At approximately 1:05 a.m., the devil came a-knockin’, so I opened the door.

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She poked her head into my room. “Brianne?” she whispered, drunk and giggling. “Are you awake?”

I’d tumbled out of bed, tripping over sheets, when the first knock sounded. Sexier than ever in an old, Truman High School Marching Band t-shirt and even older retainers, I tore the plastic and metal from my mouth and unlocked the door. Then it inched open — just enough for the hallway light to sweep through the loops of the bun atop her head — and, again, my housemate laughed.

“Brianne! Were you sleeping?”

“No, I – ”

She kissed me, thrust the door open, clutched my face with tequila-stained palms as I tumbled back into the room, over my absent roommate’s stack of Toms sneakers, and against the wall. Twenty seconds seem like nothing — a blip within four years — but, as a prisoner pinned to a “New Girl” promo poster, I’d been able to reevaluate most of my life: Am I dreaming? Is this my college rite of passage? Should I audition for the next sequel to “American Pie?” Is Sean William Scott hiding in my closet? And, on a metaphorical level: Am I, too?

I shook my head, tearing myself from her clutches like a damsel in a bad romance novella. “Wait,” I said, laughing — my natural response to uncomfortable situations. “What are you doing?”

“C’mon,” she whispered, grabbing my wrist and leading me to the hallway, where her boyfriend, amused, leaned against the doorframe of her bedroom with hands tucked into the pockets of his flannel pajama pants. “Let’s have a threesome.”

Of all the college brochures from which I’d torn pages and all the CollegeConfidential conversation threads from which I’d eagerly taken note in preparation for my next four years at the University, none have explicitly recommended the ménage à trois. Extra-long sheets, maybe. But no extra partners.

Yet, my inner Neve Campbell wanted to be a Wild Thing, to be that brave, experienced partygoer who lowers a finger during drunken games of Never Have I Ever and to embrace whatever it means to “only live once.” It was daring, it was taboo and it was, most importantly, (consensual and) so not me.

Earlier that night, we’d crowded onto the living-room loveseat — foreshadowing? — for a night of booze-soaked heart-to-hearts. What have you done? Where have you done it? What do you want to do? What would you be willing to do?

“Have you ever kissed a girl?” she asked, leaning just close enough for me to confuse her pheromones for the faint perfume of weed, Patrón and toothpaste. Whatever; I was into it.

“I think once, during a game of Truth or Dare. Have you?”

“No, I’ve been with Boyfriend since we were like, 15. But I’ve always wanted to try it, y’know?

“What about a threesome?” she continued, smearing a crescent of black eyeliner from her lower lashes. “I feel like that’s, like, every guy’s dream.”

Boyfriend nodded, smiling as if to say, ‘guilty as charged.’

“I think I probably would,” I replied, “But I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship … And it’d have to be with someone with whom I was really comfortable, I think. I doubt I’d have the guts to get naked with a couple strangers.”

That was Old Me speaking, popping up like the tent beneath Boyfriend’s flannel. I’d been the wuss with the unused fake ID; the cultural epitome of the does-her-homework, rational and realistic “good girl” who sets her own curfew and drink limit. What fun is that?

Within our four-hour conversation, as South Campus quieted and the living-room string of bulbs flickered alive like fairy lights (atmosphere!), we’d established an implicit agreement: This was going to happen.

We skipped across kitchen floor tiles, frolicking the tiny apartment like bare-assed children soaring high on the ecstasy of ‘Hey, I Probably Shouldn’t Be Doing This.’

So this is College, I thought, wavering between test-tube shots of tequila while two mouths found my neck. College, right?

We were tangled together like a train of glamourized porn actors when I stopped. “Guys, I’ve never … had sex before,” I murmured, huddling further into the blankets on the living room floor as Boyfriend’s fingers prodded below, “So, I don’t know, I don’t think …”

It turns out that following the script of my crazy, cliché image of “College” was, in the end — not the climax — surprisingly sobering. And, after a while, it seemed less fun and more invasive. I missed intimacy, not a hook-up that masks itself as intimacy, but actual intimacy. The passionate, giddy intimacy and wanting of someone so fully. Not an object. Not an act.

“Of course Boyfriend and you aren’t having sex,” my housemate interrupted, “I would never let that happen.”

“Do you want to stop?” he asked.

No, I thought, open sexuality and hook-up culture are an integral part of the “College Experience!” After all, doesn’t college offer the only brief frame of time during which one can truly and selfishly explore? I refuse to regret not participating in the “sexual freedom” and irresponsibility of being a twenty-something on a campus teeming with hormones!

I ambled away into the hall, wrapping myself in the nearest afghan. “I’m really sorry,” I began, laughing between fits of apologies, “I just, yeah, I don’t know. I’m really sorry. Grocery shopping tomorrow? Yeah, cool, OK. I have to go; I’m sorry.”

“You don’t have to apologize,” Boyfriend insisted, but to my bedroom I fled, as fast and naked as I could, away from my first “real College Experience.”

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