Think Like A Girl
Two friends make a strange bet that goes off in, well, a pretty predictable direction considering what website this is.
“I bet you can’t can’t ride down those steps on your crappy old bike”
“You’re on, dude.”
Taylor lined up the path he would follow, his eyes narrowed in concentration. His bike surged forward and started bumping down the steep steps at top speed. Taylor whooped with exhilaration as he flew down the steps. Suddenly, his front wheel smashed into the railing and he fell off, landing on his side and skidding down the last few steps.
“Ah man, I knew you couldn’t do it,” Dave crowed. “Now you’ve gotta do whatever I say.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Taylor groaned. “Just don’t make it too embarrassing.”
Dave paused in thought. “Hmmm. Yeah. No, not that. That? Oh yeah, I’ve got it.” He leaned over and whispered in Taylor’s ear.
Taylor stared at his friend in shock. “Dude, why the fuck is that your price? Are you some kinda faggot?”
Dave laughed and scratched his nose. “Nah, dude, I just think it's funny.”
“Why do you want me to act like a girl?! Super gay, dude.”
“Jeez, dude, it's not like you have to crossdress or anything. You only have to think differently. I bet no one will even notice. It's only a week anyway.”
Taylor was steaming all the way home, but he knew he would do it. To not follow the terms of a bet would impugn his honor as a man. Not that he would have phrased it that way.
“Think like a girl. Think like a girl,” Taylor mentally chanted to himself. He stared in the bathroom mirror. Definitely a guy.
“Like, oh my god. I look, like soo hideous without makeup,” he tentatively said in a ridiculous falsetto. No, that didn’t seem right. Dave wasn’t specific about what kind of girl anyway.
Taylor closed his eyes to steel himself, then opened them again. If he really tried, he could maybe see the person in the mirror as being a girl.
Some girls wear hoodies and have short hair, he thought. I’ll just half-ass it. It’s Dave’s fault for not being more specific
He looked at his—no, her—reflection. Her. H—She needed to remember that. Thank god hi—her name was gender neutral. She stared at the mirror.
You know, I look alright. Hmm, I wonder if I would look better with a pixie cut.
The next day at school, Taylor was still kind of pissed at Dave. Why would he ask gu—girl to do something weird like that. She still walked with him to homeroom, but instead of talking to him like usual just silently sulked.
Dave noticed something was up. “Hey, is something wrong, Taylor? You don’t seem like yourself today.”
“Yeah, I don’t seem like myself. Myself, you know. A GUY. Thanks to your stupid bet.”
“Uh, jeez dude—ette. Dudette. Sorry if I went overboard with that. You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to.”
Taylor pouted. “Come on. I can’t do that. That would impugn my honor as a m—woman.” I’ll be darned, he did say it that way. Well, flip me over and call me a flapjack. Maybe he’s been reading more. Er, I mean she.
After that, Taylor relented a little. Dave noticed with mild curiosity that she was carrying her books held up to her chest. He decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and wisely refrained from commenting.
At lunch, Taylor and Dave sat, alone, at the same table they always did. Taylor was steamed again, but this time it wasn’t at Dave, much to his relief.
“There’s this guy in my math class that just keeps on talking. I know the answers too but the teacher keeps on calling on him. God, guys are the worst sometimes.”
Dave nodded in indifferent agreement, wishing to avoid becoming the target of her ire. Then he had a sudden urge, and against his better judgment decided to prod her a little. I mean, what are friends for if not lightly mocking each other? No, seriously, what are they for? Ugh, I might need to get new friends.
“That’s just what the world is like for women, babe. It sucks, but what are you gonna do?” Dave spouted in a brave but foolish gesture.
“Yeah, well just because the world is like that now doesn’t mean we can’t try to change it,” Taylor grumbled. “I mean, if men like you played a bigger part, maybe we could really make a difference.”
Dave nodded blindly and wisely changed the topic to video games. A little ironic as a topic, if you ask me. What’s that, no one asked me? Well fine, see if I’m available the next time you need a narrator. Hmph.
Dave and Taylor hung out after school, like usual. Taylor was setting up her crappy old console, an Ibis PlayMaster. Most of them were recalled back in the nineties due to being a fire hazard, so I understand if you haven’t heard of them. Don’t look it up.
Dave was about to close the door so they could get down to some hardcore gaming, when Taylor paused, seeming uncomfortable. “Is something wrong?” Dave asked. It felt like Taylor had been really moody lately.
“I’m not sure you should—you know—close the door. It’s just that people might get the idea.”
Dave was a little pissed. He honestly hadn’t expected Taylor to take the terms of the bet this far. “WHAT idea? What idea are people going to get? Please explain it to me.”
