Things My Daddy Said About Dating (What Every Girl Should Know)

My daddy looked like James Dean. Seriously. There is a very old photo of our family at the Outer Banks, taken when I was about 5, so that would have been about 1965. Daddy is standing next to the swimming pool, and he looks just like James Dean. Plus, my Daddy was way cool. Ask anyone who knew him. They’ll tell you. Gerald Milner was way cool. Even with that name.

Daddy loved his girls, though he did want a boy, he had four daughters. The first three of us were 2 1/2 years apart, then came the baby, when I was 13. He taught us how to make a fist the right way–thumb outside of knuckles, knuckles flat for more punch–because he wanted us to level some guy if we needed too. I never needed too, but I did teach my granddaughter the same thing, when I saw her make a “girl fist.”

Daddy was my first date. When I turned ten, he took me to Buck’s Restaurant, the swankiest place in Asheville at the time, on Tunnel Road. It was my birthday present. Just the two of us, no mom and sisters involved. He treated me like a princess. I got to order the biggest dessert. The waiters and waitresses were especially nice to us because they knew it was a big night. Daddy pretended it was a real date. He told me, “How I am treating you tonight is how every man should treat you.” Geez. I cry just typing that. Who on earth could treat me as good as you did, Daddy? I was your favorite princess (as were each of my sisters). He also said that date would be the best date I ever had. He was right. Nothing has ever compared.

He did the same for my sisters on their 10th birthdays (or thereabouts). When he died, the pastor asked us, individually, what we remembered about him most. All of us said, “The night he took me on my first date.”

Every Daddy should do that for his little girl. She’ll never forget it.

Daddy taught me about boys. He was one of 7 boys (and three sisters) and he knew. Boys aren’t always going to treat you like a princess. So, he gave me some tips. I’ll list a few.

It isn’t about whether the boy chooses you or not. Its about whether you choose him. That statement revolutionized my thinking about dating, men and relationships. So many women are trying to be pleasing, beautiful and charming, all so the guy will choose her. Daddy told me to decide if I wanted the guy before the guy ever had the chance to decide anything. That statement has been a game changer on many a guy in my life.

When a guy says, I’m not the marrying type, he just means he doesn’t want to marry you, so don’t waste anymore time on him. Oh my gosh. When the first guy said that to me, while we were discussing our future (or not, as it turned out), I gasped out loud and said, “My Daddy said you would say that.” Of course, Daddy didn’t know that guy would say it, but he knew some guy would, and sure enough he was right, The guy got married six months later to another girl.

If a guy ever tries to hurt you, tell me. and I’ll go kick his ass. Aww, Daddy, you were already in heaven when that guy hurt me. Going through my divorce, I kept telling my ex, if my Daddy were here, he’d kick your ass. My ex knew my dad, and he concurred. An ass whooping is exactly what he would have gotten.

Men can be casual with sex. Women can’t do that, because sex is about feelings and emotion for them. That’s why its the girl’s job to say no. She has something to protect, her heart. Would every girl who is trying to act like a man sexually please read that statement like 20 times? Men aren’t women and women aren’t men, no matter how gender neutral we try to make things these days. The sexes respond differently to many things, and I’d say sex is one of the biggest. Men can be casual about it. Women rarely.

Daddy never let men curse in front of my mother, or his daughters. He would say, “Ladies are present.” Now, it makes me sad that women are worse than men with their foul mouths. When we were little, instead of saying hell, we said h-e-double toothpicks. My how things have changed.

Daddy died when my youngest was 5 but both my boys like the memories of him. He was a golfer, an athlete, a champion of the poor. He loved my mama, and made her feel beautiful. He loved his four girls and made us feel beautiful. He was the first man to tell me I was pretty. I was 14 and awkward, and feeling it. He told me I was going to be the prettiest girl in the school that day. And, you know what? I was.

More than Rubies (A Working Girl’s Worth)

Lately, I’ve been having a conversation with two friends. The three of us are on our own now–husbands and children gone–and we are all considering, discussing, praying over and talking to each about one topic. “What is a working girl’s worth?”

One is a landscape designer. One is a counselor. One is me, a flower market manager. With all the discussion of living wages going on (mainly among the liberal quadrant), and what the market will bear for employees, each of us is considering what our personal worth is in our respective market places. It is a heavy question.

Here’s why.

