When I was about nine-years-old (pre-frum years) I remember asking my mother if I'd be allowed to wear a bikini to the beach when I became a teenager. I thought that wearing a two-peice bathing suit was like the greatest thing in the world, and I guess I thought it was a privilege or something or else I cannot understand why I asked my mom. Anyway, I will never forgot how my mom answered me, I didn't understand what she said at the time she said it, but I did remember it, and to this day I think it was one of the greatest things she ever said.
She responded "You can, but I don't understand why you'd want to."
I remember asking her "Why wouldn't I want too" and to that she said:
"You'll see when you're older."
I remember thinking "wow, thats so cool" and not really understanding what she meant. I thought she was a complete nut...like really, why WOULDN'T I wanna wear a bikini like the girls in Saved by the Bell or California Dreams did?
Sure enough, when I got older, I realized that I didn't want to walk around the beach in a bikini (and I had about 1.5 years as a teenager before I was frum in more ways than just keeping kosher and mildly keeping shabbos).
A few months ago at work, my coworker (22 yr old- dating 38 year old guy) was telling me about the parties she goes to with her boyfriend. She was telling me how theres drinking and drugs. And because its a Russian party, the guys are really drunk and all smoking (if not drugs, then definitly cigarrettes). She said that the parties tend to be fun in the beginning, because of the dancing, and if she watches her boyfriend she can have him leave before he gets himself in a really bad state. Anyway, she was like "you should come once." I was like "I don't think its really my thing" and she was like "Oh right, you probably wouldn't be allowed to go anyway."
I told her "I don't think I wouldn't be allowed to go, I don't think my parents would prevent me from going, its just that why would I want to go?"
She was like "yea, I wish I had a good relationship with my parents."
And truthfully, I really am thankful to my parents for raising me like this. I don't feel jailed when my friends go out Friday nights. I don't feel like a psycho religious idiot when I'm not wearing a bikini on the beach, nor do I feel jailed that I cannot experience a party with drugs and alcohol like my coworker so often does. And I do not feel jailed simply because I was taught to RATIONALLY make my decisions as opposed to just being told what to do.
This whole thing reminds me of a really bad date I was on. The guy asked me "What would you do if your kids came home and said they didn't want to be frum anymore" -at this point I already hated him- so I was like "I don't know, cry?"
He was like "well its good you said cry, but do you want to know what I think?"
So I was like "alright , tell me" (in my head I was like 'Enlighten me oh wise one!" and rolled my eyes)
And he responded "I would prevent it from ever happening. My kids would not come home and tell me they don't want to be frum."
I was like "Ok, so how would you do that?" And he went on blabbing about some nonsense. I hated him, and I had no patience arguing. I mean, Moshe Rebbienu's kids were basically "off the derech" you really think some idiot in "Flatbush" would have a sure way to keep his kids ON the derech?
If anything his kids would probably be at the highest risk - but what the hell...what do I know?
There are a few other stories like this, but I cannot really remember them. But my point in telling them, was that the frum community is full of crap. Fortunately, there is a bright side, and that is that all communities have their share of crap. The problem is, is that the frum community points out flaws in secular communities and says "look, you see, they're full of crap, thats why you should be frum" Or "hey look at that tramp, she wears a bikini on the beach and 5 guys dumped her after she naively thought they wanted more than just a one-night stand"
My parents raised me to see the crap in my own community, and to think "really, what about the crap going on here?" or "yea, but I know about 3 girls that wear bikini's and are in monogomous relationships" and judge bikini wearing by the statement it makes about MYSELF not about the trampy girl.