Love in the Time of Pearl-era

20 Nov

‘They’ (the flock of women that make up the Junior League) say that the hardest thing for a father of a young daughter to hear is, “LAWD, Daddy, when she grows up, y’all are going to have to beat those boys off with a baseball bat”.

I would argue that, judging by his response, the hardest thing for a father of a university-aged-senior daughter to hear is, “Daddy, I know who I’m bringing home to the deb ball in February…. Don’t be mad, but he’s gay”.

 My father’s response: “LAWD, Abigail, I wish you’d hang out with those straight, handsome football-player types from time to time”.

To which I reply: “Sorry, Daddy; I’m not blonde or from Connecticut”. (This confused him enough to shut him up for at least 20 seconds. With his accent, though, it’s hard to tell if that wasn’t just a period between sentences.)

 Southern lives tend to happen much more quickly than the rest of the country. People fall in love in the second or third semester of college, date for the rest, become engaged in the seventh, and marry right after they graduate. In some cases, this process is delayed by a year or so, especially if the girl has significant career plans.  My Facebook “News Feed” this week has been thoroughly STORMED by engagements of friends, both close and distant. (Why is November such an optimal time for this? Did you need to make sure you could adequately pull off the ‘couple’s Halloween costume’?)

I am so happy and wish absolutely all the best for them, though I’m in no rush to get married myself. Even though gay marriage has finally been approved in Maryland, I doubt my debutante ball escort is in a rush, either.

As absolutely trite as this may sound, I am more confused by the concept of “love” than by even the most Georgetown-Basketball-Player-friendly Accounting class. I probably toss around the word more than I say “y’all”. (That is saying something, considering I often use ‘y’all’ twice in a ROW before rounding off a sentence with an extra one, a-la Paula Deen. Example: “Y’ALL, y’all are going to just LOVE this 4,000-calorie bourbon chocolate pie recipe that I’m making for y’all on Thanksgiving.”) Just when I determine that “love” means losing x-amount of sleep thinking about someone or being just-so in looks, patience and overall pancake-flipping abilities, I’m wrong again. Maybe something about leaving the South disables your ability to learn these things; I don’t know. Maybe I just should’ve worn makeup one day this week. Regardless, Daddy, you’ll just have to wait another year before buying me couple’s camouflage, or Auburn University-embroidered baby booties, or whatever it was that you were hoping to get me for Christmas.

 Instead, might I suggest another strand of pearls?

“Cherish your solitude. Take trains by yourself to places you have never been. Sleep out alone under the stars. Learn how to drive a stick shift. Go so far away that you stop being afraid of not coming back. Say no when you don’t want to do something. Say yes if your instincts are strong, even if everyone around you disagrees. Decide whether you want to be liked or admired. Decide if fitting in is more important than finding out what you’re doing here. Believe in kissing.” – Eve Ensler


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