Recently, my son was away on some adventure or another. I can’t remember where, but I can tell you he got there using my car, my gas and my uni-sex sunglasses.
During one of his check-in calls (mandatory until he pays for his own phone bill) he exclaimed: “Mom! I found the woman I’m going to marry!”
I said: “Put down that can and call me in the morning.”
When I spoke to him the next day, I said: “You met the woman you’re going to marry? What does she look like?!”
“What? I met so many girls yesterday, I couldn’t even tell you which one I was talking about …”
“Ugh. You’ve turned into one of ‘those boys.’”
I hope he wasn’t being uber-obnoxious to some poor girl, proclaimed his undying love for her and then by sun up, couldn’t remember her name.
But you know that’s what happened. He’s a boy.
I thought I taught them the rules.
I thought I steered them toward chivalry and courtesy toward women.
Did I dream that?
I feel like I may have, so, my sons, allow me to pontificate:
1. Always open a car door for a lady. Don’t be like “someone else” who opened a car door for me exactly once, pre-prom, then promptly closed it on my delicate ankle. I had a hematoma the size of a tangerine on my fibula and couldn’t dance to “Stairway to Heaven” all night!
2. Do not text when a phone call should be made. Can a text impart inflection and feeling? No. And that’s why every teenage boy does it. It’s the perfect storm. They can pretend it’s NBD (“no big deal” for you texting neophytes) when they get turned down cold. It’s harder to accept rejection or proclaim love via real phone time. Better yet, if you want to be crazy-adventurous, try something truly old-school, like a face-to-face conversation. That is, if you can straighten your body to an upright position again and put away “Pokemon Go.”
3. Always tell a girl she’s beautiful, even if she looks like Captain Kangaroo wearing culottes and Earth Shoes. In my defense, I thought the haircut made my nose look smaller, when in reality, it highlighted it like two encyclopedias flanking a squash.
4. Treat a girl like precious cargo. Treat her like you would your Beats headphones or your car or your Air Jordans. And never, ever let anyone speak ill of her. Like, if someone says she talks too much, is judgmental and has a nose like a squash, you just say: “She is perfect just the way she is.” Say it!
5. It’s not the big gestures that matter as much as the smaller ones. If you bring her a milkshake when she has a cold or ginger ale when she eats “bad shrimp,” she will appreciate you until the end of time.
6. Both in life, and upon the open road, ask for directions and admit when you are lost, when you cannot find your way. Girls respect men who admit to a modicum of weakness.
7. Respect: Say it. Memorize it. Put it on a bumper sticker. No woman has ever left a man for respecting her too much. But she has if he asked some other random chick to marry him on the boardwalk. Or stayed on the 18th hole at Fox Hill for seven hours.
Regardless. Be a hero. Always be a hero. Women love their heroes.
Maria Jiunta Heck of West Pittston is a mother of three and a business owner who lives to dissect the minutiae of life. Send Maria an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.