Mama Never Told Me

As a painfully shy teenager, my mother spent hours trying to teach me how to get a boy to ask me out. While Mom lived in fear that I would never go on a date, I lived in fear that I would.
The first thing she tried to teach me was how to bat my eyelashes. Evidently boys found this irresistible.
“When you’re talking to a boy,” she said as we stood in front of the bathroom mirror. “Tilt your chin down and look up through your lashes. Now, blink several times in a row.”
I looked like a bobble head with an eye infection.
The next thing she tried was to shorten all my skirts. She had a friend lug her sewing machine over to our house. I stood in on a chair in the middle of the dining room and Mom gauged how short my skirt should be. “Put your arms down by your sides,” she said. “I think we should mark it at the tips of your fingers.”
“Dad,” I shouted. “Help me out here, would you?”
His only comment as he walked out to the safety of the barn, was “You have to have the right bait if you want to catch a fish.”
Mom’s friend diligently stitched up the hems on all my dresses.
At school I walked from class to class hugging the walls, terrorized of exposing myself but Mom’s idea worked. A boy asked me out.
“And he’s a senior,” Mom bragged to her friends.
He took me to the homecoming dance where I refused every request to move toward the gyrating in the middle of the gym. I calculated that his height would require me to move my arms above shoulder level which would reveal my backside to the entire school.
To my relief (and probably his) we left early. When we were fifty yards from the driveway the engine went dead and the lights went out. We rolled to a stop in front of my house.
“Is there something wrong with your car?” I asked.
He leaned across the seat toward me, lips puckered. I backed up against the door. My mind raced through everything Mom had coached me to do, but the coaching sessions didn’t cover kissing.
“Just a minute. I have to ask my Mom what to do next.” I jumped out of the car and ran to the house. He was gone before I’d made it to the front door.

5 thoughts on “Mama Never Told Me

  1. KL Frank

    This is one of my favorite posts of all time. I’d love to see it extended into a full blown story, if not a novel. it just drips with all those horrors little girls face.


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