Saturday, January 02, 2010

On real and made-up reputations

In my job, I always come across glamorous stars who say that they're really boring in real life. Style icon Victoria Beckham says she's happiest when she's home with her boys or watching DVDs with hunky hubby David in bed. Then you have stars like Tiger Woods who have an impeccable reputation but an unbelievable secret life!

So let's talk about reputations and what's really the truth. Now that I'm going to have a kid, my fear is—irrational though it may be—my fear is that when my kid accuses me one day of being the most boring person on earth, I'm afraid that will be the honest truth. I am boring. I don't have a secret sordid past. I don't have any exciting adventures.

Now, when it comes to Vince, that's a different story. Here he is at our joint bridal shower/stag party with hot Brazilian models. Though my husband is now very well behaved, he has mighty impressive tales of debauchery and seduction, of wild nights and days of drunken stupor, of exciting travels to exotic places... whereas I don't. My husband is the craziest, funniest, most exciting, most fascinating person I know even though he looks like a saint. Me, I'm a saint. Well, depends on who you ask, I guess, but more on that later.

Soon after Vince and I started dating, he asked me what kind of girl I was in college: what orgs was I a member of, which bars did I hang out in, how many guys have I slept with, and all that shit. I very proudly told him how saintly I was. He kinda guffawed in disbelief. So I asked him, "If you had met me in college, would you have asked me out?"

He laughed, "Church youth leader, curfew at 6 pm and you don't drink? No way!"

"So why are you so interested now?!"

"You're the smartest girl I've ever met. That's why I love you."

I'm the smartest girl he's ever met. Not the most beautiful, not the sexiest but the smartest. Hardly what a girl would like to hear but I'd take it.

This is me, still at the bridal shower, but see how conservative I am? I refused to have my photo taken with the boys without Vince because I was scared photos of me alone with strange men might surface on the Internet (see Exhibit A: Vince and Brazilian models) and people will gossip about me! How square is that?! 

The truth is I'm a girl who studied in a convent, then in a special science high school, then took up writing in college, then got a coveted fellowship in a national writers workshop (where I met a long-haired hungover Vince), taught preschool, wrote a senator's speeches, did PR work, then made a magazine. I fell in love with Vince at 22, married him at 30, got pregnant with his baby at 33. I'm the girl who usually made the right choice and played it safe. I've never gotten drunk, never did drugs, never slept around, never kissed a girl, never ever did anything fun! The dirtiest thing about me is my language. I try really hard not to swear (especially when I'm around my family, little kids and my Born-Again friends) but if you ever meet me and I say, "Fuck you!", that's just my way of saying hi when I'm very happy.

If you ask people from my high school, however, they'd tell you I was a slut. I have no idea how that rumor came to be. Let me remind you that I was a Bible-thumping, church-going nerd with a 6 pm curfew (okay, and a potty mouth). I remember in college, I met this old high school classmate. She was studying in UPLB and she was visiting friends in the Diliman campus, where I was. She looked at me with worry and said, "Hey, how's your kid?"

"My what?!"

"I heard you have a three-year-old daughter and you don't know who the father is."

I just stared at her. "Weren't we seatmates in sophomore year?"


"You saw me every single day when we were 15. Did you ever see my tummy grow?"

"Er... no."

"Did you ever see me look pregnant? Hear I gave birth? Did my flat chest ever blossom to breastfeeding proportions?"


"Then why would you believe I have a three-year-old kid, you idiot?! And it's a girl, too! And there's no father! Unbelievable! Those details! Who makes up this shit?"

So I was a good girl with a bad reputation. I always hated that. But now, with a kid growing in me, I somehow wish that I did have a few tales that would make my kid's eyes widen and that he/she would see me in a different light, that mom isn't just boring old mom but a woman of mystery and unbridled passion, a woman who took frightening risks and hid explosive secrets. Well, I'm not that woman.

My kid will just have to look at Vince and think, "At least I have a cool dad!"

Thanks for all the sweet comments but I think I was misunderstood, I don't mean that I wish I had done some bad things. I mean I wish I had traveled the world, written a few books, climbed a mountain, seen more things, met more people... really LIVED, like my husband. He's truly had an amazing life. Me? I've lived through books and movies but basically spent the last 30 years at home. Tragic! And lest the people who really know me start laughing their heads off, maybe I shouldn't have used the word "saint" to describe myself since I, well, I've done stuff that would make saints blush. In the words of my hubby, "You aren't bad enough, but when you're bad, you're really good."


  1. It's funny that as first impressions go, I would've pegged Vince as the square and you as the scandalous vixen. Good girls with bad reputations usually get them because people relish tearing seemingly "perfect" people down. Hence the current Tiger Woods frenzy. Speaking of, my favorite Tiger joke that I've heard so far is:

    What's the difference between Tiger Woods and Santa Claus?

    Santa stopped after three "HO"s.

    Happy New Year!

  2. I guess it just goes to show that some girls envy you because they had to make some rumors just to destroy your image.

    im the same with you that i do swear A LOT.

    oh man!
    i know it's also not something to be proud of (& i know that a lot disagree with this) but it has been like my expression eversince.

    Whenever i'm happy, mad, sad...i can't help but swear...

    if ever flowers would come out of my mouth, i think our house would be full of 'em by

    But then i try really hard to control my tongue. & slowly...i am able to minimize it..
    just minimize

    happy new year,hun!

