That’s me in the family picture- the eager kid standing in the back row. You may not be able to tell from the picture but I was ready for adventure, fairytale romance. I was a Disney princess girl way before  my time. Fell in love with someone when I was in first grade, second grade, fourth grade…

And, then, I fell in love with an older man.

It was my Middle School history teacher. The guy was funny. knowledgable. Warm and friendly.

And, flirty.

Sound a bit off? I was 11 years old, for heaven’s sake. I couldn’t distinguish flirtatious behaviour from a hole in the ground. I just figured I was lucky that someone who was older, more powerful and wiser found me interesting and special. It melted my pre-teen heart along with the hearts of the other girls in my class. We giggled when class started and we giggled when class ended. Each and every one of us gigglers hoped that we were the one the teacher liked the most. Not once did it occur to me that that this man was not much younger than my father and or may have had a family of his own. But, hey, I was a kid. 

Then, Dad came to school.

It was a weeknight- an open house for parents to come and meet teachers, visit classrooms and ask questions.  I was so excited I could hardly breathe.

“Here is my classroom,” I said as Dad herded my family of eight into the room filled with neatly lined up desks and brightly coloured posters on the wall, “and here is my teacher”.

That’s when things got weird.

All of a sudden, my teacher  didn’t look so “prince charming”. Under the all-knowing scrutiny of my dad, my teacher’s snake skin cowboy boots and flashy bolo tie looked silly and out of place. 

Dad’s short sleeved white dress shirt and polyester dress pants may not have been exactly cool, but he wore integrity, decency and honour with the ease of a model in a Banana Republic ad.

Whatever my teacher was trying to be, I knew at that moment Dad was the man.

I have got to say that this was not the first time Dad brought me to “back to earth” when it came to my relationships with men. My lack of common sense would have done me in if it had not been for him. Although Dad did not live long enough to see any of his six children marry, he pretty much laid the ground work for relational success.





And no, I did not mention sex. I guess Dad  figured sex would be a natural byproduct of a committed relationship containing all of the above.

Dad respected women – his mother, my aunts, me and my sisters and my mom. He respected other women too. As a pastor, he stepped in to save more than one woman from the violence of her husband. Abusive boyfriends feared my dad. Even they knew when they had met a man’s man. 

With the movie Fifty Shade of Grey coming out I had to share the fifty shade of a real man.

No matter how




or rich

if a man manipulates, abuses or belittles a woman he is not much of a man.




and foolish.

If you still feel compelled to romanticize relationships with abusive men who happen to be more powerful, handsome and richer than the average guy, you are not sensational or clever. You are just about fifty shades of stupid. 

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