A Southern mother raising a Yankee daughter in Michigan was difficult because there were certain rules that I expected boys to follow and Kerri was very quick to point out that things were different when I was her age. There were certain basic rules that her dad and I set, and we also added some old Southern proverbs which we thought were very appropriate.
1. Don’t call boys or they’ll think you’re desperate. In my day (I love to say that), a girl never called a boy, mainly because in my early teens we didn’t have phones. But when we did get phones, it was strictly forbidden to call a boy because Emily Post said it was bad manners and we adhered to Southern etiquette. I’m sure Kerri called lots of boys when I wasn’t in hearing range, but she also received lots of calls from boys as well. By the time her younger brother was a teenager that rule had flown out the window and at least 10 girls called him a day. So much for Southern etiquette.
2. A girl can never go out with a boy before he has met her parents. We definitely wanted to see and talk to anyone that Kerri was thinking of dating. Since her dad was a psychologist, the poor guy usually had to answer 50 questions before he could get Kerri out of the house. If he asked her out again after that test, then we knew he really liked her and hopefully respected her parents. If he didn’t ask her out again, then we thought she was better off without him.
3. Kerri’s dates always had to come to the door, come inside, and speak to either one or both parents even if she had been dating him two years. She did not go out the door when a guy sat in the car and honked the horn. If he didn’t have enough courtesy to get out of the car and walk up to the front door, then she wasn’t going anywhere with him.
4. Kerri’s dates always had to walk her up to the door to say goodnight. If she invited them in, they had to speak to whichever parent was waiting up for her.
5. Boys were never allowed in her bedroom, no matter what the circumstances. There was nothing in her room that couldn’t be brought downstairs for a boy to see if it was of critical importance.
6. There was an old Southern saying that you could tell a lot about a boy by the way he treated his mother. If he showed her respect and courtesy, then he would show his girlfriend that same respect. That saying usually proved to be true.
7. It was a Southern custom that guys always opened doors for girls and I taught that courtesy to my son, but I’m not sure all of Kerri’s boyfriends thought it was a necessary part of good manners. I told her just to stand next to the door of the car or restaurant or wherever they were going and just wait until he got the message.
8. Another in my day thing was that the guys paid for dates, but somewhere along the way, that custom went by the wayside. I guess when the price of movie tickets and hamburgers got so outrageous, there wouldn’t have been as many dates if the guys had to always pay for everything. Then there was the Women’s Lib movement that made girls feel they should be equal so they should share equally in the cost of dates. In my opinion that was a bad move for females, but that would be another devotion.
9. You may have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince. I’m sure in Kerri’s case that was true, but thankfully she eventually found her prince after a lot of toads.
10. The kind of boys who are overly nice, nauseatingly so, to your parents are the ones you have to watch out for. They’re usually after more than a kiss.