Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bad Boyfriends

 LUCY BURDETTE: I love it when a Jungle Red reader comes up with a great blog topic. Pat is a great friend of the reds and a regular reader--when she suggested the topic of bad boyfriends, I knew it would be a winner. so take it away Pat!

PAT KENNEDY: I got to thinking recently why—when I was a very young woman -- I used to have such duds as boyfriends. Everyone now is riveted by the Paula and Monica femme fatales who are able to seduce leader-of-the-free world types evidently with something as simple as a wink and a grin and toned biceps.  How did they learn how to do that? I can only laugh now at my string of totally ridiculous boyfriends.

I fell in love the first time when I was 13. We never actually spoke, but James Dean did ride by my house on a motorcycle every afternoon at 3:30 for an entire month. Our dates were prearranged by my best girlfriend Cynthia who was in love with Rex who went to school with my dreamboat boyfriend. Surely his name alone told me everything.  But he wasn’t able to get up the nerve to actually talk to a girl.  He could only display his tragic countenance roaring by wearing a black leather jacket. 

I graduated to real dates late in high school. There was the red headed charmer who gave me an electric blue bowling ball for Christmas. With Patty embedded in it. And Michael W. who was 6’4” and somewhat shy of 120 pounds. He asked me to call him “Ace” but I couldn’t bear to be seen in public with him with those skinny gangly legs jumping around trying to get my attention. It was so humiliating to be asked to the prom by him. (Sorry, Michael, I’m sure you turned out to be a wonderful husband and father, but you were a freak of nature when you were 15.)

By the time I got to college, things improved somewhat. There was the totally hunky Norman who was so gorgeous that I could hardly breathe when I looked at him. He took me to the airport on our first date! Weeks later he told me in a letter that I reminded him so much of his beloved mother and enclosed a picture of her. To say that she was an Italian mama in an apron, sensible shoes and a steely bun would be dressing her up a bit. “Do you no how much I love you -- just like my mama.” The “no” was what finally did it.  

 So, dear Reds, were you the perfect Barbie to a string of Kens or did you too struggle to find a subject worthy of being a world-class seductress?

Patricia Kennedy is a marketing consultant for healthcare organizations. She lives in Boston.  For 32 years she’s been married to Joe -- the antithesis of a dud-boyfriend  -- who has never given her any present related to bowling. For more information on Pat,


  1. Oh, Pat. You make me really glad I have not been in the dating scene for the last 31 years!

    My first husband, though, was also a redhead (then), and for our first Christmas he gave me a sapphire blue bowling ball with my name on it, and a pair of baby blue shoes, and a powder blue bag. Which was used, during our 3 years of marriage, maybe twice.

  2. Bad boyfriends - I had not nearly enough to suit me. Yes, one on a motorcycle that I was forbidden to ride on - I'd walk down the block to meet him (told parents I was going to a "Young Democrats" meeting). Really he was the sweetest guy, 4 years older than me and handsome. Just not The One.

    Pat, no wonder you had a flock of admirers. You were adorable!

  3. Oh Karen, I hope you kept the blue bowling equipment, I bet it would be worth a fortune!

    Hallie, isn't she adorable????

  4. Pat,
    Hallie is right. You were adorable. As far as bad boyfriends?

    There's bad as in unsuitable, and bad, as in what was I thinking? But all that was so long ago now. I met my husband when I was eighteen.

    Karen, I have never heard a bowling ball sound so lovely.

  5. Fun post, Pat!

    I was a Bad Girlfriend once, dumping my high school boyfriend the first week I was away at college. There was payback when my college boyfriend dumped me and broke my heart. Truly. I held a grudge for 20+ years. A few years ago, out of the blue, he contacted me. He was working out of the country and one lonely night, came across a guest post I wrote called...wait for it....The Bad Boyfriend. Yep. All about him.

    We exchanged a few emails. I made him prove his identity by asking things only he would know. He passed those tests. Then I asked if his wife knew he'd contacted me. He said no, but he was going to tell her as soon as he returned to the states.

    Strangely enough, after that, he never contacted me again. He must have misplaced my address.

  6. That is an interesting story Ramona! Funny how the Internet makes reaching into the past soooo much easier, for better or worse.

    There was a boy named Jay in eighth grade that I was mad for, from a distance. I had a friend pass him a note to invite him to my sister's boy-girl party.

    When he showed up wearing white socks, I couldn't even look at him, never mind speak...oh those were agonizing years!


