Hello, 2009. It's nice to see your beautiful face and I look forward to everything you bring. Boy and I rang in the New Year celebrating in his home town with friends, champagne, a bonfire, me saying, "New Year Eve's me (aka kiss me at midnight), and being curled up between a sofa and a love seat. All in all, a very good time.
However, as I wrote about the other day, Boy comes from a very interesting place that continues to baffle me. My post from the other day fresh in my mind, the whole trip I couldn't help but don my sociologist attitude and analyze things a bit more.
Not only is the town small, but it is hard to leave. Of all of Boy's friends from High School, only three (besides him) went to college. Only two graduated. And while a college degree isn't necessary for life, it certainly provides more options than the town has to offer.
I am also continuously amazed by their gender, racial, and social norms. Men believe that the women should be "barefoot and in the kitchen pregnant" (not my words). Girls commonly get pregnant in High School and resent the baby's father for the rest of their lives. Kid Rock is idolized for his beliefs. Women drink and smoke while pregnant, and justify it by noting that "my mother smoked when she was pregnant with me, and I turned out fine."** (This is the one that bothers me the most and I still don't know how to handle it).
On the way home, Boy and I always analyze the trip, because generally so many things happened that surprised me, that I need to talk about them. Today was no different and in the middle of the trip, Boy voiced something that I have silently wondered for two years. He said, "I wish I could look back at my life in High School and compare who I was then to who I am now." Since the first visit back, I have always wondered this. How did this wonderful Boy, with modern social, racial, and gender values come out of such a behind-the-times and un-accepting town. When most of his friends stayed in the same place (mentally and physically), how did Boy get out and stay out? Not only did we ponder how this happened, but when. At what point did Boy disregard the antiquated beliefs of this town and adopt a more modern perspective?
I have honestly wondered this for so long, I was just glad that Boy realized it too. That, although those are his friends, he is very different from them. He couldn't come up with an answer-How he left behind the norms of his town and when, but I don't think he ever will. For now, I am just thankful and happy that Boy got to be the person he is. Whatever forces shaped his life so that he became the man I love, I am extremely thankful for them.
During a lull in the conversation I wondered if Boy will ever out grow his friends. While they are a good time and I generally enjoy them, besides their past (and the Redskins), Boy and his friends have very little in common anymore. I think today was one of the first times that Boy realized how much they have grown apart.
I still haven't worked out all the intricacies of Boy's hometown and each time we visit, I unearth a new and fascinating, although generally disturbing trend. So, stay tuned for future sociological expeditions from "back home." We can examine the relics together.
(**disclaimer: I know very little about pregnancy and I am not trying to ruffle any feathers. I know that some doctor's say that an occasional glass of wine is ok, but an occasional glass of wine is not what I am talking about here).