Date nights. Surprise delivery irks Ally.
Everyone laughed. Travis shuffled his feet for a few seconds, and then answered, looking me right in the eye.
"I like to read cheesy romance novels.'
"What kind?" asked an attractive girl in the front row, laughing, delighted by Travis's confession. She was an artsy type, not really the sort I would have expected to go for Travis. She had a fair number of tattoos and piercings and maybe three different colors of dye in her frazzled, shoulder-length hair. She looked like she could use a few days in the sun, and maybe a cheeseburger with fries, but I guess most guys would consider her a hottie.
"I don't know," Travis replied, blushing slightly. "What do they call it . . . 'New adult romance . . . slash erotica.' I like stories about bad guys who fall for nice girls and everything ends happily ever after. My best girlfriend got me hooked on them a couple of years ago."
"Awwwwwwww!" sighed the girls, right on cue.
I hated to admit it, even to myself, but that WAS kind of interesting, even though Travis was obviously using it as a pick-up line with the girls. It was so annoying because you could tell they were eating it up. By the end of the semester there would probably be a long line of pretty young co-eds just waiting to "convert" him, like in the books. Still, I was surprised and intrigued. My research is about "hookup culture" and casual sex among adolescent girls, and over the last few years I've developed a keen interest in the way that so many "young adult" and "new adult" authors are trying to tell new kinds of stories about female sexuality-about losing your virginity, and experimenting, and postponing "serious" relationships. "Hookup culture" gets a bad rap in the media and even among feminists a lot of the time, but in my view that's misguided. My research shows that young women experience real benefits, psychologically and creatively, from 'sleeping around' during their high school and college years, even through their 20s! They're much less likely to be depressed, for instance, then girls who practice serial monogamy (like I did) and then marry young (even younger than me). And they're much more likely to pursue ambitious careers, and to succeed at them. Most of my advanced classes are devoted to getting young people (mostly women) to tell different kinds of stories about their sexuality and their relationships. I was planning to explore some of those themes in basic composition.
"Anything else?" I asked, looking at him carefully.
"Uhhhh . . .," he stammered, thinking on his feet. "Oh yeah! I write a column for an online journal about fraternity culture. It's called 'The Player.'"
"Sounds great!," I replied, rolling my eyes.
The pretty girl with the tattoos laughed.
"Thanks," said Travis, not picking up on my sarcasm (typical). "You should check it out!"
The losers in the back sniggered again. I shut them down.
He wasn't my type at all (especially the frat boy part) but was cute, sure, in a preppy way. He had close-cropped dark hair, and dark stubble, and lively brown eyes, a little mischievous and self-satisfied, maybe, set deep beneath his heavy brow. He was wearing a navy-blue polo, short-sleeved, that fit him snugly in the shoulders and that was open at the collar to show off his chest hair. I almost rolled my eyes when I noticed.
The rest of class wasn't memorable, just going over the syllabus and class policy, and I got through it fine. Then, at the end of class, when Travis turned to leave the room, calling out to one of the freshman girls and hurrying to catch up with her, I shot him a quick glance out of the corner of my eye. I noticed the khaki shorts and the Sperry's with no socks. That time I did roll my eyes. He was straight out of central casting. But still, even though I repressed the thought almost as soon as I had it, I couldn't help noticing that he had a pretty nice body. The khaki's were short and tight, and they fit him snugly through the hips and backside. He had wide shoulders.
As awkward as it was to see a guy from yoga in one of my academic cl