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How to Catch a Good Girl
by Claudia Smith

    Keep in mind that truly good girls aren't that hard to get. I'm not talking about the sexy French kissing, mall-pierced virgin who's perhaps been finger fucked or received/given oral sex from the boy next door. I mean those pretty, wholesome girls that don't wear make up and aren't late for classes. Their parents are usually dysfunctional, or fundamentalist Christian, Orthodox Jews, Muslim, whatever - religious conservatives.
    These girls either grow into trusting wives, or they break away, leave their herbal scented waist length hair (no hair spray, no gel) and naturally golden-tipped eyelashes behind in their early twenties. The good girl doesn't follow trends, which gives her a timeless style. Skirts usually hit below the knee, shirts never hit above the tummy, and her clothes are always as clean as she can possibly manage. You want to catch her at this time, before you've corrupted her.
    Rule number one - you must pretend to be a Good Man. Let them believe you think you are weak and jaded, but inside your rumpled shirt and haunted eyes, there is a man who just needs to be saved. By her. By the girl who loves without insisting. It helps to read the bible, if she's into that. Try this one, it's from 1 Corinthians 13:
    Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful: it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
    Look, I'm no Hum Humbert if that's what you're thinking. I'm twenty three years old. I'll have to move on to good women in a few years. That's why I'm creating this guide for you. Remember, the good girl probably won't go for some old geezer. Beware of the ones who do, they probably aren't in it for sex or true love. Which brings me to a list of warnings.
    Beware of the girl who's uncle or big brother or Daddy screwed around with her when she was too young. Watch out for bitten down nails, and an aversion to being touched in certain places. Stay away from the nervous ones. Angela Bennett was my mistake. First signs: Bitten down fingernails coated with chipped brown polish, eyes that glittered like fireflies whenever I touched her, and a secret speed habit. She was popping her mother's diet pills in between the twenty cups of coffee she guzzled every day. She grabbed me in the back of her father's Dodge Dartt after our first kiss and shook in my arms as if she were having one of those epileptic seizures. I seriously thought she was an epileptic until she explained. Stay away from those bitten down nails and fluttery hand gestures. This is serious shit. You do not want to wade through it. This shit sucks you deeper and faster than quicksand in one of those old Tarzan movies. You can't save her. Trust me, you can't. Better to let her save you. Trust me on this one.
    It gets tricky sometimes. You just have to follow your gut when evaluating your good girl. Watch out for the seriously freaky religious families. Believe me, you do not want some creepy Christian preacher damning you to everlasting hellfire. Or worse, feeling her four big brothers the beat the shit out of you. Another word of warning - Catholic families sometimes contain several big brothers. Did you know there is such a thing as Traditionalist Catholics? Mel Gibson is one of them. These people don't even recognize Vatican 2. These people can be serious ass kickers.
    Dysfunctional families can be an instant in. Look for an alcoholic mother or father, a parent who suffers from bi-polar disorder or manic depression, an unsympathetic enabler (you have to help Daddy/Mother/Step parent, we all have to help). The good girl who must deal with this often carries herself with a heartbreakingly beautiful poise, a kind of womanliness that makes her seem wiser and yet more innocent than the others in her peer group. Think Jamie Lee Curtis in all those slasher movies - she was the one girl who never screwed around too much, and she had the weight of the world on her capable shoulders. But be warned. Sometimes this good girl is the sexually and or physically abused good girl.
    Don't feel guilty. All good girls must grow up. Remember, if it isn't you, it is going to be someone else. Let it be you.
    How can I put her into words? I can't. She smells cleaner and fresher than Ivory soap. Her breath tastes of peppermints, toothpaste, warmth. She flosses her teeth, you never have to worry about smoke or food particles or cotton mouth ruining the taste of her. She gives her body sincerely. She is not without guile - who is? Remember that. Remember she's no Virgin Mary, no Saint Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes. Neither is she a Sandra Dee, a Britney Spears.
    Her name is as lovely as her young voice. My good girls were Fallon, Mercedes, Grace, Angela, Summer, Jennifer, Kaitlyn, Brianna, Kimerleelyn, and Bertha. Yes, Bertha. Her name was beautiful, if you saw her you'd agree. Her skin was like milk, her eyes were clear, she smelled of Apple Blossom perfume. I could fit the sole of Summer's little pink foot in the palms of both hands. She painted her toenails the color of seashells after we fell in love, just for me. Kaitlyn grew up on the baby beauty pageant circuit. Her parents forced her into Invisalign braces, a secret nose job, and daily poise lessons. She wore loose turtleneck sweaters and washed her make-up off in the girl's restroom every morning before her classes. She beat me at Scrabble, Chess, and body wrestling. Jennifer wore bent metal glasses. Her parents couldn't afford to repair them. When she took the glasses off her eyes were the most startling shade of blue, a blue so deep it seemed black in dim lighting. Mercedes had a perfect GPA and loved speeding in the dark. Her legs were crazy long. She drove stick shift and her mother's bookmobile when her mother was too drunk to manage work. She left me for a full scholarship to MIT.
    You don't want her to settle for you. Or worse, get wise to you. You don't want her to grow fat, disillusioned, ironic, angry. Keep her good, keep her sweet. Feel her heart beating against your hand. Can you feel it? It's a beautiful thing, isn't it? Kind of like a humming bird's wings. They must call it a humming bird because that's how it moves. Like a hum.

About the author:
Claudia Smith's stories have appeared online in Hobart, Pig Iron Malt, Pindeldyboz, and the Salt River Review; and in print in The First Line. She has stories forthcoming online in Opium and Zacatecas: A Review of Contemporary Word. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband Nathen Hinson.

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