Taylor tried to say something but Dave interrupted. “What, that we’re two gay guys? Just a couple of REDACTED (I, the narrator, don’t approve of this language)?’
“I’M NOT GAY!” Taylor yelled. “IF I LIKED YOU IT WOULDN’T BE GAY. YOU’RE THE ONE WHO MADE ME DO THIS, OK? ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR ONCE.”
Dave stood up, his face cold. “I think I need to get home now.”
After he was gone, Taylor lay on her bed and squeezed a pillow as if trying to choke the life from it. Dave had been her best friend since second grade.
Taylor and Dave avoided each other at school the next day. It wasn’t hard. They didn’t share any classes except homeroom. Taylor sat alone at lunch. Stupid Dave.
She glanced at where he was sitting, then intentionally looked away.
Dave sat alone. He snuck a quick glance at Taylor one time.
Was she wearing eyeliner?
Later that day, Taylor walked into the women’s room without thinking about it. A girl inside took umbrage.
“Aren’t you a guy? You can’t be in here.” Taylor just looked at her with a sneer and ignored her. The girl didn’t say anything else.
God, just because she had short hair and didn’t wear as much makeup as some other girls. Honestly, she was kind of sick of it. Maybe she should get a makeover or something.
The next day they still didn’t sit together. God, maybe it’s true that boys and girls can’t just be friends, she thought. Wait, that sounds like we end up dating. I don’t even know if I like boys. I might like girls, I should keep an open mind.
From the other table, Dave stared, incredulous. Taylor had gotten a haircut that, while shorter, made her look a lot more girly. He wouldn’t be surprised if other guys started moving in her.
He mentally slapped himself for thinking that. They had been friends since elementary school, for crying out loud.
I wonder if I should go back to being a guy. I mean, thinking like a guy. Urgh, I don’t even know what I mean. I feel like this has been causing problems between me and Dave. Maybe I can just make the whole thing go away.
She heard the front door slam down stairs. She poked her head out. It was Tara, one of her older sisters, getting home.
She walked downstairs, still just wearing her pajamas. “Hey sis.”
The two of them sat on the couch watching TV. It was the perfect way to spend a Saturday.
Taylor eventually shifted uncomfortably and cleared her throat. “Can I ask you something? You know, just some guy—I mean, just friend, advice?”
Tara chuckled. “Jeez, lil bro, it sounded like you were about to ask me for advice dealing with guys. I don’t think that’s something you need any advice on.”
Taylor beamed a glare of pure hatred into her sister’s forehead, to no apparent effect.
“Don’t call me that.”
“Don’t call you what? Oh, lil bro?” She glanced at her sibling. “Yeah I guess you’re not really that little any more. Taller than me now! When did that happen?”
Taylor didn’t like being reminded of her height. “Don’t call me bro, either.”
“Fiiiiiine,” Tara moaned, acting like it was the biggest chore ever. “If you’re gonna get all pissy about it. Okay, TAYLOOOORR?”
“Okay, so if a guy spent a lot of time with you—you know, you’ve known him for a long time, and then he comes over once and then he just starts avoiding you all the time? What would you do?”
Tara cackled. “I’m sorry you’re FIGHTING with your BOYFRIEND. It’s probably just a lover’s spat.” She paused and looked solemn for a moment. “Seriously though, bro, if you’re gay, I’m chill. Just putting it out there.”
Taylor groaned. “I don’t know why I thought asking YOU was a good idea.”
Taylor and Dave started talking again after a few days, even if it was more awkward than before. You can only be angry for so long and the two didn’t have a whole lot of friends. They just sort of ended up gravitating towards each other.
Apparently, in her absence, Dave had made a new set of friends. Dave tried to get them all to hang out, but Taylor couldn’t stand them. They seemed to do nothing but play first person shooters, and some of them just casually said horrible things about women. Taylor had never liked FPSs; knowing she could die at any moment really freaked her out.
Taylor had been trying to think more masculinely again, so they could just go back to their normal male friendship. Is that a word? Masculinely? My spellcheck is coming up. She felt a little bad about it. The week of the original bet was up tomorrow, so technically she was cheating a little. The thing is, she was having a little trouble with it.
She had been trying to wear a little bit of makeup—you know, not much, maybe just a little bit of eyeliner and sometimes lipstick. She was just trying to fit in a little better with the other girls. She—he—was over that now, though. Time to be tough and manly.
She—HE—marched over to the table where Dave had already sat down with his new friends, legs far apart in a wide, manly stride. She felt a pang of sadness remembering how it used to be just the two of them sitting together, but shook it off. Men didn’t feel emotions, and they pretended they didn’t if they did.
