Monday, March 26, 2007

From a Young Person's Guide to Life - 1

Here's some advice I have for young persons, based on years of experience and research. This is what I actually told my own children when they were in their teenage years and other young people I know, and they all (amazingly) seem to have turned out just fine. Of course, feel free to pick and choose. Your experience may be different.

How to deal with being gay. If you think you might be gay, you probably are. This is fine. You'll get used to it. Talk to a friend and get it off your chest. Consider relocating to a larger metropolitan area when you're old enough, and remember that being gay is no excuse for not doing well in school. You still need to do your math homework. Tip for gay teens: you'll avoid a lot of grief by learning early that Andrew Lloyd Webber is an idiot and Stephen Sondheim is a genius. You don't need to do anything special to be gay. Contrary to stereotype there are no special gay traits. Just make your way through the world like everyone else and be willing to decide things for yourself. Be sure to have some fun along the way. You still need to do your math homework.

How to deal with being straight. Take consolation in the fact that you are not alone. Many young people find themselves strongly and inexplicably attracted to persons of the opposite sex. The bad news is that the opposite sex is hard to understand. Good luck. You still need to do your math homework.

How to reject a sexual advance. It may happen that someone you aren't interested in will express interest in you. In this situation, the thing to do is be polite and remember that you've just been paid a compliment. Just decline the offer as graciously as possible. This rule applies doubly if the person you are rejecting happens to be of your nonpreferred gender.

How to deal with being rejected. Having your amorous intentions rebuffed is one of life's most painful experiences. Your only consolation is that you're not alone. Everyone goes through this, and it hurts like hell. It hurts more than you think it ought to. It gets better with time. In the meantime, you have my sympathies. Try writing some poetry. Write a long letter explaining your feelings in detail, but do not send it.

How to pick a steady girlfriend or boyfriend. Look for long-term qualities in a long-term companion: stability, good humor and ethical behavior are good starting points. Bad qualities don't tend to get any better over time. Picking a girlfriend or boyfriend is (and should be) a completely selfish act. Pick someone with qualities that work for you. This is not the time to be doing any favors.

How to pick a date. Dating should be experimental. Branch out and socialize with a wider variety of people than you might at first imagine. If you have fun with someone, this is a good sign that you're going in the right direction. The operative word here is fun. You're only young once, and you'd be a fool to waste it. In other words, look for short-term qualities in short-term companions. : - ) It's OK to do someone a favor by asking them out on a date.

How to masturbate. Masturbation is a part of healthy sexual function that starts at adolescence. It is normal. Most people are embarrassed to talk about it, but it's no big deal. There are only two rules for masturbation: Use a lubricant and don't do it the same way every time, otherwise you can lose some sensitivity over time (this is a bad thing).

How to use pornography. Pornography, like masturbation (see above), is harmless, but do not under any circumstances mistake pornography for a how-to manual. Pornography can teach you nothing. Nada. Zip. Real sex (especially good sex) is nothing like its pornographic depiction, except in both cases there are two people in the room. Tip: turn off the sound. Tip 2: if you think you are looking at too much pornography, you probably are, you big time waster. Go get a real-life girlfriend or boyfriend, or at least some fresh air and exercise.

How to have sex. This is big topic, but here is the quick version: slow down, relax and listen for feedback on what feels good to your partner. There is a myth that sex is just one thing, namely vaginal intercourse with the guy on top. This isn't true; sex has many forms. (In fact, confusion over this very point got a U.S. President impeached.) Blushing when someone flirts with you is sex. Holding hands and kissing is sex. Some of the best sex around has nothing to do with intercourse. Remember: don't be in a hurry. "Going all the way" is overemphasized. There's a lot of other stuff to do beside that. It's really about affection and fun. One warning about sex: it can be a kind of glue that binds people to each other emotionally. This effect is very powerful and occurs whether the people involved ought to be glued together or not, so be cautious. Waiting until you get married (or make some other major commitment to each other) is fine too, if you can pull it off.

How to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. This part is serious, kids. DO NOT get pregnant or get anyone else pregnant. PERIOD. DO NOT get an STD. We have the technology to prevent disease and pregnancy, and this is as much the male's responsibility as the female's. Look it up online. Be especially cautious with the combination of sex and alcohol.

What to do if you get someone pregnant (or get pregnant). DON'T GET ANYONE PREGNANT (OR GET PREGNANT) IN THE FIRST PLACE. Do not rely on your partner for birth control. It is your responsibility.

What about abstinence? Your religious or political views or those of your parents or community may strongly encourage you to avoid sex entirely. In the long run this isn't practical or sustainable. At some point abstinence has to end: complete sexual abstinence at age 26 isn't normal and may end up making you be uptight about sex or rush into marriage before you're ready. Like all life skills, you should learn about sex and experiment gradually over time. There's no need to rush this, but there's also no need to prohibit this, especially after high school. Bottom line: abstinence works on a sliding scale. The younger you are the better it is for you to abstain from sex. The older you are the less practical or desirable it is for you to abstain. The tipping point is probably around age 21 or 22.


How to choose a tattoo. Tattoos should be postponed until you hit age 30. If you still want one by then, by all means go ahead. Have you ever actually seen a tattoo on a 60 year old? The ink bleeds over time and looks really gross.


playasinmar said...

You are hereby notified of your candidacy for Dad of the Year.

playasinmar said...

To quote the venerable Pvt. L. L. Church from the popular web-series Red Vs. Blue:

“ I think it is quite clear that you should not get a tattoo and I can sum up my point in this elegant but very simple, bulleted list:

+Tattoos are permanent.

+You are a god damn idiot.

And I’d like to prove this mathematically, if I may. Take your current age. Now subtract ten years from it. Were you smart back then? Of course you weren’t. You were a god damn idiot. Fact of the matter is you’re just as big an idiot today it’s just going to take you ten more years to realize it.

Now think if you had drawn a picture on your body ten years ago. Would you be happy with it today? Chances are you wouldn’t be.”

-L- said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
-L- said...

My favorite part: "Your religious or political views or those of your parents or community may strongly encourage you to avoid sex entirely. In the long run this isn't practical or sustainable. At some point abstinence has to end: complete sexual abstinence at age 26 isn't normal and may end up making you be uptight about sex or rush into marriage before you're ready."

So, please don't follow your religious or political views. Follow mine. And if you don't and are over 26, you are not normal. In fact, you are a freak.

Should I laugh or cry at the fact that you taught this to your kids?

playasinmar said...

Didn't Brigham Young say, "Any young man who is unmarried at the age of twenty one is a menace to the community."

It might be implied that the unmarried menace is a virgin.

MoHoHawaii said...


I addressed your comment in a separate post, since I needed more space.


I remember unmarried friends of mine who were dreading their 26th birthdays because they would switch categories from Young Adult to Special Interest. The cutoff age for Young Adults was not chosen arbitrarily.

MoHoHawaii said...

It has been pointed out to me that the term "Special Interest" is no longer used by the church for singles age 26 and over.

What is the current name of this group? Do they still use "Young Adult" for single 18 to 25 year olds?