1. We aren’t 20. We’re in our 50s. Does that make us more valuable or less?

2. We spent the last 20 years building families not careers. How does that factor into our marketable worth?

3. Does experience count as much as the degree? Is there a dollar figure on that? Or is the degree worth more regardless of experience?

4. What do we actually need to support ourselves? We don’t live like fresh-out-of-college kids. We’re grown women with families, who sometimes need our support.

5. Have women finally made inroads into the market place, or can we expect to make less than the men simply because we’re women still? (Geez. Someone please tell me this one has changed in 20 years.)

For working girls who are now the financial support of our households, this is the focus of our conversations. What are the true business costs? How do you publish a newsletter, start a facebook page, do twitter and what the heck is pinterest? We read, study, take classes, go to seminars, volunteer at symposiums, work 60-80 hours a week. We’re trying to catch up, but we’re also just plain passionate about what we do.

The same energy that went into building our families is channeled into our careers. We’re nervous. We’re worried. Scared and timid. Are we worth all that? What if we think we are, but no one else does, and we’re left alone, again.

There. That thought loves to creep in around the edges. What are we worth when our husbands up and runnoft? Are living with other women? Didn’t think our contributions to our families was worth one dime? Hmmm. Hard not to let that one wonder in on occasion, and sometimes bleed into the thought process.

But, we’re tough women. We encourage, demand, force each other to hold her head up and keep moving. Forget about that. Forget about him. Forget about the other woman. What is a working girl’s worth? Far more than rubies, far more than rubies, that’s what she is worth.

Rainbows, Boring Days, and Women’s Roles in Church

I am feeling particularly healthy after last night’s sad tale of a meal. Today I ate a pint of blueberries and a bag of low-sodium almonds. And, I had a Starbucks tea with only a little sugar, and a little lemonade. I feel a Blizzard coming on after such a healthy day.

It was a rather uneventful day. I went to church. It was boring. But, I’ve already noted my thoughts on church, so I won’t get too far into that now. We’ll just leave it with boring. And no women served in any position AT ALL.  I was going to leave that comment out of this post, but well, here I go. So, what’s up with that? I mean what century are we in? Listen, I’m not all about women being pastors, mainly because I never felt called to be one. So, in typical Cinthia fashion, if it doesn’t affect me then I just can’t get interested.

But, come on. I mean a church full of suits running the show? There were no women greeters, no women taking up the offering, no women handing out the programs, nothing. I have to admit I got out my Windows phone out, and checked my hair dresser’s facebook status to see if she is headed back to work anytime soon. She just had a baby, and I am dying over here. Turns out she was in church having her little one baptized. I am thinking my hair was not on her mind.

Then I ran through my Twitter feed to see if anything interesting was going there. There wasn’t. Then, I decided that I was sitting in church, I should listen. But, I got distracted by the lady in front of me whose hair really looked good, and I considered texting Anna about my hair. Scoff if you like, but Anna would have understood and likely responded back if she had not been dealing with a toddler and an infant in church. And, probably tons of family who came for the baptism. See why she’s my hairstylist? She gets it.

And, if you’ve made it this far into this post, then congratulations, because really, how random can you get? This is why I love blogging. Nobody would publish this mind-numbing diatribe, but here it is posted on the internet for all the world to read.

So, onto the whole women in the pulpit thing. I realize that Scripture does not sway too much in the direction of women preachers, and I am a Scripture girl, but I also know that several people I respect (Anne Graham Lotz) and my friend, Karen, who is now a pastor, have studied the Scriptures and determined that Scripture supports women in that role. So, I’m going with them on this one. And, I like seeing women in leadership roles at church. It makes me happy. All those men in gray, drab suits put me to sleep. They look like they belong in the mafia.

I felt like I was ten years old again watching the men in my home church pass along the offering plates, open the doors at the end of the service, shake hands all around and generally run things. I didn’t like it at age 10, and I don’t like it now. It isn’t because I have an issue with men. I don’t. I just prefer to see church all mixed up. Women, children, men, people of all persuasions and race. Church should be a big rainbow of people, not men in gray suits. At least, that is my version of happy church.  I like it when we’re all worshiping together equally. This place felt like a man’s club that allowed the women in for this one day out of the week and we best behave while there. I found myself whispering to the other women.

I really do believe that every denomination has it a bit right, and every denomination has it a bit wrong. The church I attended today, I believe, has it a bit wrong on the issue of women in church roles. They did, however, nail the music.

And, in the spirit of oneness–no names regarding which church it is.