You Talk Too Much

Forty-five degrees must surely sound balmy to some, but it's a cold morning for us here in Los Angeles. My heat is on and I've been contemplating how to best bundle myself up when I finally do venture outside.

The cold takes me back to the December days of my youth, days when I was more concerned with looking cute than being warm despite the icy blast of the wind and the frigid blanket of Midwestern snow. When I was fourteen or fifteen, I had not yet grasped that cuteness and warmth were two concepts that need not conflict.

In those days, I wore the shortest skirts I could get away with, sometimes without the benefit of stockings or tights of any kind. Yes, those early high school days were days of shivering, and they were days when I had a huge crush on a boy named Jack. No, that's not his real name, but to protect both the innocent and the cluelessly guilty, today his name is Jack.

Jack did not go to my high school but both he and his older brother, "Mario", were well known around town. Jack and Mario were "it" boys, the teenage male equivalent of prime rib.

What gave them such a lofty status? In addition to their good looks, charm and designer clothing, their father was the pastor of a large church. They had money, prestige and the good manners needed to please overly-anxious mamas and papas.

The most scheming girls approached Jack and Mario in the way a girl approaches a pro-athlete or rock star: They hoped to get knocked up to ensure a comfortable future. Other girls just liked the brothers because everyone else did. It was the popular thing to do.

I got to know Jack the summer before freshman year. He flirted with me and I flirted back, but I could not take him too seriously. I have never been one to go with the crowd too much so liking the boy all the girls liked just wasn't my thing. But by sophomore year, I found myself a bit more interested in him. And then winter, with all her early darkness, wind chills and snow advisories came. I did not care about darkness, chill or advisories because winter meant only one thing: basketball season.

Basketball games are indoors, which means no shivering while you're trying to be cute.

One very cold Friday night, I dolled myself up, put on the pair of jeans my parents would approve of, left the house and promptly switched the jeans for a highly inappropriate skirt one of my cousins brought for me. It was a very short skirt. And I was very cold. Very, very cold. But I looked hot and I knew it.

With such a short skirt, there is no point in sitting and cheering the team. Oh no, that would defeat the purpose. The point of wearing the skirt is to let all the boys see your legs, so my friends and I did lots of walking around and posing. It wasn't that warm in the basketball arena anyway. Moving around kept goosebumps from erupting on my legs.

And then Jack walked in. I remember it seemed suddenly as if the room became brighter, more intense, faster... but, unfortunately, not warmer. He came over to talk to my group of friends, and told us how cute we all looked. And then he said he was gonna go sit down (because teenage boys do not need to walk around like freezing peacocks) and I decided to go sit with him.

The seat was cold, but I ignored the chill and decided to find out what he'd been up to. However, conversation was not on Jack's mind because he said, "You're pretty and all but damn, you talk a lot!"

In that instant, any amount of liking I had ever had for Jack drained away. Here I was, freezing in a short skirt, looking cute for his benefit and he wanted to say I talked too much?

I sat there, my temper rising by the second, but I didn't say anything. I just observed him. I mentally hatcheted him apart and found him to be wanting any kind of sense. Who was this goofy boy who ran HIS mouth all the time to tell me that I talked to much?

He was totally into the game and didn't even notice that my friendly posture had shifted away from him. After a few more minutes, I told him I had to go ask my cousin something and that I'd be back.

I never went back to sit down. I may not have had the sense to know I didn't have to freeze in a mini-skirt, or that I didn't have to try to get boys to like me, but I knew very well, even at that age, that I wasn't going to shut up for anybody.

After that night, Jack might as well have been dead to me. I'd see him places, and he'd try to flirt with me, asking, "How come you never talk to me no more?"

At that age, I'd just giggle a little bit and say stuff like, "Because you can't hang with me and my elevated intellect."

I didn't yet know how to articulate that men can run their mouths ad nauseum and everyone will say, gee, look how smart he is, look how much he knows about everything! But let a woman express what she knows and thinks, and suddenly, she talks too much.

I've always wondered what my life would've been like if I'd been the type of girl to actually shut up and put up with Jack's nonsense. What if I'd thought the way he wanted me to be was more important than being myself?

Over twenty years later, I am still talking and I no longer try to wear short skirts out of the house on a cold day. As I walk out the door, I am bundled up in jeans, a sweater and a coat. I wish my high school self had done the same.


Lisa Johnson said…
I'm one of those people who thinks that 45 degrees is balmy now. It was so cold last night! I think it may have gone below 20. I remember a few days when I was a kid where I preferred cuteness over warmness, but that didn't last too long. I really try and do both now!
sippinwineman said…
Yeah. 45 degrees is sweater and scarf weather here, but I feel ya. I was hit more than once by my mom because I wouldn't wear my hat. (it would mess up my hair!!) The running commentary became, 'It's too cold to be cute'.
Jen said…
So many memories there - I was just talking with C's girlfriend today about the whole "looking cute and freezing" thing. She was not dressed warmly enough for the weather, but she said it was more of a "hate shopping and avoiding a winter coat" kind of thing, and knowing K, I'm sure that's true. It's nice that she's clear enough about herself to know that and not try to be cold for C's sake (or any other boy's).

