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Posts Tagged ‘Courtship’

Dear Dominic,

I was so happy to see you and your brother this weekend. Gideon is pubescing HARD, so I didn’t see him much. You, though? Plenty of contact. The whole “Peacemaker” series so far, as one gauge of time.

(Five stars. Would recommend. Would recommend for the awkward dance routine intro alone.)

I loved spending time with you.

I do want to say I’m having a really hard time keeping my mouth shut about your hair.

It’s a tension as old as time: Parents disapproving of hairstyles. Or lack thereof.

But look:

What animal died on your head, Dominic? And can I taxidermy it instead?

I know, I know: A girl (or maybe two) said it looked good.

And here we are.

I don’t know why you care what a girl says. You clearly aren’t interested in dating at the moment.

I mean, you quickly shut one girl down about prom. Full stop.

Poor thing. You don’t even have her saved as a contact in your phone!

(Also, what the heck, Dominic?!?)

Are you sure you’re MY son?

But you know, I love that you and your friends are into something so wholesome. Spider-Man fandom is infinitely preferable to any typical teenage interest.

I’m a fan. (Not of Spider-Man — please* — but of you and your friends.)

I love you, and I’ll see you soon.
Mama

*Look. Listen. He’s one of my least favorite characters in the Marvel universe. Give me Tony Stark, Black Widow or Thor any day! Spider-Man is … fine.

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Dear Friends,

If you’ve spent any time at all reading this blog, you know how much I love all kinds of music. Well, almost all.

Two of you (Logan and Julia) wrote music-related Facebook posts recently.

I’ve done a take on the “10 albums” challenge, but this is different: These are songs that you associate with a time or a person.

Here are 15 songs indelibly linked to a certain someone.

“Tusk,” Fleetwood Mac and “Escape,” Rupert Holmes: These were the first two 45s I bought at my friend Michele’s suggestion. Solid choices.

“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” Wham: Michele again. We played tennis rackets and sang this at 2 in the morning during a sleepover. A videotape exists somewhere.

“9 to 5,” Dolly Parton: I dressed up as Dolly and performed this for a talent show at church. I think of my dad because he made me do it. I mean that in the very best way. I had not yet fully discovered my ham gene yet.

“Coat of Many Colors,” Dolly Parton: At the church talent show the next year, I sang this while my dad played guitar. We were huge Dolly fans. Clearly.

“Beat My Guest,” Adam Ant: This is not a song that is appropriate for ninth graders, but there Julia and I were — titillated at the lyrics and salivating over Stuart.

“1999,” Prince: Julia again. See screenshot above.

“I Melt With You,” Modern English: High-school boyfriend Tom. It was “our” song.

“It Takes Two,” Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock: My Chi Omega sisters and I changed the words and sang this during Greek Week. I STILL remember most of our lyrics (“The situation that Delta Sig is in … “).

“No Sex,” Alex Chilton: Mike put this on a mix tape. I had never heard of Alex Chilton. Mind blown.

“Friday I’m in Love,” The Cure: Post-college boyfriend Rob. “Our” song because that’s what was playing when our friend Harry caught us kissing on the Malone’s steps. Oops.

“Mr. Vain,” Culture Beat: Eggy “watermelon” lipsynced to this while Sophia danced on a box for a music video Eddie had to do for a class. Alex debuted some dance moves. James too.

“I Swear,” John Michael Montgomery: Eddie and I danced to this for our first dance at our wedding.

“Si Tuvieras Tus Ojos,” Edgar Joel: This was on a Salsa Mix CD our friend Billy gave me. I’ll never forget him dancing to this. For a husky guy, he is shockingly graceful. (Billy, that is. I have no idea about Joel’s physique.)

“Take On Me,” a-ha: This is my song with Gideon. We sing it with gusto. Sometimes we can hit that high note. Sometimes not.

I feel like this is a Part 1 post. As soon as I put it up, I know I’ll think of others.

What are yours? Tell me in the comments.

Happy trip down memory lane!
Beth

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Dear Gideon,

What’s this about you having a girlfriend?

Your brother is a reporter after his mother’s heart.

Dominic: Did you know Gideon’s got a girlfriend?
Me: What? No!
Him: For a month now. Long distance. She lives in Arizona. Her name is Kate [redacted].
Me: What? How did they meet?
Him: On Yubo. We made Dylan download it because he’s got no girl.
Me: Is that like a dating social media app for y’all?
Him: Yeah. Like Tinder.
Me: Tinder for kids. Kinder!

😂

(I’ll be here all week. Don’t forget to tip your server!)

