Sunday, December 04, 2016

Chapter 47: Good Girls Only

"If you aren't careful, Meredith, people are going to call you a slut."  Leave it to Beth to put such a positive spin on things.  All I did was tell her about Thanksgiving.  It was Saturday evening, she and I were enjoying dinner at the local dive, and catching up on everything that had happened since I left Martinson.  However, once she learned about Liam, all bets were off.

"How does sex make me a slut?"

"It's not the sex.  It's the fact that you're having it with different men."

"Actually, just one.  Friday morning.  On the kitchen table."

She just sighed.  "I don't want the details, Meredith.  The point is that people are going to judge you for being so easy."

"Define easy. Why is the woman a slut if she so much as dates multiple men?"

Beth thought for a few minutes, chewing on her pizza and taking her time before she answered.  "Because she lets them use her," she said at last.  "Because she doesn't respect herself enough to see just one man at a time.  It's up to her to keep the men in check and make sure they don't do something she'll regret.

I just stared, suddenly wondering if my head would explode.

She didn't catch my expression and just kept going.  "My mom taught me that it was up to me to make sure that men respected me.  She taught my brother that he had to respect women, of course, but she also made sure he only dated nice girls."

"Define nice."

"The ones who don't sleep around, who save themselves for marriage."  She shrugged.  "But that's her.  I'd say girls need to save themselves for a commitment, now."

"What about women who are widowed or divorced?"

"Oh, mom never talked about them.  She did say something once about her neighbor 'throwing away a thirty-year marriage' just because the husband was cheating on her."  Beth went to college, graduated engaged, and went on to have three lovely children with her husband.  He owns his own hardware store.  They live above it.  When he needs extra help, she comes down to pick up the slack.  Otherwise, she lives upstairs as the perfect stay-at-home mom.  Her life is Pinterest perfect, a Facebook dream.  Me?  Not so much.

"What if you found out Bill was cheating on you?"

She laughed.  "Have you looked at him lately?  He's like the Pillsbury Doughboy, just not as cuddly."

"Did you ever think that maybe the men I'm with are the sluts, and I'm using them?"  There.  I'd said it.  "Maybe they want the commitment and I want to just have fun."

She stopped mid-chew and stared at me.

"Think about it.  Reed was using me for his personal maid.  I got fed up and left.  Liam was my rebound.  Is my rebound.  Greyson and I didn't do anything tawdry, so I'm 'using him' for company.  He's a conversation slut."  Popping my third beer, I took a swig and continued.  "Didn't you ever wonder why you were the one who had to keep the men in check?  I mean, think about all of the girls you went to high school with and who you knew where sleeping with their boyfriends.  They turned out okay, didn't they?  Not every girl who has non-marital sex destroys her life.

"Last night I was watching Grease, I caught the end where Sandy turned into the bad girl, and Danny turned into the good boy.  The minute you saw those hot pants of hers, you knew she was looking to getting laid.  And Danny, seeing them, whips off that nice letterman's jacket -- reverting to his all-black outfit and his bad boy image.  My mother always told me that Sandy was wrong and Danny was right.  She told me not to ever change for a man.  While I like the whole 'be true to yourself' message, the second message was that good girls were to stay good and bring the rutting, lusty male up to snuff and teach him to control his baser instincts.  Why is it my responsibility to control a man?  Why is sex equated with being bad?  Are men that afraid and insecure that they have to control us?  Don't answer that.  I'm so tired of being told that I'm not a full person because I have breasts.  I'm tired of being an object d'art who's praised for sitting in the corner and not making a peep.  I'm tired of feeling guilty for not feeling what I don't feel.

"What if I slept with men as widely as men slept with women?  As publicly, as indiscriminately, and as apologetically?  Think about it.  Wouldn't it be awesome to not worry about what other people thought and to worry only about whether or not you..."

She grabbed my beer out of my hand.  "You've had too much.  You're a nice girl and you just need to get your head on straight again.  You'll regret this in the morning."

"Regret what?  Regret telling my friend how I feel?  Maybe you're right.  Maybe I'm regretting it even now.  Maybe I should have saved my thoughts for someone less prudish."  I grabbed the bottle from her, eyed the contents, and drained it in a few seconds.  "It's been fun, Beth."

And I left.