Bad Boy Musings

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Oh my God. I need to never, not ever, drink a 20-oz bottle of Dr. Pepper seven hours before bedtime. Lying in bed for going on three hours, listening to my heart beating in my chest, the weighted blanket worthless, and trying not to keep checking the time. The corner of my bedsheet and the mattress pad have pulled off, again, and I tried to ignore that too, but it was bunching up under my pillow and so I laid there thinking about how to fix that without waking Todd.

Instead, I pulled out my iPad and returned to my latest obsession on Netflix. Ha. Excellent and perhaps not-so-accidental choice of words for You. Veruca suggested it a few nights ago and we started watching it together, in spite of the mature rating, and later abandoned it because there was just waaaay too much material of a suggestive nature (that’s putting it mildly). However, momma returned to it on her day off whilst attending to household duties and now I can’t stop.

It’s riveting and soapy, the writing is sharp and yet there are times when it’s just ridiculous how the story plays out. I think Penn Badgley, the lead, is outstanding. The style of the storytelling, without giving too much away, is mostly in present tense – but there are flashbacks for the main character and then there are his voiceover monologues. It’s those inside thoughts that really drive the story in so many ways.

I think Penn Badgley outdoes himself. He fully encompasses his character’s persona – his voice, his facial expressions, the sounds of a man in the throes of orgasm (see? Waaaay too much for a 14-year-0ld) – in such a way that it’s easy to forget he’s an actor playing a part.

V told me her friend has watched nearly all of it, and my first reaction is – she’s too young, she doesn’t know what she’s seeing, how does she feel about this character?? WHY??? But see, I already know the answer.

Penn Badgely, in an interview I read somewhere and quickly forgot, was stated as admonishing fans on Twitter for lusting after this psycho-sociopath. His – and his character’s – good looks are completely overshadowing the Big Red Flags of a man with serious boundary issues and a casual disregard for human life. The female viewership is not discouraged.

What does this say about women – about people – today? And it makes me wonder what a 14-year-old girl is thinking when she’s watching the shit show that is Joe/Will. Does she find him “pretty,” as she once referred to a boy IRL? Does she fantasize about meeting him, dating him, having him love her like that?

And that’s where it gets scary. When did we learn to glorify bad boys? How do we teach our girls how to identify “bad”?

The boy with the leather motorcycle jacket, the pierced ear, the long hair, quiet and seething below the surface… is he sexy or someone to be careful of? Why do you like him? What is so tantalizing about him, the idea of him – what does bad mean?

How do you not end in up in love with guys who ignore you until they want you, punch holes in walls near your head, cigarettes in one hand and a coke straw in the other? Guys with wandering eyes and other girls too, guys who need your money, or never call back.

At some point in your young life, you decided that “bad boys” were desirable. Which movie was that? That the troubled, volatile, no-rules boy was IT. How many of them were there?

Was the boy in leather who drives a fast car really as bad you made him to be? Or did you just want him to be bad? What did it take to make him bad? How far did he have to go to qualify?

How many good guys did you burn on the road to badness? How much badness did you really see? Did you find out that the bad boy wasn’t all that bad, or that he was, in fact, worse than you ever imagined? How many bruises did you inflict, or did he inflict on you – your body, your psyche, your soul?

How many decades will it take to undo the damage you opened the door for and invited in, all because bad boys are soooo good? Once you open that door, it’s not so easy to close. The weight of the room inside is full and the door no longer closes.

When you met him, did he give you all of his attention or did he make you feel like he could be somewhere, anywhere, else? Hello! Over here! Did he stand a little too close to you? Did you like that – the discomfort in his proximity to you – while his eyes bore holes through you? Did it make your stomach dip like a free fall?

Did you relish the moment you made him jealous of someone else? Did you do it because you wanted the reaction? Did you want to see him angry? Angry with you? Did you want to fight with him, because the fire it sparks is exhilarating, makes you feel alive, because you believe that you need the turbulence?

Is it your own desire to be bad that drives your desire to capture it in someone else? Why is being bad so damn good? What are the rewards? What are the consequences?

Bad Mom

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Halloween night. Veruca didn’t want to go out, so she stayed home with me to hand out candy. And then she just watched from the window.

V warned me that her friends that live across the way had joked about ringing the door and dashing (these are the same 3 boys that raided my basket and replaced it with things they didn’t want a few years back) and she told me to NOT answer the door.

