Boy Meets Girl

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When I think of first becoming aware of girls, my mind goes back to about the sixth grade at Chelsea High School. So in this post, I’ll be talking strictly about heterosexual attraction. Her name was Lisa and she sat behind me. I tried to toss little wads of paper down the front of her dress. Yes, it was all innocent fascination. I didn’t even know what sex was at that point. It was 1973 and the topic of sex wasn’t what it is today. Needless to say, I spent most of the class talking to her. As I got older and entered high school, it seemed that every guy was supposed to have a girlfriend. Boys would talk about who they thought the prettiest girls were. Because every boy was supposed to go for a certain “type.” Football players got first bids. Girls talked about who they were “going” with. I never quite figured all of that out. But I did find certain girls more attractive than others and went out of my way to be in their proximity. What really bothered me though was that it seemed the prettiest girls were going with the baddest boys and doing the baddest things. Sometimes I feel I should have spent more time with the girls who didn’t turn my head.

In college, everything that I suspected in high school turned out to be true. Frat hangouts every weekend, beer keg parties in the library, and girls wearing more skin than clothes. So, these are the new rules? Now I’m glad I commuted. I didn’t have time to think about all that extra fun. What I found sort of odd was that some girls who I didn’t find particularly attractive were attracted to me. Because in my mind I thought the only ones who would talk to me were the ones I thought were cute. I just thought girls could read all of that stuff. For instance, there was a girl named Cynthia in my sophomore statistics class. She was very and even sat next to me. But she seemed very plain. No glitz and glamor. I’m not sure if my eyes were conditioned to see beauty in an artificial way or if it was the college atmosphere where girls were expected to sparkle for all the guys. But looking back, many times I think to myself “Duh, John, what were you thinking? That girl was meant for you.”

I don’t know if this is true for all guys, but my perception of beauty changed as I got older. My elementary school fascination turned to sexual desire. But I thought it was just me. So embarrassing. Over the years, my desire turned to longing. And my longing turned to despair. In a way, the coin was flipped. The girls who dressed up to get boys attention and who I thought were attractive in my younger days no longer looked so attractive. They started to look artificial. The more makeup they put on and skin they showed, the more I felt it was all an act. However, the plain Janes looked prettier and prettier. Just a smile and willingness to talk to me became very, very beautiful. “I’ll look at your hair tomorrow. Just talk to me right now.” I grew up in an age without computers or internet. No texting and no googling. If I wanted to talk to a girl, I got her number and called. Ah, the good old days. So simple. That was back when boys and girls actually talked to each other, when you could hear the other person’s voice, when you could see their smile, when you could read body language.

Today I find beauty in all girls of all ages. Yes, I still appreciate physical beauty. But I feel it’s been way overrated. My preference went from petite brunettes to finding every girl attractive. And now that I’m an older guy, that is very . . . awkward. The girls who were old enough to be my mother yesterday are now too young to say hello to, because it might be “inappropriate.” Girls that I find attractive today have mothers I dated in college. There should be a new English word invented to describe that. Yes, I’m content with the celibate lifestyle. But now that I can look back on my life and how God has “changed” my vision, I can say without question that human desire for social interaction for outweighs sexual desire. I know that’s true for me. And from talking to other older singles, I think it’s true for all of us. Think twice before you deny a phone number or turn and walk away from someone. Because, chances are, they will still be around when you get old. They will remember how you reacted to them. How you were not there when they needed a friend. Will you still have dignity? Guys, I know she looks hot right now and you may want a piece of her. But remember that more than likely she will be somebody’s wife one day, and you may not be her husband. Her husband may be your boss. Would you want someone trying to get a piece of your wife today? I think it’s a paradox that our sexual desire seems to be greatest when we’re young, but at the same time our sexuality forces us to think long term.

