"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

teenage boys.

Like most girls I know, I was given the age old advice about boys. Don't trust them. They think through their dicks. They're not interested in smart, witty, nerdy, slightly chubby girls like me; if they are, it's because they're desperate, and I'm not talking desperate for a deep and meaningful conversation about modernist literature. They might think that they want love, want relationships, want intimacy, want friendship, but hormones render teenage boys incapable of all of that. Don't take it personally, and don't let it hurt you, but that's just how it is. Men are always incapable of understanding and giving what women want, but teenage boys are the most hopeless of them all.

It's strange how advice like this can change a girl. I've had my fair share of mess ups and heartbreaks, but I have always had that in the back of my mind; teenage boys simply aren't capable of giving what I want. Every time I've tripped and fallen in love I've kicked myself for it, because I have this idea in my head that I have to wait, I have to wait until both parties are grown up and mature and we can go about this in a grown up and mature way. I've always erred on the side of caution, always been wary and suspicious of intentions. But is that age-old tale true, anyway?

I think not. Men invest far too much time and money in relationships, in friendships, in closeness and proximity and intimacy with other people, to just be thinking about getting some. If every person we meet and know and love is an investment, then men stake the most in this most risky market. They give everything they have not for the kind of R-rated fantasies people have convinced me teenage boys think about 24/7, but for what we all want; support and comfort. Even at this age, even when society and popular culture are out to get them, to portray them as risk-takers who will stop at nothing to get some, even when that is imprinted into every girl's head, I still think that that's not true. I think that teenage boys want what we all want, and like the rest of us, they're just not entirely sure how to get it.

There is an element of sexism in that lie, isn't there? Why doesn't anyone have the right idea of what teenage girls want? Sure, we want shoes and clothes and weddings and happy endings, but our lives aren't really that PG-13. Has anyone really considered that teenage girls want what teenage boys want? Or what people claim they want, anyway. Hormones, recklessness, curiosities...these aren't really limited to the male gender.

Why do they even tell us that, anyway? Maybe it's their way of ensuring that girls are as shy and prudish and innocent and cautious as society wants them to be. It's hardly fair, you know. I wonder what would happen if it was just common knowledge - not true or false, just common knowledge - that girls are as blinded by hormones as teenage boys are supposed to be?  

I will tell you that teenage boys, in my experience, are much more...sidetracked...by new, shiny things than most other people that I meet. They're like children in a sense - it's the novelty, the newness, the newly-minted nature of things when you're growing up that is irresistble. They can't resist that new thing, that new experience, that new something or other that makes life just that bit more interesting and dangerous. I think that's it, really, the tiny seed of truth in it all; teenage boys aren't addicted to getting some, or thinking about getting some, they're addicted to recklessness; they aren't slaves to primal instincts, they're slaves to the rush, the thrill of recklessness. And I have no problem with that. I'm like that, too. 

Could I tell you honestly that I'm not really scared of men, or what they want, or what they claim they want, or what people claim that men want? I'm just a little confused because all of the above are entirely different, and not one and the same. There is no clarity, and without clarity I cannot even begin to understand. But it is impossible to weird me out, and even if I do get a bit scared I know I can handle it; I know I can protect myself. I'm not afraid of emotions; I'm afraid of people who seem to have no emotions - which would be, you know, 99% of the chums I go to school with. I'm not afraid of brutal honesty, of acknowledging what we think and feel.

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