Chapter 4. Relationships.
Note: This was originally written but not completed last fall – when you were still a good 10 months from graduation. Things have advanced since then of course – but the song remains the same.
It’s all you got. I’ve told you over the years to look hard and close at the three of us: your sister, your mother and me. Until you get married and have kids of your own, those are the three most important people in the world. Period. EVERYONE makes the mistake of treating their most important people in the world with less respect and consideration than a checkout clerk at Best Buy. You say things to them, and in a tone of voice, that you would NEVER use with a stranger or acquaintance. Think about the way you talk to Grace when she asks a question – just a simple one like “what are you doing”. You sometimes snap an answer back to her in a tone that really doesn’t show any level of respect. Now imagine speaking to your best friend’s mother that way. Never. You know better. And I’m not singling you out – we ALL do it. Try to keep it to a minimum. Don’t beat yourself up over it – because remember what else I’ve often said: There is nothing you could EVER do to make me stop loving you – and that goes for your mother and sister too. Remember that when you have a family of your own – nothing.
You’ve been lucky to grow up fairly close to your extended family – specifically on my side. We moved back to this area so that you could. We believe it’s important to have that relationship – especially with your grandparents. You’ve got a pretty good thing going with your cousins, try to keep that intact. As you grow older you’ll drift apart some – but I have a feeling you and “JB” will be a lot like me and my “JB” – always friends that can reconnect in 20 seconds. You’ve been upset over the past few years as we’ve drifted apart a little bit from the family. Please don’t place blame on any of us for that. It was inevitable as my siblings and I got older and our kids got older. Life gets in the way. I do hope that you and Grace can have a special relationship – one that allows your kids to grow up with their cousins as friends, the way I did, and the way the first 10-12 years of your life was. Try to make that happen. Please see point number 1 above.
Stay the fuck out of trouble. Choose the right path, and if necessary, drag their sorry asses along with you. And it will probably be necessary at least 40 times. Guy friends are a LOT different from girlfriends or from girls who are friends. When you get older, guys pretty much want to talk about work, sports, and how big their penises are (literally and figuratively). To be completely honest – most times it bores the fuck out of me, especially that last part. You’ll notice at parties that a majority of the time, I’ll be found talking to a mixed group, or just to a bunch of women. Women are more interesting, to be honest. You do have a pretty good, small group of guy friends right now. The four or five of you are poised to be that group of friends that are together through high school and beyond. I hope you are. College will be different – and will depend on whether you’re in a fraternity or not, which, personally, I find to be “lame”. After college, you’re friends will fall into that adult man thing, eventually. zzzzzzzzzzz. Try to be a little more engaging than that – try to keep things interesting. Learn from the women. Don’t worry about your penis size.
I have a theory that is not really very popular with your mother. It goes like this: No heterosexual man has any kind of relationship with any woman (heterosexual or not) that is not sexual in nature at the core. Period. I think Freud would be proud. Every man looks at every women he knows (and 90% of the ones he doesn’t know) with an eye toward sex (the exception of course is relatives). No, that does not mean that you truly have a desire to screw them. (Yuck, in some cases) But in the subconscious, it’s there. Guys reading this in proximity to their wives, or mothers, will deny it wholeheartedly. But deep down they know exactly what I’m talking about. There is always something – positive or negative – lurking. Every straight guy has a “DoHerMeter” that either pings Yes or No within seconds of meeting. The truth and good fortune about my theory is that it doesn’t mean shit. Sure, it’s there, but 96% of the time (I’ve done the math) it doesn’t amount to anything and doesn’t affect (or is it effect) the relationship or friendship. That’s probably because women are too smart to let that happen.
But let’s talk more about romantic relationships with women. You’re going to probably have several girlfriends in your lifetime before you find the one that’s right for you, and you for her. I worded it that way on purpose: I didn’t say “settle down” because you should never settle, and I said “right for you and you for her” because there may be one or two that it goes one way or the other – but not both. Please keep in mind the stupid bumper sticker saying (bumper stickers can be SO true…) “For every beautiful woman in the world, there’s a guy that’s sick of putting up with her shit”. Don’t put up with shit. The woman you spend the rest of your life with, and raise your family with, grow old with, and go into the business of running a household with, needs to be one that doesn’t’ give you shit – and doesn’t put up with yours either. Boil it down to this: R E S P E C T (cue Aretha). Keep in mind that every women is someone’s daughter*, sister, and will probably be someone’s mother and wife – possibly yours – but in the end, the best and most likely thing she can end up is your friend. Don’t blow that. (* speaking of her being someone’s daughter – check out her mother very closely – she’s going to turn into her. Usually in appearance, but almost ALWAYS in personality, habits, and attitude. It’s not a joke.)
Right now you’re in between high school and college – still basically high school. You have a lot of friends – but only a handful of truly good ones. Everyone’s different, but this is my preferred method – and I think this is probably the norm. Have a lot of friends – people you can do stuff with -hang out with – ask minor favors of. People you trust and people you’re friendly with. But in the end, you want to have a core group of friends that are truly FRIENDS. Basically, someone that would help you hide a body.
When you leave for college, it’s likely that you will all go in different directions. When I did, I eventually lost touch with most of my high school “friends” – and then, eventually – even that inner core. There’s one that I’ve remained truly close to all those years (for about 40 years now!) but other than that – the rest fall into the acquaintance category. Interestingly enough, Facebook seems to have changed that – I’ve been able to get back in touch with people from high school that I had really lost track of. So I guess it’s probable that you might stay in touch with your high school buddies – if you decide to start using facebook more.
You are a very sensitive young man – who puts his heart out there – way out there.
Be careful, but keep doing that.
I’ll stop here and open it up to others to hear their thoughts…….