Marie.

They never saw girls like her on-screen, in one of those action movies as the love interest in the impractically tight clothing, or on the cover of the magazines they hid under their bed. But she always saw them, as the superhero or the enigma or the sweet boy-next-door.

They don’t notice her, so she doesn’t know what to do when she does get noticed.


“I know it’s unusual to say this,” a man begins, appearing from behind her, “but I just wanted to say you’re very beautiful,” he finishes off, giving a sheepish smile yet maintaining unrelenting eye contact.

It seems innocent enough but strange, nonetheless. At first, she can’t tell if it’s strange-because-it’s-new or strange-because-it’s-unwelcome.

“Are you a college student, or…”

“High school,” she answers because she’s sure this must be a nice guy, and it takes courage to go up to someone, right?

“Ahh,” he says understandingly. “It’s hard to tell with Asian women. You know?” he adds, nodding to his own question. “Hey.” He lowers his voice and raises his eyebrows and something immediately shifts. “I know Asian women have the stereotype of being shy and submissive, but apparently they’re actually pretty wild. Is that true? Do you like to party?”

She doesn’t have the heart to tell him she’s not interested, but she hopes that glances to the side will be enough for him to take the hint. He doesn’t.

When he tries to touch her, she recoils and insists that she has to leave, because she has to, she has to.

Bonnie races home to take a shower, wanting to wash away the stranger’s presence that sticks to her like a layer of film. She scrubs and scrubs, though something tells her it’s already seeped in through the skin, spread through her bloodstream, and etched itself into her DNA—become an indelible darkness in her. She rinses off for the third time, though the way he smiled so unassumingly and unwaveringly still remains stuck in her pores, lodged under her fingertips, embedded in her memory.

She lets the hot water wash over her and cries because she’s more disgusted with herself than by the man who came onto her.


She cries now, too, as she recounts it. Before the tears drip down her chin, she moves swiftly to wipe them away with the sleeve of her red sweater, and then hiccups an apology.

For what, we want to say. We’re sorry, we feel the urge to add, partly because we are, and partly because we’ve been taught to put ourselves in the wrong.

Bonnie’s got a kind heart, but that didn't matter.


LOIS is a tough girl.

She graduated two years ago and goes to the community college just outside of town in the city. Whenever she comes home for the weekend, she tells us about all these situations, too many situations in which she was walking down the street and a man took the cigarette out of his mouth and shouted, “Why don’t you give me a smile, honey,” in which the nice guy from her night class thought she owed him something because he was so nice, in which she was sitting at a bar and a guy thought he could buy a drink and a feel of her inner thigh, too.

She tells us that after one of them threatened her family, she went straight home and searched for engagement rings on Amazon. She bought the most inexpensive one she could find, with a rock as fake as the person she realized she had to transform into every night to protect herself.


For a while, the ring works. When Lois meets an unknown man’s eye across the the room, and he sits down next to her, the fake little diamond ring and a joyful, “Oh, my fiancé and I have been engaged for two months!” is enough to ward him off. The stranger respects her (or at least respects whoever the guy must be).

One night, Lois forgets to put on the ring when she goes out with her girlfriends.

She limits herself to two drinks and reminds herself to shut them down if she’s not interested. Be resentful. Cold. Caustic.

And even though she knows all the right things to say and all the right things to do, when a man comes up to her that night, she finds herself trapped. She’s not small, but men always have a way of making her feel that way.

“What, you think you’re so much better than me?”

“Hey, now, who said I was even interested in you like that?”

“It doesn’t have to mean anything.”

“Come on.”

“Bitch.”

He tries to touch her thigh, it’s always the thigh, and she shoves him away from her.


Lois clenches her hands into fists. She should’ve known better, she says. She should’ve acted sooner. She seethes because she felt powerless. She seethes because she can’t help but feel like it’s on her.

Lois is a tough girl, but that didn’t matter.


CARINA is our student teacher.

She teaches history, the parts of it that the textbooks always leave out. We find it unsettling to see her here, because it’s different, because it’s harrowing, because most days it seems like she knows so much.

