How A Blonde In A White Tube Top Changed My Career

In Skincare Advice & Articles by Dr Bollmann's 0 comments

From an early age, I felt drawn to the priesthood. Growing up in a devout Catholic family in small-town New Jersey, the priesthood was held as the most noble of professions. My brother, 21 years my senior and a priest himself, was the most respected of my five siblings.

With a 13-year gap between my nearest sister and myself, I realized I wasn’t exactly planned. However, I was cherished and showered with love by my family.

I embraced all aspects of Catholicism, becoming an altar boy as soon as I was eligible. I loved ringing the bells, and lighting candles, and my mother always ensured my vestments were impeccably pressed.

Living close to the church allowed for frequent visits for quiet reflection. We were fortunate to have a new Monsignor, as there were many stories about the previous one, who often forgot parts of the mass due to his advanced age. One amusing tale was his refusal to stop at the new traffic light in town, requiring his assistant to alert the police to halt traffic for him so he would not hurt anyone.

The new Monsignor was popular for his seven-minute masses. And to address any potential concerns, I was never approached inappropriately by any of the priests.

It was assumed I would enter the seminary, which at the time was after eighth grade when I was 13.

The neighborhood kids often played stickball, and while I didn’t pay much attention to the girls who watched, one named Jeannie seemed to have a major crush on me. She was a relative of the town dentist and lived nearby. Focused on my path to the priesthood, I didn’t reciprocate her interest.

The night before leaving for the seminary in Maryland, we were playing stickball as usual, and Jeannie came to watch. I had never noticed she was a striking 13-year-old blonde until she appeared wearing a white off-the-shoulder top and blue shorts.

Her outfit unexpectedly affected me, and for the first time, I questioned whether the priesthood was truly my destiny.

The next day, I left for the seminary and never saw Jeannie again. Her family moved to Florida.

I persevered in the seminary for two years, appreciating the discipline and finally having access to a good education. I learned to meditate and embrace silence. After evening prayers, we walked in silence to prepare for bed and couldn’t speak until after breakfast the next day. Meals, except for breakfast, were silent three days a week.

During summer break after my second year, I was at the shore in Wildwood, New Jersey, and met a 16-year-old girl. When she described diving off the high dive and her swimsuit top coming loose, just hearing this confirmed that the priesthood was not for me. I left and returned to my local high school, eventually enrolling at Villanova University.

Did I mention I never saw Jeannie again? That’s not entirely true. Six years after that first encounter, I had just finished my first year at Villanova and had a summer job at my cousin’s water company, making $1.80 an hour. Unfortunately, the job involved drilling wells, and most tasks were beyond my 115-pound frame.

New Jersey summers are hot and humid; by the end of the day, you’re not just dirty but also sweaty and smelly. Getting a seat on the bus was never an issue, as everyone kept their distance.

One day, returning home in this sweaty, smelly state, looking my absolute worst, my mother told me I had a visitor. There stood Jeannie, a beautiful blonde, impeccably dressed in an expensive blue suit, informing me she had just been runner-up in the Miss Florida pageant.

And that was the last time I saw Jeannie.


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