Put Out or Get Out
I canâ€™t believe I had to explain the phrase â€œput out or get outâ€ to my 17-year-old daughter. Iâ€™m not sure if thatâ€™s good or bad, but I definitely felt the jagged edges of the generation gap.
While on an evening walk so I could enjoy my new contact lens prescription and hence the bluebirds, distant leaves on distant trees, and neighbors getting out of strangersâ€™ cars, I found myself laughing at an old joke from when I was 17. For a split second, Iâ€™d wondered why the neighbor was being put out of the car until I saw his gas can in his hand and his gas-less car nearby.
I explained to Shannon that during my high school years, the one thing a girl never wanted to hear from her date was â€œPut out or get out.â€ In other words, â€œIf I donâ€™t get sex, you can walk home.â€
The joke was the guy whoâ€™d heard all his buddies bragging about the girls theyâ€™d â€œhad,â€ and so he got the homecoming queen out to a lonely parking spot at the end of their date and nervously told the amorous girl, â€œGet out or Iâ€™ll put you out.â€
Hey, it was funny in 1979.
â€œI donâ€™t get it,â€ Shannon said. â€œItâ€™s kinda rude.â€
I had to explain that being stranded on a dark country road was a real fear for teen girls in South Georgia back then. After all, there were bobcats in those woods.
Seriously. This one time, in a corn field around midnight under a full moon, I got furious at my date and headed back to his pickup truckâ€”and realized 6 feet from the truck that there was a bobcat standing between me the open door to the cab. Good thing I could run faster than my date, but I digress. Yes, there were real bobcats in those woods and no girl wanted to get stranded.
I explained that back then, we girls would keep a dime and later a quarter inside our shoe in case we got stranded and had to walk to a payphoneâ€”and yes, I ruined a pair of mauve suede six-inch heels cutting across a freshly plowed peanut field to the nearest building with a phone, but thatâ€™s another story, too. Yeah, just country boys and girls gettinâ€™ down on thâ€™ farm.
I had to explain about payphones, too, and that the coins werenâ€™t simply something for us to jam up the guyâ€™s nostril if he threatened to put me out.
â€œThat would never happen now,â€ Shannon said, realizing how times and technology have changed teenage dating. â€œIf a guy said that to me, Iâ€™d just pick up my cell phone and call you and say, â€œHey, Mom, can you come get me, â€˜cuz this bitch is acting ridiculous!â€
Yeah, thatâ€™s my girl.