Sometimes it seems like she knows everything.

She tugs at the hem of her gray pencil skirt. Crosses and uncrosses her legs. Her heels click against the floor when she uncrosses them the fourth time around, and she winces as though she’s painfully aware of it and herself.

She has years on us, and looking at her, frazzled and frayed at the edges, we see our futures.


She’s twenty-one and at a job interview, wearing a blazer that’s a little too big around the shoulders and a pencil skirt she nearly burnt her thumb off trying to iron.

The interviewer’s blazer, on the other hand, fits perfectly around the shoulders. Custom-made suit, she deduces. The name engraved in the gold plate on his desk is stippled all over newspapers and magazines, and her heart drums against her ribcage.

What’s her employment history. What can she bring to the table. How does she see herself fitting into the work environment. Is she clear of the job requirements. Does she have any questions for him.

She remains polite and professional throughout the entire interview, the way she was taught to be since she was a young girl and her mother whispered to her that sometimes the world would seem like it wasn’t meant for her.

They shake hands, and she feels good about the job, and he kisses her.


Carina did everything she was told to do.

That didn’t matter, either.

Cover Image Credit: The Tab

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'Baby, It's Cold Outside' Is NOT About Date Rape, It's A Fight Against Social Norms Of The 1940s

The popular Christmas song shouldn't be considered inappropriate.

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The classic Christmas song "Baby, It's Cold Outside" has recently come under attack. There has been controversy over the song being deemed as inappropriate since it has been suggested that it promotes date rape. Others believe that the song is another common example of our culture's promotion of rape. You may be wondering, where did they get that idea from?

The controversy has led to one radio station, WDOK, taking the song off the air and banning it from their station. Some people believe that this song goes against the #MeToo movement since it promotes rape. However, people are not considering the fact that this traditional Christmas song was made in the 1940s.

People are viewing the song from a modern-day cultural perspective rather than from the perspective of the 1940s. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" was written in 1944. Many people have viewed the song from the perspective of our cultural and social norms. People believe that the song promotes date rape because of lyrics that suggest that the male singing is trying to stop the female singer from leaving, and the female singer is constantly singing about trying to escape with verses like "I really can't stay" or "I've got to go home."

When you first view the song from the perspective of today's culture, you may jump to the conclusion that the song is part of the date rape culture. And it's very easy to jump to this conclusion, especially when you are viewing only one line from the song. We're used to women being given more freedom. In our society, women can have jobs, marry and be independent. However, what everyone seems to forget is that women did not always have this freedom.

In 1944, one of the social norms was that women had curfews and were not allowed to be in the same house as a man at a later time. It was considered a scandal if a single woman so much as stayed at another man's house, let alone be in the same room together. It's mind-blowing, right? You can imagine that this song was probably considered very provocative for the time period.

"Baby, It's Cold Outside" is not a song that encourages date rape, but is actually challenging the social norms of society during the time period. When you listen to the song, you notice that at one part of the song, the female states, "At least I can say that I tried," which suggests that she really doesn't want to leave. In fact, most of the song, she is going back and forth the whole time about leaving stating, "I ought to say no…well maybe just a half a drink more," and other phrases.

She doesn't want to leave but doesn't really have a choice due to fear of causing a scandal, which would have consequences with how others will treat her. It was not like today's society where nobody cares how late someone stays at another man's house. Nowadays, we could care less if we heard that our single neighbor stayed over a single man's house after 7. We especially don't try to look through our curtain to check on our neighbor. Well, maybe some of us do. But back then, people did care about where women were and what they were doing.

The female singer also says in the lyrics, "The neighbors might think," and, "There's bound to be talk tomorrow," meaning she's scared of how others might perceive her for staying with him. She even says, "My sister will be suspicious," and, "My brother will be there at the door," again stating that she's worried that her family will find out and she will face repercussions for her actions. Yes, she is a grown woman, but that doesn't mean that she won't be treated negatively by others for going against the social norms of the time period.

