Good Girls Don't.
But I Do

Lauren Jaworski

 

© Copyright 2011 by  Lauren Jaworski
 

 

Photo of a woman in half angel/half devil costume.

I used to be what some would call a “good” girl. I was cute and sweet to my parents (until I hit puberty) and to my friends. I was a good writer. I wrote “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” in red crayon when I was four years old. Of course I did not spell all of the words correctly, but it was still good. I remember in the first grade being good at Math and Phonics. I remember at age six being able to read at the level of a fourth grader. I remember being good at acrobatics and good at cheerleading. I was a fairly fast runner and a good drawer. However, in school I talked too much, so Sister Mary whacked me with the paddle a couple of times. I learned then that being a good girl is often much easier than being a bad girl. So, I dedicated my early years to being as good a girl as I possibly could. And I got whacked by the paddle much less.

I played basketball in the sixth grade, being one of only three sixth graders to make the varsity squad. I was good at basketball by someone's standards. Our first game we won 2 to1. Our second game we won 3 to 2. (Yes, points = baskets) My first year I was voted Most Improved Player, and my Second Year I was voted Most Valuable Player. I made the cheerleading squad in the fifth grade, beating out the sixth graders for squad captain. This ticked a lot of people off, but I didn't care, because I was good. Right? I thought people would like me more, but I got called a lot of names like "Little Miss Rah Rah" and other things I can’t spell . Someone actually didn’t care that I was good, and I didn’t get that.

I was called the teacher's pet for years, and I was. But it was a lot of work. I wish those little rugrats would have realized how hard I worked for that title. Being the good girl, the “teacher’s pet” was not always a bad thing even though I got picked on for it. I got to do things the other kids could not do, like talk or wear clear nail polish and get away with it. The teacher would ask me, "Lauren, are you wearing nail polish?" which was not allowed, and I would look down at my shiny polished nails and say, "No, sir." I got away with it because I was a good girl.

I was the May Crowning Queen, which in the Eighth grade at a private school was the biggest of big deals. I guess someone thought I was good enough to crown the statue of the blessed virgin.

At that point I would cheat if it would make me look good. I would lie if it would make me look good. I would sell someone down the river just to keep my good girl status. Damn, I was good!

All of the boys thought I was good, and they must have thought that was good, because a lot of boys liked me. Good boys liked me, and bad boys liked me. I didn't like the good boys, but I liked the bad boys. But I was also afraid of the bad boys. I was sunk. I was a good girl. I was told in the eighth grade that if I kissed a boy before I was sixteen it was a mortal sin and I would go straight to hell. I didn't want to go to hell. But I sure liked those bad boys. Why did I have to be a good girl? UGH!

As I worked hard to be good at everything - school, art, ping pong, acrobatics, cheerleading, basketball, track, softball, you name it - I forgot why I was doing it all. I mean I loved some of it. Or did I love the attention it brought me? I guess a little of both. Good was a good four-letter word.

Then something awful happened. High school. I was no longer good. I was no longer on anyone's radar. I was nonexistent. So where the hell did good get me now? No good boys liked me, and no bad boys liked me, and I was ready for the bad boys now! I was no longer good at basketball. I tried out freshman year, and of six girls, five made the team and one did not. Guess who did not? The good girl. I was not good enough – at anything anymore.

Every year at Spring Break my family went to Myrtle Beach, SC, so I would miss the first week of cheerleading clinics, so I could not try out. Even if I was good at cheerleading, nobody would ever know it now. I did try out once even though I missed the clinics, and that was a disaster.

I was not good! I thought my natural talents would shine through my lousy choreography, but that did not work.

Yes, once again, I was reminded I was no longer the smartest girl, the talented girl, the tallest girl or the good girl. I was the “Who is that?” girl.

There was one bad boy I loved so much that thirty years later I still get nervous and tingly and stupid when he is around. Being good never got me him. Being nervous, tingly and stupid never got me him either.

During my senior year in high school, things changed a little. I had some boyfriends, but they were older. I dated two guys who were 24 when I was 18. What were my parents thinking when they allowed this? The one guy came to my Senior Prom with me, and he didn't know anyone but the band members. He had gone to his Senior Prom when they did - six years prior. Ouch. That's what you get when you finally get to date the good girl.

So, high school passed, and the good girl who didn’t want to be a good girl who wasn’t good at anything anymore went to college. I tried to be good at college, but being bad was more my thing. Now, what I mean by bad, I mean I liked to drink beer and skip some classes and follow boys around the quad. I didn’t study at the library or focus on my classes. I was a little less invisible, a little less good, and had a little more fun.

Then, this not so good girl dropped out of college. I was now the bad girl. I wasted my parents’ money, which I truly feel bad about, and there is no way to repay them now. Unless I hit the lotto, and the chances of that are not good.

Anyway, I met a bad boy at a club one night when I was trying to be good. My friend, Kris, and I decided we were going to dance, listen to the band and drink water all night. (No boys! We were sick of boys!) We were (are) perpetual dieters and were at the time going through a good spell of losing weight. I was getting good at losing weight! Thus, the water drinking.

