I am not and have never been cool. Never. Ever. My hippie mother was going through a conservative phase when she raised me, which meant that she and my stepfather partied with their friends on Saturday night and we were sitting the pews in a fundamental Baptist Church every single Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. We grew up believing that what we did behind closed doors didn't matter. Only the face we put on in public.
So at home my parents got high, meditated under pyramids, and believe in unversal consciousness. I wore super modest clothes to school (she was tough about that), no make up until fourteen, wasn't allowed to go to any dances until my senior year in high school (and I did that twice, on the sly). I made straight As and had exactly one serious boyfriend who I broke things off with a few months into it. I knew I had to do something when my mother handed him a joint and teased us about our future (and, no, I wasn't allowed to smoke). I saw a life flash before my eyes and it didn't belong to me . . .
Then my mom sent me to a conservative Christian college where I finally had the opportunity to figure out who the hell I was apart from my crazy parents who promptly moved about a half a dozen times, often losing me in the process. This was where I truly got to know the God I now talk to daily. It's also where I became friends with the man who is now my husband. Two years later I fled the Christian college I'd been forced to attend, went to a public university, made lots of friends, got good grades, made my share of normal enough mistakes, often worked two jobs, got drunk once or twice and decided to settle down and have kids. Well-that's sort of how it goes. There was some therapy in there somewhere . . . A lot of therapy . . .
Fast-forward to now--trying to talk to my teenage son about the girls on his MySpace Friends' list. The last thing I want to do is shut him down or make him feel like he has no privacy. Nor do I want to sound judgemental of young women I've never met. But the one whose username had the F-word in it and decorated her page with pornography (No--not artistic nudes). . . Holy cow . . . The comments from male hopefuls tell me that she's not hurting for attention. He tells me they've never met, but they've been corrresponding for several months, she's really pretty cool and she and her family are moving to the area in the next few months.
Just a friend? I asked.
Treading lightly (because I haven't met this girl yet and don't want to burn any bridges), I tried to talk to him about first impressions and class and decency. I had the distinct impression I was speaking a foreign language.
I did finally ask--pointing at the page--"Would you want your dad to see this page?"
"No," he replied quickly.
"What about Pastor Dean? Would this be something you'd want him to see?"
"What about your younger brothers? Would you be okay with them looking at this kind of thing?"
About that time, my twelve year old(who has always had impeccable timing) came bouncing into the room to ask a question.
My oldest leaned around me, put his hand over the screen and replied decisively, "No."
"So do you want to date a girl who doesn't care about those things?"
I remain always and forever not cool . . .