Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Boys in High School
This summer Phaedra was invited to a boy's birthday party. I take her by the boy's house and his father runs out to meet me at the car. As I drive away I don't know that I've done the right thing by dropping her off. I call Jeff.
"Hey, that boy's dad met me at the car to introduce himself."
"Yeah. That's respectable."
"He gave me his phone number, his wife's phone number, and the boy's phone number."
"That's a good sign."
"They're going to the mall, to see a movie, and then having cake back at the house."
"Okay. What's the problem?"
"His dad was real excited about Phaedra attending because the boy doesn't have any friends and... Well, she was the only one invited to the birthday party. It gives me the creeps."
"I'll call her."
Here's why it gives me the creeps. First of all Jeff has a rule for the kids, No dating until he or she can drive so they can get out of a situation if it's not comfortable. Period. I feel like Phae got tricked by that old one, "Come to my party. Surprise! It's a party for two." Next, a person without any friends sets off red flags like rockets. As I drive away to secretly park around the corner to speed dial Jeff, I'm thinking, "Is he a weirdo? Why doesn't he have friends? Does he murder cats in his backyard? That's why nobody likes him? Come to think of it, I didn't see any strays on the way over here. Fuck! I just dropped her off on a surprise date to be murdered. She'll be buried with the cats by the time I come back to retrieve her."
My phone rings, "She said it's fine. She's just friends with him She's there because he doesn't have friends. Aren't you the one the tells her to be nice to everyone?"
Yeah, it's true. I tell her to be nice to everyone because everyone deserves a kind smile and words of encouragement. But! In this case she just needs to be nice, not become friends with him. Besides, when the crazy one climbs up to the top of the water tower with a high powered scoped riffle when he looks down at you, you want him to think, 'She was nice to me, I'll spare her life." Not become friends with the weirdo!
She survived the surprise date and became friends with him. The friend thing was much to my chagrin.
Fast forward to a month ago when she tells me she has a new boyfriend. Can you guess who it is?
I try not to let my face show disapproval, "Is that...?"
"Yeah, he has friends now that he's in high school."
"I've gotta light a candle for her." In my head I begin composing my prayer, "Dear God, please let him to no longer be killing neighborhood animals and not move on to making human sacrifices. And, help me to keep my mouth shut when she talks about him."
Last week she comes to me, "Andrew asked me to the Snowflake masquerade."
"Who is Andrew?"
She says it like I go to her school and I should know all of the boys in her class. No. That's not the case. I only know about Hot Griffin (because there is more than one Griffin) and I'm seriously contemplating starting a countdown clock to his 18th birthday: three years, seven days, tick, tick, tick.
"What happened to..." I wave my hand in the air trying to conjure the cat killer's name, "umm..."
"I dumped him, weeks ago."
I can hear the entire cast of Sister Act singing in my ear! I start moving my right arm in a circular motion and walking like I'm ghost-riding a whip with a little Bankhead bounce.
"What are you doing?"
"Nothing. Just got a song stuck in my head. Who is Andrew?"
She told me all about Andrew and yet all I know is he's tall, blonde, blue eyed, and looks like a surfer. But who is he? And what happened to the cat-killer?
She talked for three hours straight. The kind of incessant high school girl social chatter that somehow lets her breathe while talking inwards and outwards.
"He did what?!?!!"
"Yeah, I found out he was flirting with other girls and he told my best friend that he wanted to find out what it was like to kiss her."
"Phaedra, do you let him kiss on you? And you're not mad at your best friend?"
"Eww, no. I don't kiss on boys. No, that's just how she is."
I'll seriously never understand the "that's just how she/he is excuse."
As she was talking the one-long-multi-syllables-three-hour-in-length word she showed me a photo in her phone of a boy kissing her cheek. I'll let one of you be the messenger to Jeff on that. So, she lets boys kiss on her...?
"Good," I wink, "because boys still have cooties, except for your Dad. You're better off without that other boy. He clearly doesn't respect you."
I think the conversation is over. Until this morning while I'm getting ready for work. She comes into the kitchen.
"I talked to that boy last night for many hours."
"Why? I thought your best friend is dating him now."
"No, she's only going to Snowflake with him. She likes someone else. He was being a real jerk to me."
She read the entire string of texts to me. He has the nerve to be mad at her because she's not interested in dating him again. Never was I so grateful that I didn't have text messaging in high school. Secondly, I'm glad that she seeks advice from me about her dilemmas. Here's what I told her.
"I don't know why you'd put up with that. You don't have to tolerate it. There's always gonna be another man that wants to date you that is going to bend over backwards to treat you right so you don't have to put up with some kid that wants to cheat on you with your best friend and talk down to you. You were his friend when he didn't have one. Not one friend!
You tell him that you're tired of his crap. You tell him that I've taught you that the point of dating is to find someone who compliments you and vice versa. Dating let's you know who you want to settle down to marry. You tell him he is clearly not someone who exhibits qualities that you find redeeming and he does not qualify as husband material. Now, all of that being stated, don't you go looking for a husband. You're in the ninth grade; school comes first. But, you put him in his place and let him know you don't play that way."
Last, I want to bust this boy upside his head for trying to break her down, blaming her for his decisions, and not being accountable for his actions. He's damn lucky Pandora and Bleu haven't been sicked upon him; one goes for the throat while the other will give a swift kick in the...well, he'll feel it. That's for sure. But, I'm going to let her stand up for herself. Confidence in oneself breeds respect.
Phaedra, keep holding your head up high. Be proud that you stand up for yourself. I'm proud of you.
p.s. Everything I said about boys having cooties is true. It's passed through kissing, even on the cheek. Actually, it's on their skin too. They shoot them like laser beams from their eyes too. Hot Griffin and the super-cute boy from Maverick's Boy Scouts especially have cooties. It's best you stay away from all of them all together, even eye contact.