Sunday, September 8, 2013

Gone Fishing By: Karen Pilarski

Me in high school (senior prom)
Last night I watched "13 Going on 30" (2004) with my sister and stepdaughter. The plot involves a 13 year old wishing she was 30. The wish is granted and she (as Jennifer Garner) finds life isn't as wonderful as she thought it would be. My nephew and stepson are 15 and 16. Both think they have all the answers yet lacking the actual test. In teen land parents are evil and controlling. Siblings are little minions to be rejected or annoy. Homework is a useless form of punishment. Family members are humiliating.

In the teen years a romantic interest can change a few times in a month or week. While the feelings of lust and love are intense, it doesn't last forever. If only teens would understand, as parents we don't have all the answers. Just life experience no matter how stupid it appears to them. The young hearts refuse the notion that there are a million fish in the sea. Every perspective partner is not a great catch. I have been 'fishing' since my early teens and from experience I know this well.

When I was a teenager I had the same immature ideologies. My first real boyfriend was a big loser. *Jake had long dirty and greasy hair and reeked of 'Molly'. He dropped out of school and worked at Pizza Hut. My dad hated him and even tried to have him investigated. My siblings referred to him as "dirty Jake." The song "Leader of the Pack" was played to tease me about my tough and dangerous sweetie. After a fight one day Jake bent down and asked me to marry him. His pledge of eternal love lacked a ring and was preformed next to dog poop, but whatever. I agreed but was scared to tell anyone I was engaged at fifteen.

The daydream of mine was to get married by the time I hit my early twenties and have five children. On a Pizza Hut salary this wasn't going to happen. On top of that he lived with his pot head buddy and there were cockroaches crawling everywhere. I told him to quit smoking weed. He obliged. After a few weeks my sister admitted to me that Jake came up to her one day and confessed he was high. Then a close friend mentioned she helped him score some pot. I sent my friend on her bike with a note breaking up with Jake. At least I didn't have to be Mrs. Leader of the Pack.

At eighteen I was dating another guy from high school. My dating preferences went to the other end of the spectrum. His name was *Greg and he was a bit of a geek. His brown hair was spiked high. His face was full of acne. My brothers referred to him as "spiked zits." He spoiled me with gifts. He was very nice to me but I knew I would never go all the way. I was really horrible to him. My home life was rough and after graduation we lived together for a few months. So young and dumb. The breakup wasn't a big surprise to us or anyone in our sphere of influence.

Nineteen and working hard in retail I met a guy who was eight years older than me. *Josh was a singer and very charming. My family warned me that was a bad idea. He had been divorced and had a daughter he didn't see. As you probably guessed, he was bestowed a nickname too. "The lounge singer." I'll admit that nickname was clever. We dated three glorious weeks and I gave into him pressuring me to go all the way.

One night I was sick of the nagging and begging and lost my virginity. It wasn't romantic like I thought it would be. No slow music and satin sheets. There was no kissing or gentleness. Afterwards he drove me home.The next day I was promptly dumped. Only I heard about the break up at work and not from Josh. However, I kept going back to him even though he didn't want anything serious. I was far too stupid to realize this. In college I still hung onto my intense infatuation for Josh. I even dated a guy in his band. It didn't end well. I cheated on the guy from the band with Jake. I dated a few other people but it was short lived.

I was in my middle twenties when I met Jason who would be my husband. Even that didn't start off the greatest. I had to throw him back in the sea a few times. Finally after one fishing expedition, Jason became a catch.

Often people become stuck on the ones who make the stomach fill with fluttering butterflies. If I had settled on the first 'fish' I caught I would have been miserable. It took a bunch of bad relationships and years of mistakes to get to the one.

 Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff.  "Parent's Just Don't Understand."