I grew up in an area with a couple of Catholic schools, (that went to at least 8th grade), 5 public elementary schools, a public Jr., (7th &8th grades), H.S. and a LARGE public H.S. Yes, the single largest “ethnicity” in town was people of Italian, (or at least Mediterranean*), heritage. For the most part, moving to this suburban environment taught me about how cultures not only “get a long” but mix, or, for a better word, “stir” into the Melting Pot of the American Dream. In every way. But for the purpose of this essay, we’ll concentrate on just one social angle…Keep reading,
The “social” calendars were very active. With that many schools and youth organizations, (from the OFDI to De Molay to the Boy & Girls Scouts AND the CYO*), there were dances and proms a-plenty. (Keep reading).
I don’t know you. I don’t know your heritage. I don’t know your school. But I remember mine. I can remember that ALL of “us guys” of a “certain age”, (usually the age when curiosity outweighed experience by a couple of orders of magnitude), knew, in NO uncertain terms, who “those girls” were, and there were five or six of them by the time I got to H.S. Each year had one. Some had two because girls who got “left back”, (yes, that WAS still practiced), were automatically “that kind”. Keep reading.
At that time, (raised the way I was), it ticked me off that this was just a male version of gossip; something considered a feminine trait, ordinarily, and belittled by men about women since time immemorial. Here, a bunch of greasers sat around with a swiped bottle of dad’s wine doing the same damn thing. Pathetic. No wonder I was considered a “loner”. I found that out very recently, by the way. It seems that EVERYONE in the building from the time I was a raw Freshman to the day I walked off the graduation field and boarded a bus for the Army. Never knew I was that popular. Keep reading, we’re getting there.
When it came to “those” kind of girls, I could tell by the way they acted that it was very likely untrue, and that was a damnable shame. For the record, no. Catholic School didn’t change anyone’s proclivities to or during a romantic encounter. Some of “those” girls were from broken homes, others from what we now call “the working poor”. One who was actually physically abused at the hands of a relative. In some cases, a simple matter of not wearing the nicest, newest clothes a’la the girls “from up on the hill” Being a “Hardy Boys” nut, I was able to find this out because not fitting in anywhere made it easier and less suspicious for me to be anywhere. Okay, now I was even less enthusiastic about the gossip. I was going to do something about it. So I did. Here we go.
Then there was the fact that I HAD a, (well deserved), worse “reputation” than all of them combined. AS a matter of fact, I not only dated but double dated with at least three of “those girls”, just to show that there was NO REASON for their “reputation”. Because if I didn’t, there wasn’t anyone else going to. I made it known, loud and clear, that not only were they also “nice girls” worthy of all the respect due to be shown any other girls, (some of who, “virtue-ally”, weren’t in any position to criticize), but also that anyone who continued the reputation would answer to me. The big fly in this ointment is, some of “those girls” really were “those girls”. I never dated them, though I pitied them for their lack of self-esteem.
YES, I was “unusual”, “a loner”, a “bit of a jerk” <–We’ll just let that cover it, okay? But I would like to think that I upheld the honor my Father instilled in me. ALL women MUST be believed, yes. As well, ALL men MUST be believed. After all, isn’t “gender equality” the guidon of the feminist movement?
I will say this: IF judge Kavanaugh DID what it is being proffered he did, he’d have been in the majority of H.S. boys with their first taste of vodka since the very first Prom. Ever.
*Several students were either direct immigrants or direct first-generation Italian. Some were from Portugal, a few from Spain and several Greeks. Oh. That one kid from England, too.
**O.F.D.I. “Orfani Figlii D’Italiani”, the “Sons Of Italy”. They ran an orphanage. at the edge of town. DeMolay is a Masonic Youth Group and the “CYO” was the “Catholic Youth Organization”.
(This essay also appears on Lou’s personal blog)