Anyway, start spilling. I need details.

Love,
Your curious mother

*The Killers. Very catchy.

You are a catch: a dude not afraid of the kitchen. Look at you making dessert!

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Dear Eddie,

Today we have been married longer than many of my students have been alive.

Yikes.

One of your friends wrote on Facebook about her parents being married 58 years. She said, “It has never been perfect, but it has always been interesting.”

Yeah. What she said.

The last couple of years have been TOUGH for us. Hormonal teenagers, a big move, new jobs, a PANDEMIC — many factors have made it difficult.

I try to remember why we’ve lasted this long.

It can be summed up in two photos:

This is actually when my obsession with bad taxidermy began: Eddie and I were replicating specimens while waiting for a kids field trip to begin.

Clearly the same sense of humor.

In fact, this time five years ago, we were in Italy. One of the highlights of the trip was taking photos with a man sleeping next to us at a restaurant.

We ended up seeing our new friend the next day. He was looking a bit worse for wear.

Interestingly, later in the trip we became somewhat of a zoo exhibit ourselves.

Yes, those are the fish that eat dead skin.

In addition to the funny factor, you also are willing to go along with my crazy plans.

Halloween 2012: I handled the costumes and makeup. I’m crafty once a year.

We also find the same things horrifying. Like a house full of dolls and tchotchkes. Shudder.

Your face says it all.

Thank you for two great kids and many years of good memories. Hope we can keep on laughing!

Happy anniversary!

Love,
Beth

*Thanks, Paul Simon.

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Dear Cupid,

Your big day is over. Thank you for your service.

I know you worked overtime with my sons. Each has a girlfriend.

Dominic has been with Anica a little while — long enough to get into trouble for skipping class to kiss her in the multipurpose room at school.

(The phone call with the assistant principal was mortifying for both of us.)

Now he wants to take it to the next level.

Um.

Not just no. HELL no.

I have to hand it to him: He was brave to ask.

But not THAT brave as he asked his father, not me.

Thankfully, Gideon is still in the kiddie pool. But he’s practicing his strokes.

Oh.

My.

God.

🙄

Right?!

This is new — very new — for him. In fact, it almost didn’t happen.

Him: There’s a girl at school who likes me.
Me: Yeah? Do you like her?
Him: Yeah.
Me (Spidey senses tingling): So what’s the problem?
Him: I don’t know if I have time for a girlfriend with jujitsu and baseball and homework.
Me: Well, just talk to her about it. Let her know.
Him: Okay.
(Waits a beat.)
Him: I’m glad I can talk to you about relationship stuff.

Anyway, you did your thing. And now I have to do my mom thing — the thing where I notice everything but pretend not to, let alone say anything.

They’re feral cats: I have to let them come to me.

Thanks again. I think.

Love,
Beth

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Dear Elek,

I didn’t know I needed you in my life until you showed up.

I have a predilection for hairy males, but you are a little furrier than most.

And even though your breath smells like fish and ass, I let you into my bed.

I woke up spooning you.

I’m sorry if I moved too fast.

But it’s been a long time since I’ve had a new fella in my bed.

My hairy bedmate, post-spoon

You are so handsome when you sun yourself.

Yes, I know you have a lady already. And yes, I know you and Gideon are supposed to be bro-ing it up this week. But it’s clear whom you love best.

So if you want to leave Sherry for me, you beautiful creature, I would be more than fine with that.

Love and wet kisses,
Beth

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Dear Men of a Certain Age at a Bar:

Look. Listen.

I know you want love — or at least a little action. You can have it, but you have to follow some rules.

Auntie Beth is here to help.

DO: Try to catch the eye of someone you find interesting.
DON’T: Stare at her like a complete creep.

DO: Check to see if she is wearing a wedding ring.
DON’T: Make any kind of move if she is. It’s true that some ladies might still be interested, but let those ladies be the instigators.

DO: Leave her alone if she is clearly in a group, and having a full conversation with someone.
DON’T: Rub all up on her like a cat on an allergic guest’s leg.

DO: Continue your hunt for eligible ladies by scoping out the rest of the bar.
DON’T: Put your hand on the aforementioned woman’s thigh. And if you do it anyway, and if she firmly brushes you away, don’t put your other hand on her waist. This isn’t Jersey Shore, and this chick ain’t no Angelina.

DO: Leave her the F alone if she turns to you, looks you square in the face, and clearly and calmly says, “Stop touching me. I’m married, and not interested.”
DON’T: Keep on trying to touch her, forcing her to inform one of her male friends who then has to stand between you and her.

