It was the 60’s, and I was in high school.
My high school was huge. It drew from two large junior high schools (called middle schools today) that were at opposite ends of the County logistically and in every other way. One was strictly upper middle to upper class kids and the other a mix of lower and middle class kids. This socio-economic soup produced two distinct groups, who never intermingled.
|Vintage Cheerleader Picture|
The “Rahs” were full of school spirit, cheered at every football game (“Rah, rah!!” hence the name) and were good to excellent students.
The “Greasers” were too cool to care about anything, much less school spirit and academic achievement. They smoked, drank and many just marked time until they could legally drop out of school. There was no social promotion in those days. If you didn’t make the grade, you repeated the grade, over and over again. Some never even made it out of junior high school.
Actually, there was a small group of kids, to which I belonged, who were good to excellent students, but didn’t fit in with either the Rahs or the Greasers. In the interest of full disclosure, I didn’t like football and I did start sneaking cigarettes at 15.
It was the era of the enormous bee hive hairdo.
This young lady would have fit right in at the court of Marie Antoinette.
You didn’t want to go NEAR the girls’ room in the morning. The smell of cigarettes and hair spray was so overpowering that it was not unusual for someone to pass out from the fumes. I was always expecting the girls’ room to blow up from that combustible cocktail, but it never did.
As I said, the two main groups never intermingled. I didn’t really belong to either one, but I generally socialized with the Rahs.
Until one day………
I found myself inexplicably attracted to a Greaser. Tommy was the quintessential “bad boy.” He’d spent three years in the same grade, and all his spare time fixing up an old car.
He asked me out and, to my surprise, I accepted. Could it be that I secretly had a “thing” for “bad boys?”
It turned out that he was actually rather sweet.
He gave me my first real “Hollywood kiss.”
But, the relationship was doomed from the start. At my locker a few weeks later, while grabbing books for class, I was surrounded by Tommy’s ex-girlfriend, Jeannie, and her entourage.
As they stared menacingly at me through eyes rimmed in thick, black eyeliner, I saw my whole life flash before me, which didn’t take very long at my age. Jeannie pushed me hard against my locker and said she would pound me into the pavement if I didn’t stop seeing Tommy.
The truth was that I was getting a bit bored with the whole greaser thing, so I could afford to be magnanimous. “Fine,” I said. “He’s all yours. Just make sure you tell Tommy to stop asking me out.”
She looked totally shocked. Jeannie couldn’t believe I didn’t want to fight. “Aren’t you gonna fight for him?” she asked.
“Why would I do that? I have too much self respect to fight for any guy, and so should you. You’re too pretty to fight over guys. They should be fighting over you.”
She had no idea how to react to that one, so she just narrowed her eyes, hissed “We know where you live” and turned and walked away trailed by her buddies.
I took a big gulp of air and felt like kissing the pavement I did not get pounded into. My hands were still shaking as I grabbed my books and ran off to class.
Jeannie and Tommy did get back together. They both dropped out of school the following year, and I swore off “bad boys” for good.
Fast forward about a decade, and I meet a great guy. He served in the military, is an accountant by day and a graduate student by night. He’s handsome, intelligent, clean cut, and reliable. When he says, “I’ll call you Tuesday night,” he does.
A few months later, he takes me home to meet his mother, which is when I find out the truth. My “good boy” is a really a “bad boy gone good!!”
Expelled from catholic school for fighting and bad grades, the local public school was forced to take him, but made him repeat the grade.
I tried to put a good face on what I was hearing and said, “You mean he fell in with a bad crowd?”
“Fell in with a bad crowd?” laughed his mother, “He was their leader.”
On the verge of being expelled, yet again, for fighting and failing grades, he was sent to the guidance counselor’s office, yet again. By this time, the guidance counselor was sick of seeing him. “Young man, you are bright and bone-idle lazy. I’m going to give you one last chance. You’re going to prove to yourself just how bright you are. I want you to take the College Boards (SATs) next Saturday or you’re out for good.”
That Saturday, he showed up on time and took the test. The only person not shocked by his score in the top percentile, was the guidance counselor.
And, so, I ended up with a “bad boy” after all. I guess you could say I still have a “thing” for them, especially when they’ve gone good.