Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Marrying Kind

While looking for some new tunes to add to my "happy music" playlist, (aka tunes that make me smile no matter my mood) I came across this country song by Kip Moore, Mary Was the Marrying Kind.  It's a sweet song, about how looking back, he's dated lots of girls, but the sweet girl next door, "the marrying kind" was what he really wanted all along.  His best friend beat him to the punch though.

It's supposed to be a sad song, about nostalgia and lost chances.  However I find this song sad for a different reason.  I cry not for the boy who realized a little too late what he was missing.  He had his chance, I don't mourn for him.  I think of Mary.  I know her well.  I too saw the Jennies, Beckies, and Tammies get lots of dates and attention, while I played the part of an unnoticed wallflower.  The boys didn't seem to appreciate that I was kind, thoughtful, and true to my church standards.  I did my best to doll up, buy pretty clothes, wear makeup, and be outgoing and friendly.  Still more often than not I found myself lonely on the weekends.  I remember once in a youth interview with my Bishop at church, crying about my dating woes.  He sweetly said I probably wasn't being asked out because I was "too perfect" and the boys were too intimidated to ask.  I smiled at his flattering response, but inwardly I laughed.  I knew better.  I wasn't being asked, because I was the kind of girl you marry, not the kind you date.  Boys just aren't interested in that at 16.  

Thankfully I was blessed with strict parents, who did not allow me to lower my standards a little, in order to make myself more appealing to the opposite sex.  I'll admit I was tempted.  Loneliness to a teenage girl is a curse worse than slow torture.  Questions like "what's wrong with me?" are not good on a delicate young heart.  Why is it the fate of the good girls to be lonely until they're of marrying age?

Thankfully that story ended well.  When I got to college (note that I went to a church school where there isn't the usual raucous binge drinking and partying) and dating was taken a little more seriously, I suddenly had plenty of attention.  Even the boys who shunned me in highschool, found I had something that interested them.  Let me tell you though, I had no interest in them!    

What continues to puzzle me is the "surprise" all boys becoming men have, when they discover those good girls all grown up, are suddenly very attractive.  I've heard it over and over from male family and friends, telling the story of the good little girl at home who went unnoticed in highschool, and to their great astonishment is amazing and desirable now!  Has it not occurred to them that it's not the girls who went through some over-night transformation, it's them?  These girls were always pretty, always sweet, always wonderful.  It's the boys who only recently realized they care about things like that.    

I blame both the boys, and their parents.  For some reason our boys are brought up to think their youth is for guilt free playing.  From the teenage years and up parents don't seem to care who their sons date, because they're too young to marry, so what does it matter?  Let them have their fun.  Even among the church boys, I saw a lesser but similar truth.  Do I even need to go on about how this is a stupid philosophy with damaging effects on both the boys and girls?  It's the reason good boys get into trouble, why girls are tempted to dress and act trashy in the first place, and why good girls who don't, cry dateless by the phone every weekend, thinking there's something wrong with them.  

Perhaps boys are just too dumb to recognize a good thing when they see it.  Or maybe they're that way because we expect so little from them.  With an iron fist parents tell their daughters who is safe to date, and who to stay away from.  Yet when a son shows up with a bleached blonde in a mini skirt and tight strapless top, do they sit him down and have a heart to heart about how she may not be the best choice?  More often than not parents, especially fathers, cheer!  They give him a manly pound on the back, a wink, and make some "good catch" comment.  Or even more pathetic, they'll disapprove, but shrug their shoulders and say, "boys will be boys" or "what can I do, I can't choose who my son wants to date!"
Yes you can!  Get a backbone moms and dads, and straighten your sons out while you still can.  We tell our girls, "date the kind of person you want to marry," why not say the same to the boys?
Why the double standard, especially among good, church going families?  Well it's time for a change!  I believe you can influence your sons, and train them to understand what is truly attractive.  As much as they may act like it, they aren't mindless baboons who can't be controlled or educated!  Starting with my own sons, I plan to teach them to seek out the good girls, not just the good-looking girls.  I expect them to look past their hormones, and ask themselves before they pick up that phone, "She's pretty, but what else do I know about her? Does she dress how I want my daughters to dress?  Is she someone I'd hope to run into again when I'm in college?" (Or someone who will even get in to college???) 

I expect they'll probably whine a little about this.  But like all good parents, I have foresight.  While they may not appreciate it then, I'm doing my boys a huge favor.  It's more than the fact that the good girls deserve to be asked out.  One day my boys will thank me.  I'm saving them from the fate Kip Moore is singing about.  In a few years when they see the real purpose of dating, they wont be crying, "Oh Mary, Mary, why was I so blind?" 

They'll thank me that I encouraged them to take out those sweet, angel faced good girls.  Because to the strange surprise of all the boys, those girls grow up to be exactly what they didn't know they've always wanted.  And those stunningly perfect good girls, will remember who was nice to them in high school.

To those good young girls out there, continue being the marrying kind.  It pays off.  No cute blue-eyed football player is worth lowering your standards for.  Marriage is infinitely better than the prom.  It might be hard, but you can stand being lonely for a few years until the good boys to come to their senses.  They will, and you'll be grateful you waited.  There's nothing wrong with you.  You are perfect and beautiful.  Your mother isn't lying when she tells you someday the perfect guy will notice that.  She knows, because she's been in your shoes too, and that might just be exactly how it worked out for her.  

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness Liz! I absolutely love this! It's so well written and it even made me a little teary. It also brought some memories of my teenage years. I don't think I had given any thought to this but it's so true! It all starts at home! Love you and miss you Liz!!