Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Girls Like Me
Than go with a boy or two.
Even though the neighborhood,
Thinks I'm trashy, and no good,
I suppose it could be true,
But there are worse things I could do.
I could flirt with all the guys,
Smile at them and bat my eyes.
Press against them when we dance,
Make them think they stand a chance,
Then refuse to see it through.
That's a thing I'd never do.
I could stay home every night,
Wait around for Mr. Right.
Take cold showers every day,
And throw my life away,
On a dream that won't come true.
I could hurt someone like me,
Out of spite or jealousy.
I don't steal and I don't lie,
But I can feel and I can cry.
A fact I'll bet you never knew.
But to cry in front of you,
That's the worse thing I could do.
Rizzo was my hero in "Grease." She made no bones about her passions and predilections and flaunted herself in the face of the judgmental. She kept her tears to herself. She was braver than me and less of a drama queen. I was a good girl with a bad reputation. I was naive, living in a dream world and was honestly astounded when people talked about me. What other kids did that got a fond laugh, got me in deep doo-doo.
I was that girl from "Happy Days" with the racy rep. Richie tried his luck with her, only to find out that, while she liked the kissing and closeness, she stopped at the heavy stuff. He ruined it anyway with the clumsy blowing in her ear. I had always loved kissing. I closed my eyes and I was Debra Paget or Elizabeth Taylor being swept away by the most handsome man in the world. I truly didn't know what was being implied when the camera panned away to the flames in the fireplace or fireworks were filling the air outside the balcony.
Up until my first real "in love" relationship, I was always able to stop things before they got too uncomfortable. I would always know, not what the making out was leading to, but that, suddenly, that lovely warmth in my belly would become a nervous, sinking feeling and I knew that it was time to sit up and move away. For me, the kissing was an end in itself. I honestly didn't realize that, for the guys, it was a means to an end. I knew there was something "dirty" the boys wanted to do that involved the organs "down there" but I was fortunate, to that point, that they never pushed it.
With my daughter's father, everything changed. We were still so wet behind the ears, but our passion was great. I was afraid to stop him because I was afraid I would lose him. I was still so frightened and guilty that I would just lie there and let him do what he wanted. I received no real pleasure from the act. In truth, I was so naive that I could not relate what we were doing to whatever it was that married people did to make babies. My resulting pregnancy came as a shock to me. By then, I was a little less naive and smart enough to be scared.
When Rizzo sang "There Are Worse Things I Could Do" in Grease, she was sweating out a late period. Even though she wouldn't admit it, she was terrified. So was I. If there was anything that would turn you into a pariah in my community, it would be an unmarried pregnancy. I already knew, from the casual way the boy I loved was treating me, that there was little help to come from that quarter. He had already gotten me in with a bad bunch that led to me getting in serious trouble with the law and I was labeled a juvenile delinquent when all I had done was sit in the car. Of course, Rizzo was able to announce, loudly, to her boyfriend, at the end of the movie, that she wasn't pregnant. Well, that's a Hollywood happy ending for you.
I cried, but I also started withdrawing, seeking out time alone. I finally had to confide in someone and seek some help. We all know what that got me. And, while living in a Home For Unwed Mothers, the tongues were wagging, including that of my boyfriend. If I thought I had a reputation before, I didn't know nuttin'! Friends were no longer allowed by their parents to have anything to do with me. Boys were constantly trying to lure me into their back seats and one wouldn't take no for an answer.
Peer pressure is the pits. When you feel unworthy because your peer group has pegged you as a loser, it is hard to outgrow that burden. For a few months, after I lost my second child, I think I tried to live the image I had been given. I hated it, it wasn't me, and I cut it out. Through all of this, there was a voice, deep inside me, screaming, "I Am Not A Slut!" Emotionally messed up? Hell yes. You would be too. But I was a decent person with values and ideals who just wanted someone to love and respect me.
It took me many years to learn that I was not what the gossip mongers had labeled me. I stopped judging my insides by everyone else's outsides and learned that there are worse things I could do. I could destroy another human being by spreading gossip, I could sit in a church pew every Sunday and practice casual character assassination outside after the service. I could do what one neighbor, who never missed a service did, and poison the neighborhood pets. I could exclude and ignore someone who really needed a friend. I could torment and tease and get a laugh out of someone who was socially clumsy. Oh yes...there were a whole lot of worse things I could do. I could be the bigot that so many in my era were. The list is endless.
I've done a lot of things that I am not proud of, but I am just one out of the entire human race who can say the exact same thing. I have also tried to be the best I could be, once I learned that, damn it, I was as good as anyone else. I learned to accept and even like myself and that was when my inner Rizzo emerged. And I am glad she wasn't pregnant. Many of the girls in my area who were sexually active with their boyfriends escaped the big "P." Unfortunately, they usually went on to become adopters. Rizzo wouldn't do that. I like to think that she went on to marry a man who loved her spunk and fire and lived happily ever after, with the occasional bumps that living brings.
Thanks, Rizzo. You give all us bad girls a good name.