I thought I had raised him better than this, but back in his freshmen year of college, my son, Matt, actually lowered himself to dating a girl he had virtually nothing in common with and didn’t like all that much just because she was gorgeous and had a body that would not only “stop a clock,” as the old saying goes, but would warp a significant amount of time and space around it.
Of course, I was appalled.
As a happily married man, I was oblivious her physical attributes at first. In fact, it was my wife who pointed them out to me. “Really,” I told her. “I hadn’t noticed.”
“So why did you shout ‘Good God Almighty!’ the first time Matt showed you a picture of her?” she asked?
She was exaggerating as usual. I vaguely recall making a comment of some sort at the time, but it was only in response to the obvious spirituality and virtue her picture conveyed.
You have probably heard of people being “polar opposites.” I referred to Matt and the young lady, who I will refer to as Miss X, as “bi-polar opposites,” because the thought of them being a couple was downright crazy.
Miss X was the debutante type. Matt was the outdoors, unsophisticated type.
Miss X dressed to impress. A tie was like kryptonite to Superman to Matt.
Matt’s idea of a good time was being up to his kneecaps in swamp muck or paddling along an oxbow lake fishing and dodging alligators.
She drug him to cotillions (whatever those are). She made him attend plays and go to dances (even though he wouldn’t dance if you offered him the location of your secret fishing hole). They attended every kind of church event known to man and one dress-up family gathering after the next.
He hated it.
He complained to me and his mother constantly. His mother in her naiveté asked, “If you hate it so much, why do you go?” Hidden in that question was: Why do you date her?
“I don’t know,” he lied through his evil little teeth.
As the moral compass for my family, I was obviously beside myself over his conduct. To string along some poor, impressionable girl just because of her physical attributes, stellar as those attributes may be, was nothing short of reprehensible. Not knowing what else to do, I sought out the counsel of my fishing buddies. I described her to them in painful detail. I even logged on to her Facebook page and showed them the picture my son had shown me.
“Good God Almighty!” some of them shouted, clearly taken in by her spirituality and virtue.
What to do?
On the advice of my friends, I decided to simply stay out of it and let nature, as they say, take its course. The good news is it did just that.
They had been dating for about six months, when it dawned on my wife that Miss X wasn’t coming around anymore. Matt rarely mentioned her. He has always been a bit tight lipped regarding his personal life, but to hear nothing about her at all was out of the ordinary even for him. When my wife pressed him for information, he finally confessed, “We broke up.”
To hear him tell it, Miss X gave him an ultimatum: He could spend his time hunting and fishing or he could spend his time with her.
“What did you tell her?” his mother asked.
I knew he was a chip off the old block when he told his mother in all seriousness – and I quote: “I told her the start of deer season is next week. ‘I can’t spend all my time with you.'”
Girls will come and go. Deer hunting lasts forever. He chose deer hunting over some girl. You can imagine my relief. I had raised him right.
That’s not the end of the story, though.
Several months after they broke up, Miss X went on a weekend vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with a bunch of her girlfriends. She got there at the tail end of Bike Week, which is the third largest motorcycle rally in the nation. About 350,000 bikers from all over the country descend on the beach for ten days of fun, sun and drunken debauchery. The festivities end with the bikini contest to beat all bikini contests. Tens of thousands attend.
Miss X’s friends talked her into throwing her name, amongst other things, into the ring.
Word got back to us.
Of course, I was instantly saddened to hear about her fall from a prim and proper debutante to some chippy parading around half (or as it turned out considerably more than half) naked in front of a crowd of bikers. I immediately called my fishing buddies and broke the news to them.
“This is terrible,” I told my friend, Charles. “I only hope there isn’t a Biker Week web page with her picture on it.”
Regrettably, there was.
In fact, there were several pictures of her taken from all sorts of angles in shameless high-definition clarity – each photo more unfortunate than the next. All the more troubling, being a cash-strapped college student, it was apparent she lacked the money to buy a bikini that actually fit her.
Tragic, was the general consensus among my friends. In fact, many confessed to having to re-visit the site time and again, unable to rid their mind of her tragic fall from grace
When I asked Matt if he would consider getting back with her now that she won a bikini contest, he told me: “The striped bass are running in the river, Dad.”
It brings a tear to his old man’s eye.