"Does nobody believe in being faithful?" my son asked me.
It's about eight-thirty at night. Dark already and we're walking around our neighborhood. I say it's for exercise, and it is. But walking with my children has always been good for my heart in more ways than one.
"Why would you ask me that?"
I glance over at him and his dark head is down. He has the look on his face that he always does when he's thinking.
"Girls don't," he said and I guess I gave him an incredulous look because he said quickly, "They DON'T."
"I'm a girl and I believe in being faithful," I reminded him.
"Not you," he said. "You're not a girl. You're a woman. You're my mom. I mean girls at school."
A week or two after we moved to North Carolina a girl from Tennessee decided to ask my son "out". And by "out" I mean...well, I have no idea what this means actually because we live seven hours from where we used to live and there's no way they could physically go out anywhere unless they went separately and called each other during and talked about it. I'm pretty sure that wouldn't count anyway.
I was actually a little bit shocked when he told me he had a girlfriend and further told me that she went to his old middle school, not his current school. I asked him all the requisite questions; was she your girlfriend before? Are you doing this because you are afraid to interact with the girls at your new school? Why on Earth would she want to have a boyfriend who lives seven hours away? He got a funny look on his face and said, "Um, mom? Aren't you okay with me just having a girlfriend that I talk to on Facebook?" and I was like, "Actually you know what? Yes. Yes I am. I'm totally fine with that." Because as I like to talk about a lot I'm a big fan of that Sixteen and Pregnant program and I figure a little distance is probably an awesome thing when it comes to teenagers. Yes. Seven hours is probably a perfect distance.
"I tell them I have a girlfriend," he explained. "And they don't listen. They still ask me out. They still want to be my 'friend'." He did the air-quotes when he said the word "friend".
"It's okay to have friends that are girls," I reminded him.
"I don't think they really want me to just be their friend," he told me. "It's like Jersey Shore."
"NOTHING IS LIKE JERSEY SHORE," I told him. "NOTHING. EVER."
(He doesn't actually watch that show. I swear. The commercials alone are enough to taint everything around them)
"Believe it or not mom has friends who are boys. Men. They don't want anything from me except to be my friend. I promise."
He didn't say anything.
"You aren't married to this girlfriend son," I reminded him. "You're going to have many, many girlfriends before you find the one you want to be with forever."
"I'm not saying be mean and cheat or anything. I'm just saying it's okay to have a girlfriend who lives in the same state as you. At some point."
"You know all the chicks dig you because you're awesome, right?"
That one got a smile.