Moving to DC was the first time I had lived out of the tri-state area, and the first time I moved to a place where I knew no one. One of my roommates in my first living situations, Jake, is luckily a very socially competent person. He’s the guy who has a spreadsheet of all of the music events that he’s going to for the next six months, shared on a google doc, so that his friends can decide if they want to go and how to carpool. He’s the guy who saw a passed-out-drunk dude on New Year’s night and helped carry him to the lobby of his own apartment building. Not to save him, not to sober him up, just to keep him from getting mugged. He’s the guy who whole-heartedly welcomed me into his vibrant DC world, introducing me to people who don’t dress up and instead get down.
Jake is a Five-Star Guy.
Five-Star Guys are people who consistently show up for you. Who don’t flake out. Who never, have never and will never, hit on you unless you do it first. Who are enthusiastic to the point where you don’t know if they’re making fun of you. Who laugh loudly, and often. Who offer themselves freely, pay attention, and make eye contact. Who listen. Who hail a cab for you at the end of the night. Who bike ride with you, drunk, home to drop you off.
There aren’t a lot of them.
Five-Star Gals are even more rare. They’re the ones who will always say, “Fuck that,” when some dude does something aggressive, macho, intimidating, or threatening. They offer to walk you home, or if they can’t, will tell you to text when you get home. They are unashamed of their own beauty and encourage you to express your physical beauty without jealousy. They have insecurities, because we all do, but they don’t let that overwhelm your interactions. They can be self-reflective and thoughtful, but that doesn’t prevent them from having a good time. They act like you’ve known each other your whole lives, even when you’ve just met. When you’re hurting, they offer to come to you, call you, and make sure you know they are there.They offer themselves freely, pay attention, and make eye contact. I am astonished by the daily brilliance the five-star gals in my life offer me, and their ability to turn a fucked-up interaction into a a laugh.
Being a Five-Star Guy or Gal has a lot more to do with personality than politics. But, it does have to do with how your personality represents your politics. If someone is respectful and is genuinely anti-sexist, anti-racist, and wants to learn through conversation rather than win an argument, you will feel that in their personality. They will listen, they will hear you out, they will encourage you to process a situation the way you need to. They aren’t super humans, or happy all the time, though, and are honest communicators when they are hurting. When you fuck up, they call you out and will help you reflect on what’s going on. They will do shit, not just talk shit.
A person will show their unequivocally Five-Star status within the first few interactions. No one can earn stars. These people show up for their friends and strangers. The people I consider Five-Star Guys and Gals are people who showed me that within the first few times I saw or interacted with them. When Jake moved in, he immediately invited me to shows, made friends with my boyfriend, and included both of us in plans. Kyla, a Five-Star Gal, and I met when I first moved to DC and she accompanied her friend, Jeremy, to the bar to meet me, when we were all still strangers. Kyla, in that instance, was showing up for her friend Jeremy. My first impression of my dear friend Glynis were the smiles and the “Good Morning” she said to me every day in the volunteer house we met at. She continues to display her Five-Star Excellence today, as I’m staying with her family in Minneapolis, and living bits of an itinerary she’s made.
In assessing how I interact with people, I know I can’t earn my stars. I either got it or I don’t. This just means I have to perpetually work on gettin’ it.