“So, what are your plans in college?”
I was a freshman and had only known Anthony a couple weeks when he asked me that question. I had known the answer long before I got to college. I imagined campus life to be like the American Pie movies. I wanted to hit up the parties (read: keg stands) and especially the women (read: maybe get lucky).
I didn’t tell him this, but at that point in my life, I had been chasing girls for as long as I could remember feeling blood pump in my veins. Having had sex in high school and now free from any girlfriends, I was definitely open to the hook-up scene and the possibility of having sex, maybe even with “no-strings attached” like in movies. Why not?
I told this guy Anthony that I’d want to hit up the “party scene.” I told him that I’d probably “sober up” and focus maybe around junior year. When I said it out loud though, I remember only half believing myself. I mean, hopefully by junior or senior year I could at least see myself with just one girl in a steady relationship and by then maybe I wouldn’t be so much of a reckless drunk.
“Well, if you know who you want to be when you’re a junior … why wait?” Anthony asked. “Why not start now?”
The question stopped me in my path. Who is this guy? What man talks to another man like that, especially one who was almost a stranger up to this point? I had a flash thought of punching Anthony in the face.
The thing is that I had never met a guy like Anthony before I came to college. Actually, if I was completely honest, I didn’t have many real guy friends growing up. The most serious conversation I had ever had with another man was probably trash talking with my childhood friend Sam about how much better Duke was than UNC. Yes, Sheldon Williams’ face may look like butt, but it’s not nearly as ugly as Tyler Hansbrough’s shot. So for another guy to give me such a definitive challenge about my life choices was definitely new to me. Who is he to question what I do with my life? What does it matter to him? He doesn’t even know me.
At that point, I knew down the road I’d want to become a respectable, strong man. Someone who’s true to his woman, someone she could trust. I wanted to be a man’s man, maybe a guy others looked up to. I wanted to be a guy who had his shit together. As I came into college though, I resisted this idea because it wasn’t the time for any of that just yet. I wanted to not care for a while, to be irresponsible, and to forget about any accountability for the time being.
But the question stayed with me. If I know what kind of man I want to be … why wait?
It turns out, Anthony’s question would be the turning point for my life taking a different course. That question was the beginning of me discovering the man I hoped to be and the man I am still trying to be today.