DO: Move on! There are plenty of seemingly eligible and attractive ladies in this bar. (Really? We needed to get all the way to this step?)
DON’T: Ask her if she wants to come outside for a smoke.

Women are not that mysterious. We will let you know if we are interested. And we are more empowered than ever before to tell you when we are not.

Don’t be THAT GUY at The Lizardmen 25th Anniversary show, which was amazing despite the bar shenanigans.

Sincerely,
Auntie Beth, who did not fully F politeness last night, but also did not suffer fools.

Here’s Auntie Beth with her friend Jeff, whom she likes and willingly got near.

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Dear Aggressive Fellow in Office Depot:

I’m not sure I adequately displayed my shock at your approach in the printer ink aisle.

I thought maybe you thought I worked there.

But then when you got very close and asked me if I had a husband or boyfriend, I knew I was wrong.

It was flattering, for sure. Especially as I had my hair piled on top of my head, didn’t have makeup on, and was wearing a Fishbone shirt and raggedy shorts.

But when I said, “Yes,” you were skeptical.

“Are you sure?”

I held up my left hand.

“Yes, I’m sure.”

“But I like you. Are you sure you don’t want to come home with me?”

“I’m sure. Thanks anyway.”

Then you dropped this line:

“I’m Guatemalan.”

OH! Well in THAT case!

But seriously, “a new man” was not on my shopping list.

And I don’t think the lady you were with would have appreciated your activity 10 feet away.

But you did give me a great story to tell, so thanks.

And you do have moxie.

Impressed,
Beth

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Dear Music Lovers,

I last wrote to you more than a year ago to share my favorite playlists.

I was reminded of that post today because I had lunch with an old friend who was influential in developing my musical tastes.

He created a fantastic mix tape for me back in the day.

I don’t save a ton of things — I’m not a hoarder! — but I saved all the mix tapes I received. As I knew Mike and I were meeting, I dug his out this morning to bring to lunch to show him. (I did this in the living room in my underwear, scarring Gideon for life. But that’s another story.)

I miss the days of mix tapes. They were an essential part of the courting ritual. You liked someone, then carefully crafted a tape that would do three things:

1. Indicate your feelings. You could be obscure or obvious.

2. Introduce the recipient to new music. And show off your own coolness. Or not.

3. Tell a complete story. Flow was key. It was a narrative.

I always went one step further (of course) and decorated the paper sleeve. I would find a great image from a magazine or newspaper (I’m old, y’all), cut it precisely, and glue it to the cardboard. I’d list all the songs on the other side.

It was a task to create these because you had to time everything out perfectly to fit the tape plus switch out albums.

Playlists are easier to create and share today, but I don’t get the impression they are as much a part of the getting-to-know-you phase. They certainly don’t provoke the same feeling as when someone you liked would hand you a tape. You couldn’t wait to get in your car (!) or get home to listen to it to see if they felt the same way you did.

For the record, Mike and I were and are great friends. No big romance. The purpose of this tape was to introduce me to new music. (But it’s true we were very flirty.)

I recreated it in iTunes:

Mike was tickled that I still had it.

“These songs definitely represent an era,” he said.

True that.

Here’s a picture of Mike taking a picture of the playlist. He was as amused as I was.

If you’re feeling industrious, send me a playlist. It can have a message. Or not. I’m always open to new music, as I think I’ve demonstrated.

Vinyly yours,
Beth

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Dear Parents of Older, Non-teenage Boys (i.e., Survivors):

I need your advice. As you may know, I have a 14 year old who tests my patience.

But I just spent a week on a cruise with him. It was … interesting.

It started out in typical fashion. He was cranky:Once on the boat, it seemed like he would fall into last year’s freak-flag-flying habit of making a face in every photo:

But then he got sick:

And kept everyone up three nights in a row by coughing. So I got back at him in my own special way: by harassing him mercilessly:

You can tell he isn’t feeling well:

And here he is being nice to his “cousin” Mia:

But we Lysoled the place every day to reduce germs:

And soon he was back to normal, making sure the stingray was a girl before he would kiss it:

And harassing his father:

And Ryder:

And telling me he planned to troll the hot tubs to score numbers (in this getup and baby glasses he found, no less):

So my question for you is this:

How do I keep the funny, silly Dominic and get rid of the one who is such a pain on the reg?

Not fix his phone so he’s forced to communicate with us? (He’s shattered two.)

Or just accept that he is 14, hormonal, and PERHAPS too much like me?

Thanks in advance for words of wisdom.

Gratefully,
Beth, Mother of a Dragon

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