Friday, August 30, 2002

When I was a teenager, I was THE most marginalized kid in my tiny private high school. Felt like it, anyway. I was tall and shapeless and dressed like a hippy and wore an afro-style do because, quite frankly, that's all my hair would do at the time. The other girls went shopping with Daddy's money and had perfect Farrah hair, all of them. I made good grades quite easily and could play the piano like nobody else there, but my social skills left everything to be desired. So when the captain of the football team actually asked me out on a date, I was a basket case, and once I got my Mom and Dad's permission to date at the tender age of 16, I went to the Homecoming game wearing the corsage he had sent to me, and not believing my amazing luck. He and I dated for two years, until I went away to college. Two weeks after arriving at my college, my mom called to tell me that Ricky's wedding announcement was in the paper. He'd been dating another girl all along.

This sort of thing happened to me several times while I was in my twenties, either due to my own naivete' or just the desire to find somebody because a good christian girl was supposed to get married and have a passel of christian kids. 'Round about age 30, I realized that I wasn't cut out to be that girl, and what's more, I didn't mind.

My litmus test now consists of, among other things, how nice the guy is to the waiter, and whether or not he genuinely gets along with his parents. Manners and a gentle nature matter a hell of a lot more to me than a hot car.

Once I had this epiphany, I started having better relationships with men. I threw all that guilt out the window, the assumed expectations, the desire to have a husband at all costs. I've made some more mistakes, sure, but I'd rather be right here, right now, single, with good close god-given friends, and pretty darn happy about it, than stuck in a house and a relationship with someone just because I'm "supposed" to be in one.

That's why you're wrong, Pete. Sure, some girls find themselves attracted to men who'll treat them badly or take advantage of them, but some of us don't. You can throw up your hands in feigned exasperation if you like, over the fact that "girls don't want a guy who's nice to them," or you can just be that nice guy and see what happens. In my experience, the guys who say things like you just did typically aren't the "nice" guys in question.

Don't be lazy, and don't make excuses. You're wasting yourself and missing out on all kinds of good stuff.

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