  7. I didn't really date very much in high school at all - we were a small class and seemed to do everything in a group, which left me totally unprepared for dating when I got to college.

    But - There was one boy I loved beyond good sense and he treated me terribly. He was older, and had graduated from high school a few years before me. My mother hated him. My dad sided with my mom.

    He would call me during the week while I was away at college and we would make plans for the weekend. I would drive home from Wilmington, DE to Cambridge, MD only to sit around the house waiting for the phone to ring - and it just didnt. Why I did this more than once remains a total mystery to me, but I did. Over and over and over.

    It took me years to get over that hurt and it only happened when I learned he was in a committed relationship with another guy I knew from school and liked quite a lot.

  8. He was in a committed relationship with another guy?? wow, that's a twist ending Kaye...

    we could go back and teach our younger selves a lot, couldn't we?

  9. Oh, Kaye - you're taking me back to what it felt like to be led on and then stood up.

  10. I had no idea that giving bowling related gifts was so popular! Men! Whatever are they thinking?


  11. My beautiful daughter Tory had me laughing this morning with: "Remember Gordie, the boyfriend I had at Kenyon sophomore year? His mother really liked me so she sent him $50 to take me out for dinner for Valentine's Day. We went to a Burger King and then he spent the rest on beer so we could really 'party.' The worst thing about this? He told me!"

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  13. When I was thirteen I was madly in love with Tom Milne, who was an older man of fifteen. Tom spent all his time talking to me about my best friend, Peg. Peg had boobs and I, alas, did not. Three years later I actually got to go out with Tom. First chance I got Tom's mouth had two tongues and mine didn't have any. Two tongues trumps boobs, at least in the short run.

  14. A young friend who is in to Homer Simpson just sent me this clip. Homer gives Marge a great blue birthday present that is round. Guess what!

  15. That is too funny! But geez, what man would want to be like Homer Simpson? I mean, really.

    I gave the bowling ball away to someone else with small hands, years ago (her name was not Karen, though). The shoes, too, since I wore a size 5 back then, and have worn size 6 shoes for the last 25+ years.

    Oh, Kaye, I had an imaginary boyfriend like that in high school. He would call and ask me to go somewhere, then never show up. The one time I finally went out with him he took me to a drive-in. Half an hour into the movie he tried to get me into the backseat. I was so destroyed, I faked a horrible headache and made him take me home.

    That was 43 years ago, and 40 miles away, at my childhood home. He's been living less than six miles from me now for over 20 years, and I've actually seen him twice. We've both been married twice since then, too. Presumably, he has learned something since 1969, as have I.

  16. Poor grammar is the kiss of death in dating and hiring :-) Adorable post, Pat. You were and are a beauty.

  17. I didn't have enough room to really do the subject justice. (I'm Pat Kennedy aka tjokennedy.) My sister reminded me of the many months when I was juggling two boyfriends both named Jerry. Jerry Martin was such a great dancer but kind of a dud in the romance department. Jerry King, best friend of Jerry Martin above, was so handsome and the memory of kissing him can still make me quiver. Jerry Martin, being the smarter of the two, finally ditched me via letter, "I'm not going to let some two-timing dame ruin my life..." I think I still have that letter somewhere. I should bring it out for laughs.

  18. Pat, who knew you had such a racy dating life??? Love the Homer Simpson clip:)

    Karen, hopefully we've all learned something since those awkward years...

  19. My bad boyfriends say a lot about my family who keep me informed about their goings on. They would set me up with one after another. I always dropped them one after another. They thought there was something wrong with me. But here it is.

    Aunt Rene: "Oh poor Rick. He had to get married. A girl got him in trouble."

    Uncle Joe: "Oh poor Benjy. He's in the Salem jail. He killed a guy."

    My grandmother: "Oh poor Frank. They sent him to Middlesex for trying to kill Benjy's brother, T, for killing his cousin, Fish, for throwing his sister, Pat, into the Shawsheen River over in Billerica."

    My father: "Don't go out with anyone your mother's family sets you up with."

    My mother: "Don't go out with anyone your father's family sets you up with."

    My uncle Tommy: "How did yourfamily get mixed up with scum like that? Even I wouldn't have defended them."

  20. Reine, that's the wildest story of the day! Thank goodness you had the sense to move along...

  21. Reine's story "wins" but these were all great posts!

    About eight years ago, I had dinner with my high school crush -- I was "academic" and he was "football" -- but he was cute! Anyway, I went off to college, he went into service. And, we never saw one another again until that night.

