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  • I used to love teaching freshman composition. I got to nurture students, give them the opportunity and permission to speak their minds without judgement on their choice of words. It seems ironic since as a female growing up in the sixties, and having to deal with a world that was bending genders and their roles. English is my fourth language, although the first three are all but lost to me. My mother taught me the rules around language and men. They were simple to remember since they revolved mostly around Yes for whatever he wanted unless it was for sex then the answer was always NO. And these rules around sex were hard and fast... The rest of the rules were set in concrete:

    1. Always ask the boy questions. Let him know you are interested in him and his likes.
    2. Never ever ask a boy out on a date. Wait for him to want to ask you out.
    3. Never say "I love you" first.
    4. Never say yes to a date less than 4 days away. It makes you look desperate.
    5. Say yes if he wants to order for you off the menu. Or order the cheapest thing. Or wait for him to order so you know how much money he has to spend.
    6. Always say no to kisses on the first date even if you feel your chest will rend open if you don't kiss him (or get kissed).
    7. Marry someone smarter than you to marry or he'll never be happy.
    8. Marry someone your own religion. Color doesn't matter.
    9. Never go out alone. Always double-date or take the bus.

    Today I have a voice, and I use it.
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