So, I met a bad boy who really wasn’t bad at all, just jealous, but sweet. We dated, broke up, dated, broke up, dated, and got married. On my wedding day I was the good girl. I was a beautiful bride (at least that’s what people told me – Like they were going to say, “Oh, Lauren, you look like crap!”). It was a beautiful day and it was the most fun wedding I had ever been to! People come up to me today and tell me they remember my wedding, and “Man, was that fun!” That was nineteen years ago, but it is obviously legendary – and that’s good!

Marriage was good for a while. I’m not sure I was a good wife. I hated to cook, so I rarely did. I didn’t like to clean, so I cleaned what I needed to and left the rest to the Good Fairy. I don’t know who named her that, but she sucked as a housekeeper.

Then, I did the best thing I ever did in my life. I got drunk on my favorite red wine, had sex with my husband on the living room floor, and got pregnant!

We were so excited! (Well, I was anyway!) We had wanted to get pregnant, although Hubby was hesitant. He wanted kids, but he wasn’t positive he was ready quite yet.

Pregnancy was NOT GOOD. I was so sick. My morning sickness lasted morning, noon, and night. I was not good at being pregnant. I gained a ton of weight and felt lousy. But I wanted to make sure that little baby was safe in my belly, so I piled on the fat. I protected that beauty of a child.

The day I went into labor, I was huffing and puffing in a hospital bed and Hubby was snoring on the couch in front of me. It ticked me off, but who could blame him? I could! I woke his ass up and said, “Yo, I’m in pain here!” I was in labor from 1:00 am to 11:17 am.

Then, she was here. She was, and is, the best baby in the world. My father in law said, “You did good!” Well, of course we did! I am good.

What I didn’t realize was that Hubby was good – very good – with the baby, but to be good with the baby meant that he had to be around once in a while. He wasn’t around much. He was at work a lot. He loved that little baby, but he loved his work more. Not good. Especially when I was going through post-partum depression and didn’t know if dirty diapers went in the dishwasher or the baby did. Or wait, dirty bottles went in the dishwasher. Did I do that right? Yeah, we’re good.

When our baby was two years old and Hubby wasn’t ever around, I decided to get a part-time job. We needed the extra income. So, Hubby worked 9 am to 7 pm, and I worked 7 pm to 2 am. Thank goodness our precious little one was sleeping straight through the night and I could sleep for a few hours before she got up in the morning.

Then, the devil on the shoulder appeared. I was no longer good. Or was I? I met a guy at work who was Tony Danza cute and not married – although he lived with some older woman and had five kids. Yikes! Not good. I had no intentions of doing anything with Tony Danza Man, but if I changed my mind, I promised myself I would leave Hubby first. Things were just not working out. He was in love with his work, and I was in love with our daughter and had a huge crush on Tony Danza.

For Fathers’ Day I bought Tony Danza a gift certificate to a golf course because he was an avid golfer, and I thought it was a nice thing to do. When I really like someone, I like to give them gifts. Maybe buying Tony Danza a gift when he wasn’t my father for Fathers’ Day was odd, but good girls can be odd. Right?

So, hubby saw in our checkbook that I had written a check at a golf course, and knowing that I was not good at golf, asked me what I wrote the check for. I told him the truth, because I was a GOOD GIRL. And that’s when all hell broke loose. I told him, “I have a crush on Tony Danza Man. So what? I have a crush on John Travolta and you didn’t leave me for that!” Did I have a good point? Maybe I was reaching. So, Hubby said, “I am not coming home tonight.” I said, “Oh, why? What?” He said, “I am going to stay at my Mom’s.” I said, “Why? Because I gave a gift to a friend?” Hubby, always very jealous, said, “You’re having an affair with him, aren’t you?!” I said, “No, of course not! But I want to.” (No, I didn’t say that last part.) Just “No, of course not!” He said he wasn’t coming home anyway, and I said, “Fine. Be a jerk. But don’t you want to come home and talk about this?” Hubby’s ego was hurt, so Hubby went to his Mom’s.

The longer Hubby was gone, the more I realized that he was not committed to me, whether I was good or not, and he was not committed to our daughter, who was PERFECT! He said and did a lot of shitty things, and in the meantime, I found out through friends and family a lot of things that Hubby had said about me to them and a few things that he did behind my back. Well, hell, nobody messes with the good girl! I was not going to put up with this.

So, my friend, Denise got me in touch with a lawyer, and I had a meeting with him over lunch and we talked about divorce. In my heart I knew that I could no longer be with Hubby. Hubby was not good for me.

Once Hubby and I started divorce proceedings, I decided that being good was for the birds! Oh, boy, I did some bad things - mostly with boys – in front seats of cars (not back seats, front seats!), in attics, in backyards, in hotel rooms, and even once on my couch. Not with Tony Danza though. He would not cheat on his girlfriend, and that turned out to be a good thing, because I liked Tony Danza Man way too much. I would have been good for Tony Danza. I’m just not sure he would have been good for me.

So, where were we? Good? Bad? Somewhere in between? Well, hold on to your hats, because things are about to get really bad.

