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Great expectations.

2008-08-25 - 11:01 a.m.

When I was a kid I read a lot of Archie comics Ė and I mean a LOT of Archie comics Ė and they instilled a lot of expectations in me as to what my teenage years would be like. For instance, I was dismayed to discover that teenagers, at least in my high school, didnít date, but rather ďwent outĒ with only one person at a time. By this I mean you were expected to either be single or to have a boyfriend/girlfriend. Woe unto the girl who went to the dance with Archie on Friday night and then the movies with Reggie on Saturday: two consecutive nights with two different boys a slutty reputation did make, regardless of how far you did or did not go with them. Fortunately I found that dating outside my school got around that rather neatly. *wink*

I always thought of myself as a Betty Ė easy-going, smart, low maintenance, okay looking and popular enough, though always slightly in the shadow of the Veronicas of the world, popularity-wise Ė or rather, I think I always expected to grow into a Betty. You see, unless you were poor Ethel, the token gawky girl, you could expect to be reasonably cute and popular as a teenager. So thatís the way it would be, and my chubby, bespectacled self with the bad haircut and penchant for wildly-striped knee socks never expected otherwise.

Miracle of miracles, I was never let down by this expectation. I lost the baby fat, stopped letting my mom cut my hair and started cutting my own, and lo and behold, I was okay looking. Cute even. Iíve never lacked male attention for any significant period of time and dated a lot over the years. Itís not that I think Iím smokiní hot or anything: I think Iíve just always been somebodyís type. The range encompassed by how many ďsomebodiesĒ has expanded and contracted over the years, depending on how I dressed, what ďlookĒ was in vogue at the time and to what extent it coincided with my tastes, how much time I spent at the gym, how much I went out to social venues, and, as a female at a very heavily male university, what the odds were that were stacked in my favour.

Now, at 35 and married, I donít care a whit about being asked out. Iím ďoff the marketĒ permanently and Iím okay with that. Fabulous actually. But I have to admit, itís not without a miniscule twinge that I admit to myself that the days of getting a lot of second glances are pretty much gone. Iím approaching middle age, am 25 pounds over what I consider to be my ideal weight*, and almost always have two kids in tow. I look in the mirror and, while I think Iím far more self-accepting and happy with the way I look than a lot of women, Iím starting to see my age on my face. And when I run into people I havenít seen since high school Iím taken a bit aback at how much older they look. Surely they must be thinking the same of me. Iím not greying yet, unlike some of them, but weíre all less smooth-faced and more padded than we used to be.

Iím not sure what my underlying expectations are for this phase of my life; itís not like there was an Archie comic-equivalent for 30-somethings. But I do know that I want to strive for it to be the best phase so far. I want to enjoy my kidsí early years, plus do things that set me up to go in the right direction for a great rest-of-my-life. If only I could figure out what those things are.

* Yes, I wear it well, and yes, I have to cut myself some slack seeing as how I just had a baby a couple of months ago, but still, I want to get rid of my pregnancy weight and then some before the end of next summer. The question is, deep down, do I, like Linda, secretly expect more from weight loss than will be delivered? That Iíll start getting wolf whistles again if I do lose the weight?

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