My son is beginning to notice things I don’t think he’s noticed before. I’ve raised three girls, so this whole boy thing is new to me. He has especially taken a liking to some new girl at school named Thorn. I know, I know… what kind of idiot names her daughter after a prick? Granted, we’re in the south, so we do see a lot of stupid things. Thorn seems like a nice girl. Her parents smile a lot and don’t frighten me as much as parents who would name their child Thorn would. Of course, since my kid is in seventh grade, Thorn towers over him due to that strange hormonal twist that matures girls faster than boys. Fortunately, seventh grade girls don’t seem to mind.
Most kids begin to get tight-lipped about dealings with the opposite sex during adolescence. I’m not sure if it’s due to embarrassment or if they think it’s taboo. Remembering back to my own adolescence, I think it may have been both. I do check my son’s backpack for teacher notes and test results, One day, I happened upon a letter from Thorn that was inadvertently left inside the front pocket:
Hi (…), I was wondering if you had a girlfriend. If you don’t, I wanted to know if I could be your girlfriend. I think you are really nice and cute. Love, Thorn
From what I understand from chatting with other middle schoolers, a middle school relationship is usually nothing more than a couple kids telling other middle schoolers that they’re “going out.” They never actually go out anywhere in most cases, although I have heard of some parents driving their child and his or her supposed significant other to the movies. It’s usually limited to some smiles, a love note here and there, perhaps a small gift on a birthday. In more advanced cases, they may actually hold hands in the school hallways. Adolescent hands — grotesque.
I debated bringing up the note for about a week, hoping his reply to my “So, what’s new at school?” question might lead to full disclosure. But it didn’t. One night, he was having trouble falling asleep. I asked him what was the matter. “Is something on your mind?” I asked. “Dad,” he responded, “Do you really have to take your clothes off before your first kiss with a girl?”
My heart stopped as I nearly stumbled off the small black chair behind the desk in his bedroom. “Did I just hear what I thought I heard? Did you really say something about kissing a girl with your clothes off? Where the hell would you hear something like that?” I asked. I paused and collected myself, remembering that if I embarrassed him, I may lose his trust permanently. “You know, it almost sounds like something your dumb Uncle Lou would say. First, let me address your question. No, You should never remove your clothes for anyone except yourself, and only if you’re alone to change or to shower. Got it?” I asked, hoping my words had corrected whatever strange information my little boy had uncovered.
He looked at me with his deep brown eyes. It was like he was looking through me. “But dad, they take their clothes off in the movies all the time,” he said. He was absolutely right. Yet another way the entertainment industry is destroying childhood. It’s in virtually every television show and movie. I had to think quickly to counter this one.
“No, that only happens in the movies, boy. You see, movies are kind of like dreams. You’re living and watching someone else’s weird dream. That stuff doesn’t really happen in the real world.” He remained silent. His mind was churning. “So, who told you that you were supposed to be naked for a kiss?” I asked again.
“Uncle Lou. He didn’t really say you have to be naked, but he said you should be in a bed. And kiss her with your tongue. He said you have to show a woman that you’re a real man, because they like that.”
Uncle Lou is a piece of shit bachelor who hates commitments and children, not necessarily in that order. As a matter of fact, he offers no positive contribution to society whatsoever. He’s the kind of guy who won’t keep a girlfriend because she could potentially harm his retirement plan. He’s that person who buys something online to play with it for a few weeks and returns it 24 hours before the return policy ends. Other than his being an employee of mine, I’m not really sure why I allow him to be involved in my life. But I’ll be damned if I ever leave him alone with any of my children again. I went to see Uncle Lou that night. I pounded on his trailer door. When he answered, bewildered at why I was there at midnight on a work day, I sucker punched him. I’ve never sucker punched anyone before. Never thought anyone deserved it, until now. I’ve even stripped him of his uncle title.
This is why you need to have that talk with your sons and daughters sooner rather than later. You have no idea what kind of bullshit outside influences are imparting into their fragile little minds. If you need help getting started or which points to cover, I’ve provided the boy talk on a prior blog post along with a video. The girl talk is in my book, Diary of an Angry Father. Yes, I know it’s weird and awkward. But that’s nothing compared to the phone call I might have received from Thorn’s angry parents or the police had my boy taken Lou’s idiotic advice. The next morning, I straightened out my son and explained that kissing will expose him to hundreds of thousands of different germs and bacteria from her mouth that could potentially make him sick. Harsh? A little. True? Definitely. I then told him that being naked makes babies. What? Don’t be foolish. How do you think you got here? I recommended he just hold hands for a while. And then, if and when he ever becomes ready for the next step, whatever that is, I told him I could advise him there too. He smiled and finished his Fruit Loops.