Saturday, August 6, 2011

One Hundred Things My Mother Taught Me a Million Times - Chapter 75

(Passport photo, 1957. We spent 3 months in Europe)

#75 - Always behave nicely with boys or they will never marry you.

Apparently I’ve behaved too nicely with boys my entire life because I’ve been married so many times I can barely keep track! Honestly, I wish mom had said, “You really need to be a little slutttier SueAnn, otherwise you’ll end up in a series of heartbreaking marriages.” 

Bottom line, I came out of my first marriage with three wonderful children and a broken heart, my second and third with some fabulous (and not so fabulous) memories and lessons learned, and my fourth and last, a great friend and companion. A couple of years ago my daughter told me I was being mean to my husband, so I decided to be nicer to him. But that worries me a little because looking back on my history, being nice hasn’t really served me that well.

But let’s go back to puberty when this whole issue of being a nice girl first became an issue. I was a nice girl, or at least I think I was. Of course after I made out in the backseat of Mr. and Mrs. A’s car with their son all the way back from church camp (it was dark), they probably didn’t think so.  But I didn’t go “all the way” with anyone until I was married, which seemed the criteria for “nice girl” when I was growing up.  I thought I knew in high school who “did it” and who didn’t, but really I didn’t (know).  I remember finding out about a pregnant girl a couple years younger then me and thinking, “Not her! She doesn’t even bleach her hair!” It would be an understatement to say that I was naive.

Sexual promiscuity, at least back then, was more closely tied to the length of relationships than unbridled passion.  Most of the girls who ended up pregnant and/or married were those in a “heavy” relationship. Having married my high school sweetheart, I was one of those in a heavy relationship, but fortunately, my high school sweetheart wasn’t in high school and was a lot smarter about those things. I was so love-struck. I’m pretty sure I would have done whatever he wanted, but his more mature head prevailed and we managed to just “mess around” in ways that couldn’t possibly end up in pregnancy.

Were you a “nice” girl in high school? Or were you a “bad” girl? Did it matter?

Somehow I think that all that suppression gave me the false impression that you could only have one kind of relationship with a man:  married. I’m not sure that was so good for me. But then my niceness sure got me married a lot, so I’ll just agree with mom. Always behave nicely with boys or they will never marry you.

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