I went into this little bar and grill one night because it was my first Christmas as a separated woman, and my daughter was with her father spending the night. I had just Christmas shopped, but I was so lonely. I had been to this bar once before on a blind date a couple months earlier, and the owner and his nephew who worked there were really very nice, so I went in again this night, had a drink or two, and left.

A couple days later I went into the bar/grill again for lunch after exercise class. (Oh, by the way, I had dropped about eighty pounds after I had my precious baby, and I looked good!) The owner was there, and I ate my salad and soup and talked to him for a few minutes, and then I had to go to the bathroom. On my way to the Ladies’ Room the owner stepped in front of me and said, “I think you are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, and I just want you to know that if you ever need anything, I am here for you.” I was stunned, said “Thank you so much,” and proceeded to the bathroom. I paid my tab and left quickly, for I was flustered by this man. He was much older than me, and I was quite sure he was married. But he was fairly attractive and had a great voice and was just so cool. I was intrigued. Maybe I was just too lonely. Maybe I was just too bored. I knew I was going down a bad path, but I wanted to know more.

One day I gave him my phone number. That’s not bad. Right? It was just a phone number. No big. The next day he called me and asked me if I wanted to go for a drink with him. I said, “Sure.” No big there either. I have drinks with friends all the time.

That Thursday night I met him at a different bar (Why go to the same old place, right? Trying new hot spots is good!) We drank wine and talked, but he was sick. He had a fever and was not feeling good. After a couple drinks we left and apparently he felt good enough to feel me up pretty good in the parking lot. I kissed him – a married man! Holy moly, was I going straight to hell?

So, here’s the deal. Why would a good girl start dating a married man? Was I that bored? Was I that lonely? Was I that intent on trying to be bad because being good had gotten me nowhere in life and look at the bad people! O.J. Simpson was bad, but he had a lot of money, a gorgeous wife, and he got away with murder – literally. Did I think being bad was cool? Did I just need the attention? After all of these years, I still have no idea why I did that.

So, I dated the married man for four years. At times I thought I loved him, but I think as long as he stayed married, I was good. I stopped dating the married man because my friend said, “You’re being an idiot. Why are you with this man?” And I said, “Hell if I know!” So, she fixed me up with a good guy. A really, really good guy.

The day after I went on a blind date with the good guy, I told the married man I was done. He was floored. He said, “This guy can’t give you what I give you!” And I said, “What? A wife?” So, we were done.

I guess this made me good again. I dated the good guy, but I drove him away because I wanted more than he wanted to give, which was not good. He broke my heart, or maybe I broke my own. At any rate, I haven’t dated anyone since, and that for me is a good thing.

So, here’s the question. Am I a bad girl? Am I a good girl? I have done some good things, and I have done some bad things.

I don’t go to church, and my father would say that is bad.

I finished college finally, and most people say that is good.

I am in grad school, and people say that is good.

So, do all of the bad things we do in our lives wipe out all of the good things we do? Or do the good things wipe out the bad?

Let’s face it – None of us is good all the time, and none of us is bad all the time. We have all done bad things. Do we rate the good and then the bad on a scale of 1 – 10 and then add up the good column and then the bad column and see where the higher number lands?

Does dating a married man for four years who has ALWAYS had a girlfriend on the side in his forty years of marriage make me bad? Does it make him bad? Does it make me less bad than it makes him? Let’s face it, if it weren’t me dating him on the side, it would be someone else. That is not a good thing to think. Is it? But it’s true.

So, now I am a good girl again. I am raising my beautiful sixteen year-old daughter, working full time at a good job that I hate, trying to be a good daughter, sister, mother and friend. But is it too late for me? I am bad, so I shouldn’t even bother trying anymore? Should I join the ranks of O.J.? Am I going straight to hell?

There are those who think that since I dated a married man, have a tattoo, am divorced, have little in my savings account and live in an apartment building, I am bad.

There are those who think that since I am a good mother and put my daughter first, have continued my education, have a good job, I am good.

So, which is it? Am I good? Am I bad?

Personally, I think I am a good person. I have done some things wrong, but who hasn’t? I have learned from my mistakes, and I am trying hard to be the best person I can be.

But know this. In my opinion, to live in a house on the lake does not make you good. To be skinny does not make you good. To have graduated from college at the age of twenty-two instead of forty-four does not make you good. To go to church every Sunday does not make you good.

What truly makes you good, in my personal, not good, but not bad opinion is to look inside yourself and to know that you are sometimes good and that you are sometimes bad. Who are we to judge anyone else? I don’t have all of the facts, and I have never been any other person than myself. We are human. We are no better than anyone else. We are no worse than anyone else, except maybe Mother Theresa. But who knows what she’s done in her life time. Am I right?

Good.

Now that we’ve got that straight, I’m going to go be bad and lie in the sun and get a good tan.

Lauren Jaworski is a suburban woman who has been writing since she learned how to write Haiku in the fourth grade. She works in the HR department at a large bank located in Cleveland, OH and attends Grad School at night.

Lauren is in her mid-forties and is in the process of writing her first novel. She grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, OH. She has a beautiful teenage daughter who is her heart. Writing is her hobby and her passion. She hopes to make it a fruitful career some day.

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