Then why did the male singer keep pressuring her in the song? This is again because the song is more about challenging the social norms of the time period. Both the female and male singers in the song are trying to find excuses to stay and not leave.

On top of that, when you watch the video of the scene in which the song was originally viewed, you notice that the genders suddenly switch for another two characters, and now it's a female singer singing the male singer's part and vice versa. You also notice that the whole time, both characters are attracted to one another and trying to find a way to stay over longer.

Yes, I know you're thinking it doesn't matter about the genders. But, the song is again consensual for both couples. The woman, in the beginning, wants to stay but knows what will await if she doesn't leave. The male singer meanwhile is trying to convince her to forget about the rules for the time period and break them.

In addition, the complaint regarding the lyric "What's in this drink?" is misguided. What a lot of people don't understand is that back in 1944, this was a common saying. If you look at the lyrics of the song, you notice that the woman who is singing is trying to blame the alcoholic drink for causing her to want to stay longer instead of leaving early. It has nothing to do with her supposed fear that he may have tried to give her too much to drink in order to date rape her. Rather, she is trying to find something to blame for her wanting to commit a scandal.

As you can see, when you view the song from the cultural perspective of the 1940s, you realize that the song could be said to fight against the social norms of that decade. It is a song that challenges the social constrictions against women during the time period. You could even say that it's an example of women's rights, if you wanted to really start an argument.

Yes, I will admit that there were movies and songs made back in the time period that were part of the culture of date rape. However, this song is not the case. It has a historical context that cannot be viewed from today's perspective.

The #MeToo movement is an important movement that has led to so many changes in our society today. However, this is not the right song to use as an example of the date rape culture.

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Why Ocasio-Cortez Is Unfit For Office

For many of the same reasons as Donald Trump.

Kentaro
Kentaro
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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's meteoric ascension to elected office was as much of an awakening to the Democrats as was the election of Donald Trump. They too were not immune to the American people's frustration with the current status quo. Unfortunately, for both Democrats and Republicans alike, this has led to the election of polarizing figures with little backgrounds in politics and a commitment to alternative truths.

Ocasio-Cortez considers herself a Democratic Socialist and is out of touch with reality as much as her idol Bernie Sanders was. Socialist countries past (USSR, East Germany, Vietnam) and present (China) were/are rife with corruption. The socialist utopia which Ocasio-Cortez envisions will be the death of small American business unable to pay the high taxes required to support her platform, which includes Medicare and housing for all. Furthermore, her platform contains a proposal to tax Wall Street to fund public universities and trade schools (her childish thought process probably consisted of Wall Street = stocks = money = something I can tax), and a proposal to abolish ICE and demilitarize the police — besides being incredibly idiotic, a proposal feeding on the misguided anger some American have for our brave law enforcement officers who risk their lives on a daily basis to keep us safe. Our government is in 17 trillion dollars of debt because of its inability to manage money, and Ocasio-Cortez is telling us to give them more. It's appalling and scary someone so out of touch with reality was elected.

Ocasio-Cortez apparently loves alternative truths and lies as much as Donald Trump. Her most recent claim was that 66 percent of her Medicare proposal would have covered by the Pentagon's accounting errors, which total somewhere in the neighborhood of 21 trillion dollars. Looking closely at the article which she cited as the basis of her claims, it becomes clear she did not read or comprehend the article in its entirety and is living in her own fantasy land. The 21 trillion dollars is the sum of all the transactions where the same dollar could have been transferred between multiple accounts multiple times. In fact, the Pentagon hasn't even spent 21 trillion dollars in its existence. Ocasio-Cortez has also said ICE has a quota to detain 34,000 people a day, again another case of her living in her own fantasy land and acknowledging a half-truth. ICE is required to maintain — not fill — 34,000 beds by the DHS Appropriations Act of 2016. Ocasio-Cortez has said many more alternative facts, but I have neither the time nor the desire to bore you and analyze them all.

It's incredibly sad honesty and integrity have no place in American politics. Electing officials who have no commitment to the hard truths will destroy our American values and everything we hold dear. May God help this country.

Kentaro
Kentaro

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