To help my writing, I eavesdrop whenever possible. Last night, my sixteen-year-old daughter hosted a Halloween party. So it was spying time.
I heard some great stuff from my lair in the kitchen.
Some of it gave me hope for this generation.
For example, “Which pronoun should I use?”
Holy crap, I thought. Kids have evolved.
When a girl asked if any boys had arrived yet, another said “just the gays.” It wasn’t meant in a negative way. These girls love “the gays.” I think they were calibrating their romantic expectations.
Later on, I caught a distant boy’s voice saying “I touched my first boob today.”
That settled me down. These guys were still a lot like my old crew.
Then another voice, this one from my daughter’s ex-boyfriend, pushed me down a little further. I can’t remember the exact quote. The gist was you’re opinion doesn’t matter because you’re a girl.
So these guys were very much like the goofy jerks of my day.
Maybe, but not exactly.
Mixed in with sexual obsessions and a propensity for mean jabs, they were also sensitive to issues that would have confused my contemporaries. In my neighborhood, talk of homosexuality and gender nonconformity led to anger and sometimes violence. It was cool that my daughter’s friends have moved on.
Later in the night, a pair of girls came into the kitchen and started a conversation with me. I can’t remember much of it. I had a drink in hand, and my wife made me go to bed soon after. One of them said she liked boys and girls but none of the boys and girls at her school. She wanted romance from a distance and didn’t seem ready to like someone who might like her back. The other one described herself as boringly heterosexual.
They were both sweet. The kind of teenagers who sneak away to talk to parents because grownups are more predictable and safe. We had that type in my day too.
I went to sleep wishing my wife let me stay up and play more. She was probably right though. The girls in the kitchen needed to hang out with kids their own age. I had already picked up a few observations for future stories. Most important to my wife and daughter, I don’t think I said anything too embarrassing.