The bottom line is that everything we do and don’t do is more important than we think. The competition of yesterday and superficial nature of sexual attraction eventually gives way to universal attraction, human kindness, to just a walk in the park. By universal attraction, I mean that if you live long enough and remain chaste, you will be drawn to nearly every member of the opposite sex. But if you remain focused on God, he will help put things in perspective for you and sex will become far less important than you thought it was. Young men, the short skirts of today will eventually become not so attractive and a smile will turn your head a lot faster than a pair of curvy legs. So concentrate more on whom she really is. What are her passions? Do you want to wake up to a pair of legs or someone to help get your kids to school? Young ladies, the chiseled muscles of today will eventually become not so attractive and the guy available to change your tire will turn your head a lot faster than ripped abs. His sports car will look very lame. I’ll throw this in as well: Remember that guys talk and gossip just as much as women. Over the age of 20-30, good guys tend to hang out with other good guys at work and in church. They talk about girls. They talk about the good girls. And they talk about the easy girls. Older guys talk about the younger girls with attitude problems. They talk about parents. You really don’t need to add or take away anything from yourself to get the right guy’s attention. I would even say that the more you change, the more likely it is that you get the attention of the wrong kind of guys. See be yourself. If you think it takes a certain weight and dress size, what does that say about the authenticity of his attraction? Do you think guys should be ranking girls according to their waist and chest size? Do you think girls should be ranking guys according to their muscle mass? Let me give you a hint: What difference will it make when you’re 70 years old and praying that your bones don’t ache so bad that you can’t up the next morning?

So the choice is yours. You can either see your life as one of God’s beautiful creations along with all the natural sexuality he built into you or you can see yourself as a half dressed manikin that has to step on scales first to be weighed and then be decked out in the latest fashion hoopla. I choose to be myself. When a boy meets a girl, it doesn’t have to be complicated.

The young lady in the photo is my mom on her 78th birthday.

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What Is Beauty?

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I guess they’re what you would call “goth girls” with their black pants and zombie-like faces. One had a skull and crossbones tattoo. Another had a mohawk. I was in Penny’s looking at shoes when they walked up to a very nice looking petite girl with auburn hair, a girl who really didn’t look like she belonged with them. Their blue and purple hair almost made me laugh and their heels made then five inches taller. But I guess she knew them from school. They laughed as they looked at the swimwear on the manikins, what little there was to see. I noticed one of them looked at the purse she had picked out and shook her head. “You must be kidding.” I wanted to yell at her “No! It’s perfect for her!” It was a conservative brown that matched her hair. Of course, the honest truth was she didn’t need anything else to make her beautiful.  She definitely didn’t need makeup. She was an angel. As her girlfriends put that common sense purse back on the rack, I asked myself “Is this what peer pressure looks like today?” What purse would they now pick out for her? I didn’t have to wait long to find out as one of them handed her a black leather-looking purse with spikes sticking out of the sides. “I don’t know,” she said as they put it on her shoulders. She glanced in the mirror and managed a halfway looking smile of approval. They threw it in her buggy and kept on walking around the store. Poor girl. It’s got to cost a fortune.

I looked back down at the men’s shoes and tried to find a pair that were “hip,” but didn’t make me look like a teenager. And then it dawned on me how lucky I was that I was able to pick out my own shoes without anybody else’s opinion. Whatever I chose, it was my style. I was not trying to find the trendy styles for men today. As long as they’re comfortable, functional, affordable, and don’t draw attention to my feet, I’m a happy man. I surely wasn’t trying to look like the guy on the cover of GQ or Muscle and Fitness. Just trying to be John. Plain old John.

But did this poor helpless girl know how beautiful she was without the leather purse and spikes? Did she know she didn’t need to waste her money on that to fit in? And oh my Lord, I hope she was not trying to get the attention of a boy – because it will definitely be the wrong boy. When she looked in her mirror at home, what did she see? Did her father ever tell her she was beautiful?

I found a pair of shoes I could live with and walked over to the shirts. They just don’t make them like they used to. What happened to “Made in the USA?” I spotted the girls again as they walked through cosmetics. “Oh, please Lord. Don’t let them force one of their zombie paints on her.” As it turned out, it was perfume. I can only imagine what it smelled like. Now I thought if she could only break free from them she might make it home looking like a breathing human being. Instead, they walked over to the piercing corner. I winced. “Oh, please Lord, don’t let it be a nose ring.” That was all I could take for one evening of shopping. Dad, if you have a daughter, please tell her she’s beautiful. Because if you don’t, somebody else will.