I’ll never forget the day my dad asked me this question.
“Has a boy ever asked you to be his girlfriend?”
My mind started racing. Was this the boyfriend-girfriend talk my friends had gone through with their parents, when they learned that they could have a boyfriend if he was nice. (keep in mind, we were 5.) I didn’t really have my mind set on anyone, I just thought it’d be nice to know what my parents thought of this. I knew several guys at my church, one of them was even a close friend, just because his parents and mine hung out a lot. Though I didn’t care for anyone in a special way, I, like every other girl, just wanted to feel like a princess. And like every princess, I wanted a prince.
Disney movies were a big part of my childhood. Cinderella, Snow White, and Beauty and the Beast were among my favorites. However, when I watched them, my mind was shaping around the idea that these princesses were much older than I. We don’t see what the childhood of these princesses was like, yet while watching, I get the idea that up to that point they have not dated or given their hearts to other boys. I always assume the fact that up until that point where the movie begins, they have been single, waiting for the right time, and the right guy, to come steal their hearts. That was the kind of romance I was hoping for.
My friends did not feel the same way. I had some wonderful friends that I was very close to. For the most part, we just loved playing with dolls, riding our bikes and playing make believe games. But I recall that at a very young age, they started talking about boys. I really thought it was stupid. I was also much more sheltered then they were though. As my parent’s first child, I know they protected me more than my friends were…and more than my younger siblings for that matter. But that’s another story.
Anyway, I was also going to be homeschooled rather than sent to public school like they were. They would talk about who they thought was cute, who they had a crush on, and who they thought was pursuing them. (again, keep in mind, we were 5. I keep bringing this up because I’d like you to realize how dumb it sounds!)
Back to the question my dad asked. Had a boy asked me to be his girlfriend? “no”, I answered truthfully, anxiously wanting to know where this conversation was going.
“Good,” said my dad. “If any boy ever does, tell him to come talk to me first.”
Somehow, my 5 year old mind thought that this was an instant no. No boyfriends. I didn’t really mind, honestly. Yet for some reason, my mind took this further than I’m not allowed to have a boyfriend. At this point, I thought my dad had told me to not have any boys as friends either. My dad never specifically said I couldn’t, just that I had to send them to him first. I just didn’t think any of the guys I knew would ever want to talk to my dad. He wasn’t scary or intimidating to me, but I understood that he would be to other guys.
That’s all I remember about this day. My life didn’t really change after that, for the most part. I kept up my friendships with girls. I avoided and ignored their boy talk and gossip. However, I stopped talking and befriending boys at this point. Not because they had cooties, but because I wanted to save them from any trouble of having to talk to my dad.
Did not having boys as friends affect me in a negative way? Some might think so. But I don’t. Just like in Disney movies, I opted to go on and live my life, respect my parents, and grow and mature to be who I’m meant to be. I knew that someday one boy would come and sweep me off my feet and carry me away.
However, it didn’t end up to be that simple. I mean, if it did, why would I be writing a painfully long and detailed story about how I came to meet my soulmate?!