Young Love. Yuck.
It’s Thursday where we usually talk about coupling whether through marriage or long term partnership. Generally, we like writing Thursday since it embodies everything that CoupleDumb is about. It is the one day of the week where we usually share intimate details about our past experiences as a married couple. However, this week we are talking about adolescents and the idea of delving into the dysfunction of a teenage relationship makes us throw up in our mouths. But, we are committed or should be after this week.
Lee says: Someone once said that Paul and I together were the blind leading the blind. We were both in our early 20s, very inexperienced (virgins~eek!) and had low self esteems. We did not meet in our teens nor did we have any relationships in our teenage years that would even register as a blip on the meter barring stalking from afar and fantasies. The person, who was bitter and nasty, was not wrong but what she failed to see was that we had focus and vision.
Teenage relationships are less the blind leading the blind and more the blind leading the histrionic. In this circumstance, I will focus on opposite sex relationships but the generalities still hold. Boys and girls are very similar in terms of sexuality. The difference is how we enculturate them. Boys receive blatant and subtle messages which tell them that being overtly sexual is normal. They are told by their peers, male role models and the media that their one purpose in life is to get laid. Their behavior is unconsciously excused and chalked up to hormones and that teenage sex drive.
Adolescent girls are a different animal in society. They are taught to be coy, pretend they are not interested in sexual activity, even though they are also feeling the hormones and such and their primary goal is to create relationship. Today, you need to add the extra layer of overt sexuality that girls are subjected to in the media which encourages them to mature faster than they need to. We have always had teenage heart throbs. I myself had a very sexy picture of John Travolta on my closet. I, however, did not call him sexy (which he was), unlike my 10 year old niece who referred to Justin Beiber as ‘smoking hot’. I didn’t know what that meant and obviously she doesn’t either since, at most, the kid is cute. However, the language of the girls today demand those kinds of sexual monikers while the subconscious figures out what the terms finally mean. Their induction into sexual beings is not conscious but driven by subconscious curiosity.
So you take these two and pair them up into couples like Noah’s Dance Party and what do you have? Drama. What we know about the adolescent brain is that they are poor decision makers when they are faced with peer pressure. We know that you can talk until you are blue in the face and that won’t make a bit of difference during these times if their peers tell them otherwise. What we know is that a kid can promise they will stay virgins and they will drop their panties at the same rate as someone who never gave the promise. The problem with that is that the promise makers tend to forget protection and 82% of them also forget they made the promise in the first place. So conflicted, driven, confused, pressured, the adolescent presents as a hot mess.
The most we can do as parents is teach them to have good friends. This is something we do before they enter the crazy part of adolescents’ and prior to growth spurts, periods and peer groups mean everything to them. You know, that moment between where you are still reading them bed time stories and calling the exorcist.
Paul says: There has never been a time in my life when I understood the adolescent relationship. As a teen it eluded me as I stood on the figurative dock and watched the ship sail away. This was the adolescent love boat and I was the guy that missed the boat, maybe meeting up in the Bahamas but probably not.
As an adult, I have learned something about statistics and scientific method and can now study my confusion like the good scholar that I am. Get back to me in 20 years or so and maybe I’ll have some answers then.