(This post is in response to the Zero to Hero writing prompt for Day 16 : Do reputations actually reflect who people are ? Or are instead the result of social biases and stereotypes? )
Thick, black rimmed spectacles, average Plain Jane looks, introverted nature and a great academic record. Thea was a typical nerd. She was seventeen and had just started college. Her time in the dorms had been filled with fun, friends and frolic. She was on the cusp of great things.
The best part about college was him. Her classmate. He was good at academics as well as sports. Charming and funny, he ticked all the right boxes. She was mustering up the courage to ask him out!
“Thea is in a relationship.”
This was what her status read like on Facebook. She saw 15 new notifications and 3 messages. Dumbfounded, she stared at the screen of her laptop. She eventually became aware of the muffled giggles of her friend. And then it dawned on her that she’d forgotten to sign out of her account before leaving the room (Rookie Mistake!). Both of them shared a hearty laugh and turned their attention to the reactions and comments posted on the status.
Thea was surprised to note that people, who she hadn’t talked to in months, seemed most curious. This was gossip that everyone wanted to talk about, even those who hadn’t bothered to stay in touch.
What?? When?!? How? Who!?
She didn’t like what she was reading. Without wasting any more time, she deleted the status, and sighed. Later that night, she pondered in the darkness. What had they said?
“Did u know about this?”
“No ! I’m shocked too.”
“She isn’t that kind of girl.”
“Guys, it’s probably a prank.”
And what does “that kind of girl” mean anyway? – The kind that has feelings? The kind who is capable of having feelings? The kind of girl that can be in a romantic relationship? Or the kind that guys want to be with? Which kind of girl was she not? She was not all of the above??
Then an ugly realisation hit her. Not one of them was pleasantly surprised, not one offered any congratulatory remark. There was shock, shock and more shock. They just couldn’t believe it, gave all sorts of explanations to disprove it. Her so-called friends weren’t happy for her.
As she was about to take her seat in class, he smiled and said “Good Morning” like he always did oblivious to her friend’s prank and the ensuing drama. She smiled and returned his greeting politely. She took her seat and contemplated. What jolted her more than her friends’ comments was the fear that they may be right. Maybe she wasn’t as they said “That type of girl”.
“Okay class, today we’ll read about….”
Her musings were interrupted by her teacher’s entrance. She diverted her attention from her muddled thoughts to the professor in front of her. She did the only thing she knew well, the thing she’d always been good at – Study!