“Hey, bro,” she said to Dave, nodding and trying to deepen her voice. It seemed to have gotten higher over the last week for some reason. Dave cracked up.
“What?” she asked in her normal voice, offended.
“I’m sorry, that was just… I can’t even…” He wiped the tears from under his eyes, his speech still periodically interrupted to chuckles.
One of Dave’s dumb new friends—she thought he was named Ray?—leaned over and stage whispered to Dave, “No offense, man, but your girlfriend is terrible at acting.”
‘She/he’s not my girl/boyfriend!” Dave and Taylor blurted simultaneously. Taylor blushed, her cheeks turning red as she backed away from the table. “I’m… just gonna let you dudes eat alone,” she said, then fled to the relative safety of an empty table.
“That was the most tsundere thing I’ve ever seen,” Ray observed. Dave smacked him in the back of the head.
At the safe isolation of her private table, Taylor was trying her best not to think about things and just focus on eating. She couldn’t believe they laughed at her. She made a good guy. God. She had been one until a week ago! Wait, no, that made it sound like she wasn’t one now—which she definitely was. HE. Dammit.
Her complete and successful focus on eating was suddenly broken by a hand on her shoulder. She spun around, half expecting it to be Dave coming to apologize. Make that hoping. Of course it wasn’t.
Standing in front of her was Amy, a girl she had talked to a few times before class on the days she was avoiding Dave. She didn’t know Amy that well, but she seemed pretty cool. They had a lot of interests in common.
“Are you okay?” Amy asked gently. “You look kind of down. And I, um, saw it looked like you were fighting with Dave again. I hope things are okay between the two of you.” Okay, so maybe she had complained to Amy about Dave a little. A lot. Come on, it was just really on her mind at the time.
Taylor sighed. “It’s okay. He can just be kind of insensitive sometimes, you know? And his friends are jerks.” She forgot to count herself as his friend.
“I’m sorry,” Amy said. “A lot of guys are just like that. It sucks.” She patted Taylor on the shoulder, technically violating the school’s zero tolerance policy.
Taylor suddenly thought of an important question, but before she could ask it the bell rang.
“Hey, dude,” Ray asked Dave as they were walking through the hall. “The winter dance is coming up. Can I ask Taylor? You said you’re not dating her, and she’s pretty cute. If not a great actress.” He chuckled at his own wit.
“Uh, no! No, you can’t do that,” Dave stammered.
“Why not, man? You can’t just, like, claim her. God, just ask her out already, or let the rest of us have a turn.”
Dave had no idea how to respond.
*Bleep bleep* went the PlayMaster as Taylor collected five coins.
*Bloop bloop* as Dave stole them.
“Hey!” she said.
They were almost to the end of the level. Without moving his gaze from the screen, Dave said “Ray wants to ask you to the dance.”
Taylor yelled, “WHAT?!” Onscreen, her character fell in a pit and died.
“I win!” Dave shouted.
“You gotta go to the dance with me,” Taylor pleaded while following Dave down the hall. “Pleeeeeease.” She glanced up at him with what were meant to be puppy dog eyes. It looked more like she had been staring at the sun for too long.
Dave finally relented. “FINE. Isn’t this supposed to be the other way around?” he mumbled.
“YES!” Taylor wrapped Dave in a tight hug. “No touching!” a passing teacher shouted. She gingerly released him.
“Ray just won’t stop asking, and no offense, I know you guys are friends, but I can’t stand him.”
Dave sighed and brought his fingers up to the fridge of his nose. “I’m sorry, I know. He’s not great with women.”
“Not 3D women, at least.” They both laughed, though Dave instantly felt bad.
“What did you just say?” Ray asked, appearing seemingly from nowhere.
“NOTHING!” they both shouted.
“Oh, and Dave finally asked me to the dance, so there. You have to stop asking now.” She stuck her tongue out at Ray triumphantly.
“Well, we could always go for a reverse harem—“
“SHUT UP, YOU DAMN WEEB,” Dave and Taylor chorused. (Let me just reaffirm that the views held by the characters are not necessarily held by me, your gentle narrator.)
The dance was pretty swanky, at least by school dance standards. Blue and white sparkling streamers hung from the cafeteria’s ceiling, while below slow music and mood lighting reigned. Taylor had to spend her entire allowance for the last three months on a dress. She hadn’t realized how goddamn EXPENSIVE these things are. Good thing she had been saving up for a new bike.
“You know, that week was up a while ago,” Dave observed as the two awkwardly swayed back and forth.
“Yeah, I don’t want to talk about it,” Taylor said. They were silent for a moment.
“You know, you’re my best friend,” Dave told her.
“And you’re mine.”
The two danced together a little longer in the dim light. Whatever they wanted to talk about, there would always be tomorrow.
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