  3. I enjoyed this know what?Let's *high five* first..i am the most boring girl you'll ever meet but one thing that my husband feel in love with me is my PERSONALITY :) I never get drunk, never smoke, never tried drugs, been in only ONE relationship and walked down the Church Aisle a Virgin :P LOL Now I said too much! :) Looking back, I don't regret it, because that made me who I am now, I can still have fun, I can still be a crazy girl, but the boring type though ahahaha we should have a club!

    Thanks for sharing yours, that made me feel better, I am not alone! :D *hugs*

  4. Good girls win in the end Frances. That's a good life story to share with your kid...nothing to be regretful about.

  5. Good girls with bad reputation...well, I can't say I'm a saint, but I've been a victim of nasty rumors more than once, too. One day I stole my bestfriend's BF, next day, I was sleeping around. It's crazy how people made up these stories & what joy can they get from it. But my eternal motto is -- they can only affect/hurt you, if you allow them! So I don't let them get the better of me, I control my life & emotion, and they can die unhappy.

    Happy New Year to all! =)

  6. i'd rather be in your shoes...i have a "maalaala mo kaya" worthy past before i settled down with my hubby! and because of that, i'm having a hard time getting my in-laws' approval!

  7. Kids will (almost) always think their parents are boring. Haha. But as far as moms go, you'd make a pretty rockin' one!

    I was the victim of a pregnancy rumor too (which was doubly funny if you knew anything about me. Haha)! And the people who were talking about it were people I didn't even know. I was old enough to find it funny and just feel sorry for people who have nothing to do but make up stories coz their own lives are so damn uninteresting.

  8. J! And as first impressions go, we all thought you were hunk material! Well, hunk pa rin naman talaga, yun nga lang... =P

    Thiamere, that can be our New Year's resolution!!!

    Askmewhats, okay, maybe I shouldn't have used the "saint" since, based on your description, I guess you can call me pretty WILD then. In the words of my hubby, "You aren't bad enough, but when you're bad, you're really good." =D

    Lynn and Bianca, see my response to Askmewhats! And I don't mean that I wish I had done some bad things. I mean I wish I had traveled the world, written a few books, made a lot of friends, seen more things... really LIVED, like my husband. He's truly had an amazing life. Me? I've lived through books and movies but basically spent the last 30 years at home. Tragic!

    Neurochiq and Tisha, well, we're too hot for most people, I guess! =P

  9. Ooh. I have a friend with a similar case, though not as extreme (no pregnancy rumors). She's gorgeous and she's smart, and a lot of girls in our high school just hated her. They made up stories about her too. Nothing about pregnancy rumors, but she's got a reputation for being "slutty" and "flirty," which is totally uncalled for. Some girls can be vicious. Still, it really is pretty much envy on their part.

    Which would be funny because those girls who made up horrible stories about her are the ones who got pregnant in their teens and desperately trying to relive their glory days in high school.

    At least you rose above all of it. I bet some of them are just greener with envy at seeing you now. :D

  10. Being someone on the other side of the fence, I sometimes wish I was a good girl, or known for being one at least. I've always been pretty wild and my life story has been considered 'juicy' by a lot of people who hear it for the first time. What they never knew that all these experiences came with heartbreaks, trials and what not. I guess being on both sides has its pros and cons but one thing is for sure, I don't think you're boring at all!

    Being the smartest is never easy and those girls who spread rumors about you are probably just dying in envy right now with all the things you've come to prove and have.

    And I think your little one will have fun listening to stories about you and Vince :)

    BTW, you really are so conservative! You even had your bridal shower and stag party together and you wouldn't pose in a picture with just you alone. So cute =)

  11. never too late to live, that's what i think. so go on and do your bucket list and have fun fulfilling them. :-)

  12. I think people like to make up rumors about the most well behaved people just so they can reassure themselves about their own actions by "proving" your good behavior was just a facade.

  13. don't mind what they say just enjoy life, what matters is that you don't do any harm to other people. And just appreciate the words;-) live happily

  14. well now frances! the tame-looking ones always end up with the secret history... like me hahaha!

    i've been through some really weird sh**, and while i have no regrets, i must say i am remorseful of many things. don't judge me :P

    excitement is what you make of it. immanuel kant never left konigsburg his entire life and had a sked like clockwork but look at how we consider him "exciting" by other standards.

    i'm sure your kids will think you're cool!

  15. Sometimes, I wish I did more of the good than the bad when I was enjoying my first year in college. But at least I'm learning to appreciate the beauty of the "good" nowadays. :D

    Great post Frances. :)

  16. hi ms frances!

    i can so relate on this blog, I have a 7month old daughter and i had the same thoughts when i found out i was pregnant and like you i spent "most" of my younger years playing it safe...all clean life and fun except for a few night outs when i was working, i would splurge myself in things that i was not able to buy when i was small...
    but i was not able to travel and explore, and that' sone thing i wanted to look back on but nevertheless, past is past!
    and just like your hubby, my husband is the one who has SO MANY adventures and suffice to say, someday maybe he'll be the one to tell (the) his "stories" while I train her to read books, do cross stitching, play the piano, cook, and do other dainty and homey other words the boring stuff,hehe

    more power!
    but i knowin time she will be able to appreciate it just like what i did...

  17. same here Ms. Frances... kaka-relate... that's why I started my own blog... that's the mark, the start line of my self-reinvention and rediscovery... hehehe... na-bore na ko sa sarili ko eh... :(


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