Now – let’s just take a minute to point out the obvious. If they dash, they don’t get candy. How dumb is that?

Anyway, I had the exterior camera (on my phone) with the intercom on when they showed up. For fun. They did not dash. They were polite and friendly. There were four of them, and only one lives here. I know him. I also know one of the other boys who used to be V’s crush.

So she’s hiding in hallway around the corner from the door, AS IF they don’t know this is her house. I asked them how they liked high school so far (they said it’s good) and told them to stay out of trouble tonight (with a smile). I closed the door behind me and they were halfway down the driveway when I said – out loud – ooh, Ava’s old crush was here! And no sooner had the words left my mouth that I realized I still had the phone in my hand and the intercom ON.

The aftermath wasn’t as violent as expected. She was instantly mortified, and ran over to the Mac on the kitchen counter and pulled up the Ring history. And saw the whole footage and my big mouth on the intercom. BUT. Those boys were halfway gone and talking to each other and not one of them turned around.

Still. She was furious. I know they didn’t hear me, but she was having none of my adult wisdom. She didn’t speak to me the rest of the night, the morning after in the car at the bus stop, or all weekend at her dad’s. (For the record, I did say goodnight to her and apologized for what happened.) Four days later, on the way home from her dad’s she said she knew I didn’t do it on purpose and she knew they didn’t hear me.

Midweek she mentioned that she wanted to make her dad an apple pie for his birthday and could I help her? Those of you who have been on the ride with me since 2011 might know what I wanted to say but didn’t actually say. Nevertheless, we didn’t really have time to go to the store and the next day I worked a 12-hour shift.

And then, around the 8th hour of my 12-hour shift, she called and asked me if I could pick up poster board (so she could make him something) and apples ON MY WAY HOME. I told her to ask Todd if he had posters – he’s an artist for God’s sake and has supplies for just about anything. And I also told her I’m not stopping after a 12-hour workday, at 8:30 or 9:00 at night. Not to mention that she wanted me to help her with the pie at that hour, too. A great big, Hell No.

Well, she didn’t ask Todd. And then Friday morning she asked me if he had any. Nevertheless, she came home from school and made that pie with the apples we already had. With the recipe I gave her. And, after a minor glitch with the crust process, it turned out fucking beautiful.

Now it’s Friday night, and I’m driving her and the pie to her dad’s house. She referenced a You Tube video she’d shown me and mentioned how she sent it to Opac. And then she said, I miss [him]. I knew she did, but hearing her say it really impacted me. I sometimes forget that she must miss his presence in the house, felt more acutely at home than at her dad’s (as he often didn’t go with her).

And I don’t know how this segued into the next slapdown but she started talking about him drinking and how she doesn’t like it and he shouldn’t be doing it and blah blah blah… and then she asked me if I would let him have alcohol at home if he asked for it. And I’m an idiot for even engaging in the conversation at all. I told her how I’d grown up – how at family holiday gatherings I was allowed to have wine with everyone else and it was no big deal. Controversial or not – I believe that it kept me from going apeshit over alcohol when I encountered it as a young adult. It was, to me, no big deal. (Never mind college – that’s a whole other conversation.)

Well, that’s illegal, she said. He’s not 21, she said. You shouldn’t be letting him have alcohol, she said. Would you let me have alcohol?

To be the devil’s advocate, I engaged. I never said I would pour him a glass of wine, but I said if he wanted one it would be no big deal. It would be because he was home, and staying home, and none of his friends were there. I said there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of wine. Well that’s wrong and you shouldn’t be letting him do that, she said. You could get arrested, she said.

At this point I was wondering where all this fuckery was coming from at the end of a very long week. She, like someone else in her family who shall remain nameless, is relentless in cross examination and accusations. I maintained a calm that did not reflect the fluctuation in blood pressure I was experiencing and played along (which, obviously, was the wrong thing to do) and then I was accused of being “like Nannie.” Being too much like my mother has never bothered me before, but now I have to wonder. What has she done that I don’t know about? Now I have questions.

And the whole conversation ended abruptly in her dad’s driveway and she announced that maybe she just wouldn’t come back home for Thanksgiving. Well, okay then. More wine for us!

 

 

*Disclaimer: I am in NO WAY advocating for or sponsoring underage drinking.

*Disclaimer: I am a lot like my mother. Except for those things she did that I don’t know about. I am not like that.