    I have to say he would have been terrible husband/father material, but the spark was still there.

  22. Definitely, I love all the stories! xoxoxoxo

  23. I am LAUGHING too hard to answer.

    This is so fabulous.

    I'm sorry. I can't even answer this.

    Pat, you are amazing. And you are STILL adorable.

  24. Rock n’ Roll Mike

    Rock n’ Roll Mike was finally gaining some success in his music career. Boy did I learn the hard way what a little money, just a hint of fame, and a cool house in the Hollywood Hills can attract in LA.

    He had been cheating with six different girls a week, he confessed. They were literally knocking down his door with provocative propositions. It finally came to light when some girls came calling, while I was there. Admittedly, I had been a bit absent lately. Because I was getting my MBA at USC while I was working full-time. Yeah, despite this story, I am not a stupid girl.

    So he finally decided to go with a B-List starlet, who happens to have an A+-List father. Hell, I would have sided with her too. The kicker is that he said, “Please wait for me, baby. I’m getting older. I know this isn’t going to last. But a guy doesn’t get a chance like this every day. So I’m going to go for it. I still want to marry you, but could you just wait, so I can move in with her for a little while?”

    He had also been using my credit card to woo her with expensive gifts and trips. He even bought a $5,000 bed and fancy linens on my credit card. Meanwhile, every time I turned on the TV, or looked at a magazine stand, there she was. In Playboy, damn it. I actually didn’t mind, because I was at least smart enough to not care by then. What this did is make me sympathetic, to this day, to Jennifer Aniston, and other such situations. I mean, a break up caused by cheating is bad enough, but to have it rubbed in your face every time you turn a corner and see a billboard or a magazine, well that takes the pain to a whole other level.

    In all fairness, I have to report, he did pay me back. Double. Perhaps because of that, believe it or not, we remained friendly until his untimely death.

  25. Pat, thanks for a great time today! You are the winner… And maybe anonymous! Thank you... had a great time.

  26. Oh, Rock n' Roll Mike... LL, that's a perfect description of him. So bittersweet.

  27. Beware, The GWLIAC...

    I'm not sure how it ever started, but my sister's and I began referring to our bad boyfriends by acronyms and nicknames. Often this occurred way before we knew them to be particularly "bad" or at least in the special way we were to remember them to be most unsuitable.

    From my own cadre of poor suitors, there were a few gems: TTB = Tree Trimmer Boy, Pantera = fancied himself to be a lion, Craft Coven Marc, and the really short guy who drove a really tall truck to compensate. This last one had a toupee when he was just a young twenty-something - poor guy.

    Of course, the one that always gets mentioned whenever there is gentle sisterly ribbing about bad boyfriends is the GWLIAC. This stands for Guy Who Lives In A Car and is pronounced "Gwill-ee-akk." And well, not much to say other than the guy lived in his car. He had a bunch of terrible prison tats - just really poorly executed - like someone was literally practicing how to do a tattoo on this man's body. He had a buddy who lived on a boat - but we never called him GWLOB. Perhaps the one thing most mortifying about the GWLIAC?

    He had a roommate.

  28. I loved Anonymous's Rock and Roll Mike story. I only had one boyfriend who took me for some cash (the bowling ball guy) but it was just $100. Unfortunately, I never got that back.

  29. So glad to have found this blog. I have to chime in on this topic because I had an experience that makes me cringe to this day.

    When I was 19 and in the Army I dated a number of different guys. I had been very shy in high school and cut loose a bit when I joined the Army. The biggest problem is that I dated guys who were ALL FRIENDS. One right after the other, a whole string of bad boys.

    When I left the Army I moved in with some friends who were still in the military. One evening the wife was out of town visiting family, and the husband (D) decided to have a party. I had gained a bit of self-respect and was now dating a guy who knew none of the other people I had dated previously. When he and I walked into D's party, I was a little surprised to see all the guys I had dated from the Army, all in the same room.

    They all stopped and looked at me and I stared back at them. (There were 4 of them.) And then I grabbed new guy's hand and walked right out. I called D and asked him to let me know when everyone was gone. I still remember the terror. ;)

    Today? Married almost 20 years to New Guy with two teenage daughters who were told to never date guys who are friends. Those other guys? Everyone of them is divorced, bald and living on their glory days.