The great thing about writing for the CU Independent is that it kick-starts the week at a Sunday night meeting. Among other things, of course, but for me, that’s really when you can feel the rush of a Monday coming on. And this week began like every other.
I entered the CUI newsroom equally full of excitement and sorrow, knowing that this was my final meeting. I have been writing for the CUI since my sophomore year. I started out with some “College Life 101” stuff, including how to kindly change the toilet paper. From there, I evolved as a writer. I started my opinion column Girl on Girl, which helped focus my fierce feminist identity.
My experience at the CUI is the highlight of my time at CU. I can only hope I have impacted the people I have been lucky enough to work with, as well as the future of the online news source, by even a fraction of the impact they have had on me.
But as Sunday’s meeting came to a close, a young writer approached me. He said, “Well, good luck, Danielle. Or is it … Denise?”
After a semester of regular Sunday meetings sitting around the editor’s table, causing a ruckus and earning a shoutout or two, a burgeoning writer called me Denise. I have written articles that directly reference my vagina, yet I couldn’t get my name across. A pity. But hey, I let the youngster have it.
“It’s Denise,” I told him, my pride strewn across the newsroom floor.
This was a story of success. I think I make a nice Denise.
I was on a hot streak. Everything was going well, and then everything became great — I finally received interest for a summer sublease! Shabooyah! A nice guy named Jordan reached out. A mutual friend had put us in touch. I was feeling relieved to have my summer rent just about paid for in my absence.
I passed the good news on to the couple of my roommates, who will be staying in Boulder through the summer, and was met by a veto: No boys allowed. I get it, a bunch of girls felt weird about a random guy moving in for the summer. I could get more into that, but this isn’t a Girl on Girl article so I’ll keep it light. Point being, this was about more than just a fill-in, it was about my friends’ comfort. I had to let Jordan go.
After a couple of days avoiding Jordan’s texts, unsure of how to say goodbye, I knew it was finally time to saddle up. This would be harder than Tinder; this was so much more than a swipe.
Keep it short and sweet, I told myself, just be honest. Let him know it was an issue on my end, and had nothing to do with him. He was kind. And willing to pay. And yet, I had to turn him away. But how? (Rhyme? Potential rap? Budding haiku?)
“Hey man, I’m sorry to keep you waiting. My roommates don’t feel comfortable living with a boy, I hope you understand. I’m sorry I couldn’t help you out!”
I sent it with sadness, but I knew it was the right thing to do. Back at square one, I brainstormed ways to find a new subletter in the midst of finals week, which happened to be my last week of college, as well as how to turn the event into a story.
And then Jordan turned my story on its head. Just like in February of ‘95 when my parents met me instead of Eric, Jordan exclaimed, “Hahaha I’m a girl!”
My jaw dropped, and my cheeks turned a deep shade of red. Girl Jordan?! I had heard it before, not too long ago. My sister had two classmates by the name of Jordan one year, who quickly earned the titles of “boy” and “girl” Jordan. There is a binary thing happening here but, again, that’s for Girl on Girl.
I apologized profusely for my unfair assumption, not to mention my agony over a lost cause. And then an afterthought, was I being catfished? No looking back now.
“The room is yours!” I told her, after expressing my severe embarrassment.
Between Sunday to Monday my world had flipped upside down. One identity changed and another one stolen. From Danielle to Denise, from Jordan to Jordan, this week is not like any other. A writer gone, a bedroom lost. So much has changed. But it all contributes to my push out of CU’s doors and into adulthood, with a diploma in hand, a false name and a pile of luggage.
And as I go, after four years at CU, I leave this love note to Denise and Jordan, the two that never were.
Contact CU Independent Assistant Opinion Editor Dani Pinkus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @dreampinkus.