I was like you... and I laughed at the basketball line, because I did the SAME thing. Man, what were we thinking in those days?
I bet that guy has never forgotten you. Sometimes we don't realize the impact we have on people. I recently had a guy I went out with on one date when I was 19 look me up on Facebook. I couldn't believe he'd even remembered me. We saw the Silence of the Lambs apparently.
David Sullivan said…
I've never understood the primping thing...I hate makeup on women unless its understated and tasteful...I'm glad you learned at an early age to do things for you and F Jack!
Kathy Rogers said…
You were a smarter teenager than I was. But I was a teenager in L.A., so at least I didn't have to freeze when I rolled my skirt up to make it shorter.
Jessalyn said…
Good for you for not giving him the time of day after that! I'd give anything to repeat high school knowing what I know now. I wish I could go back and shake some sense into my teenage self.
Ian Lidster said…
I would kill for 45 degrees at the moment, dear. Enjoyed your reminiscence.
1969 said…
I watch young girls on the bus shivering while cute every day on my way to work. We have all been there.

Thank goodness that with age usualy comes wisdom. Besides, fleece rocks!
1969 said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
the joy said…
What a cute story! See, at about any age I would have gotten loud with him about me "talking too much" and showed him what that really meant, lol.
What an engaging and thoughtful post! I was one who talked to much but I had to be warm! *LOL*
Anonymous said…
Los Angelista,
Just for you ...
(Hope the link works)
Lisa Blah Blah said…
See, this is why I didn't date much in high school! LOL! Good for you for knowing your mind so early!
Miriam said…
Well I am so glad Jack wasn't a thug. lol. enough of those stories.

And LOL @ nobody's gonna tell you to stop talking! Yay!

That sort of reminds me of a scene from the joy luck club, this little girl who found her voice just screamed away to the horrors of those around her.

Great post (as always!)
Liz Dwyer said…
Growing up in sub-zero weather, I never would've thought 45 degrees would feel cold, but it sure does. Those cold desert winds get me every time. Nowadays, I think I even ditch cuteness in favor of warmth! :)

If I'm wearing a hat nowadays, it has to stay on my head all day. My 'fro gets to smushed otherwise and looks totally crazy when I take the hat off. Trust me though, if you come to LA and experience 45 degrees, you will want a coat. Even if you think you won't need one, if you're out in that cold air, you'll want one!

I hear her about hating shopping. That's me too. And I don't know what we were thinking! It must have been hormones blocking rational thought!

I wonder if he remembers me or that comment. He certainly hasn't tracked me down on Facebook, which I'm rather grateful for. Too funny that the guy you went out with remembered the movie you all saw.

LOL! I think I owe my lack of tolerance for Jack's comment to my mom. She is a great role model as far as not being a shrinking violet.

I am a fan of makeup in moderation. When it gets too caked on, too porn star-ish, then I'm done with it. I don't think that looks good on anyone. Sometimes I wish guys would wear it. They could use a little concealer to cover up the dark circles! :)

What an experience to be a teen in LA, I'm sure. On a night like tonight (45 degrees in my neighborhood) you might have been a chilly teen!

I wish I could repeat high school too knowing what I know now. Heck, I wish I could repeat lots of things knowing what I know now! But, that's only in movies and novels so I figure, at least I'm not a grown woman stuck in a mindset of dressing for a guy.

I am bundled up with two sweaters and the heat on. But I won't complain too much. I just looked up your weather and brrr! Makes you want to go back to Hawaii, I'm sure.

Yes, we've all been there! I wonder, does having kids make us recognize that fleece is the patron saint keeping warm and being cute?

The Joy,
LOL! Oh that would've been funny. It would have been hilarious to see his reaction.

Glad you had some sense to keep yourself warm AND that you have never hesitated to express yourself.

LOL! So funny! That's a classic. :)

Yeah, by junior year, those type of guys had me yawning and ready to go to college. I didn't date at all in high school. In fact, I never once went out on a single date in all of high school. My senior prom was the first "date" I ever went on and I don't think it really "counts"!

Oh no, not a thug at all. He was a "catch". Hope he got schooled by the time he got married. I totally remember that scene from Joy Luck Club. Love both the book and the movie.
brunsli said…
How'd you get so smart as a teenager?

And, I feel you on this LA severe weather.
Jameil said…
i don't wish your h.s. self had bundled up. it's all in the fun in being young and silly. i'm VERY w/you on the 45 is now cold to me. i'm quite sure i wore some foolish clothes. BUT i also developed an affinity for HAWT coats. jack tho? he can kick rocks. glad you knew that even then. i see your fabness is nature, not nurture even if you couldn't articulate it then. YAY LIZ!
Liz Dwyer said…
I had a lot of books smarts as a teen, not as many common sense smarts though. BUT, I was raised to believe in the equality of men and women, so that just felt wrong that a guy should be able to tell a girl she talks too much.

I love it when you say somebody or something can kick rocks! LOL! Love it!

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