This time, the conversation took an unexpected turn and I learned about a side of him I'd never known before. Perhaps in his advanced age, his speech is less guarded than he would have preferred in previous years. He began telling me about how promiscuous he had been before marriage.
I was not sure what to be most surprised about. Americans were this immoral in the 30s? Looking at black and white photos of my friend and his classmates, it was hard to believe that these clean-cut, suit-and-tie-wearing young people harbored such lusts. Why didn't he feel more remorse? He seemed to feel neither guilt nor pride. He talked about his sexual partners with casualness, like selecting a new shirt at Penney's. Where were the Christians? Flipping through his yearbook, I read some comments of his friends. The penmanship was beautiful, the words clever, but the messages were empty. Were there no Jesus-followers in his class?
Two lessons stood out to me.
- Sex can be gotten cheaply; love is priceless. He told me that he would never have married any girl who had premarital sex with him. By doing so, they cheapened themselves in his eyes. He would keep going with them as long as they gave him what he wanted, but when they stopped--he dumped them. Ironically, although he had no problem compromising his own morals before marriage, he didn't want to marry a woman who did.
- He still is emotionally connected to his previous "girlfriends", even after all these decades. And he knows it. Did he ever imagine, in those moments of fleeting youthful pleasure, that the "soul ties" created would still haunt him in the next millennium?