Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Chicken Necks

David, a friend of mine, works in law enforcement. He has some great stories, which he will tell you after all is said and done or without naming names, so we have a direct line on all this fascinating local gossip, but it's like reading a gossip column with all blind items. Occasionally, he'll tell us who a particular thing is about, but only because we taken a vow of silence regarding passing on such stories. I love hearing these stories, as they are much more entertaining than any movie, and due to my long friendship with David, I know that he is telling us the truth about these cases. Our own personal insider version of COPS.

The latest mini-scandal in the area, and for all I know throughout the country, is the rise (you'll pardon the pun once you realize that it is one) in oral sex amoung thirteen year olds. It turns out that a bunch of similarly aged kids have been caught sneaking into a run-down house that is being renovated, and have been drinking and cavorting there every chance they can get. Let's set aside the underage drinking issue for a moment, and focus on the main Clintonian event here. This just (pun alert) blows my mind.

When I was thirteen years old, the furthest thing from my mind, and I'll go out on a limb here and say the furthest thing on the minds of most of the girls my age in my school, was going down on some guy. First of all, thirteen year old boys were, for the most part, the worst pack of teasing, bullying, fumbling, awkward, pimply losers you would ever want to see. Barely older than boys, just succumbing to the throes of hormonal outrage, they were miserable friend material, much less boyfriend material. Fart jokes and clumsy bra-snapping antics were the best of it back then, and there were only a handful of kids who were dating anyone. I clearly remember a 7th grade dance where the boys spent the entire night on one side of the room, and the girls on the other, with very little intergender socializing. The idea of walking across the room, even to talk to one or two of the boys that I had been friends with since kindergarten, was just too much peer pressure to overcome. We were a boring, chaste lot.

Being a late bloomer, I definitely didn't overcome my distaste for the farting and bra-snapping set for several years after that dance, so I can't even put myself in the mindset of these little girls and what they were doing in this house with these little boys. I know I sound like an old fogey, having been thirteen back in the days when there just was no such thing as Britney Spears and the like, and cable tv and the internet were things of the future, but things sure were different. And even for those few who were dating at thirteen and a little bit older, making out in a dark corner at a party had nothing to do with dropping trou.

David backs me up on this, as he said that even in our high school there were plenty of girls "giving it up", but a blow job was a special thing. You had to go out with someone for a long time, or find a really bad girl to get that kind of action. But to even think of groups of kids getting together in a room, performing these very intimate (at least in my mind) acts with nothing but a blanket between you and the rest of the room watching... I can't even put myself in their place. I've never been much of a PDA person anyway, so the idea of performing sexual acts...in a room full of people...Oh MY GOD. I can't fathom it now, much less at thirteen years old.

During my freshman year of high school, I remember overhearing this one girl talking about giving her long term (probably as long a several months, wow!) boyfriend a blow job. I was simultaneously curious to hear her description and scandalized that someone my age was actually doing that very thing that my mother said good girls NEVER did. (Poor Dad.) Judging from the silence in the room, and the few reactions I could pick up on from the other girls, I wasn't alone in my thoughts. I wonder what kind of group conference would've taken place after such a revelation now? Or is it so commonplace and unremarkable that there wouldn't even be a conversation about it?

People seem very anxious to blame Clinton for the shift in attitudes regarding the intimacy of this act, but I think that the change has been subtle, as sexual attitudes and availability of sexually explicit images and products has changed. Don't get me wrong, I am certainly not advocating going back towards a backward age of ignorance and guilt surrounding sex. I would have been spared a lot of time on a nice leather couch had there been less of a tendency to wrap the tendrils of guilt around budding sexuality in my house. However, it does make me kind of sad that girls and boys so young are making what seem to me to be uninformed and unprotected (!) decisions about their sexuality. If sex comes that cheaply at such a young age, what is special about it when you get older? What will be the new intimacy?

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