You know those kids in your neighborhood that you don’t know? The ones you see as you pass by their house, but you don’t know them or their families. This is about one of them, in my neighborhood.
And it’s about me.
And chivalry, which seems to be lying in a gutter somewhere, hoping someone will call an ambulance.
So What’s It All About?
Now, this kid I’ll talk about is sixteen, he’s just started driving. He has a white, sporty looking car that’s about ten years old. It is his latest obsession. Before the car, there was the motocross bike. Before that, there was baseball.
He works on the car a lot. The car has some fancy wheels on it. He’s also added a high dollar muffler, because you’ve got to be muffled in the most awesome way possible.
He has a sticker on the car.
I’m going to reach all sorts of conclusions about the kid because of that sticker. Why? Because I am an old coot.
The Part Where I Establish My Credibility As An Old Coot
We’ll return to the kid in a few moments. First, let’s go back a long time ago and visit sixteen year old me.
Sixteen year old me was about the same thing most sixteen year old boys are. There were two main groups of people who knew that was what I was about. One group was my parents. The other, the parents of the girls I dated.
Before I started dating, my parents made it clear to me that it would not be a good idea for me to do anything that would lead to them getting an angry phone call from anyone’s father. It was also established that I would be respectful to the girl and her parents in every way possible. I would go to the door, meet the parents and I would return my date to that door when her parents expected her.
When I arrived at a girl’s house, I always would have my little meeting with her dad. He would establish, typically without actually issuing a threat, what my fate might be if his daughter returned late or in any sort of rumpled condition.
A Lot Of Effort, To Change Very Little
Despite my parents’ efforts and the most menacing behavior possible by girlfriends’ dads, I remained all about what sixteen year old boys are about. I was polite. I was timely. Moms loved me. Dads tolerated me. But we all knew why I was there.
What these adults established in me was a sense of the respect I should afford women. I did not go to girl’s homes and blow my car horn for them to come out. I opened doors. I learned from all those parents, as well as mine, about being a gentleman.
But you can’t change teenaged hormones.
Come Back When You’ve Got Your Head Right, Son
On the back of the car driven by the kid around the corner is a sticker. It says pantydropper. Yes, pantydropper. One word.
This rubs me the wrong way. It is beyond me that this kid’s dad allows that. Are all women a set of droppable panties? Apparently this young man thinks so, and that he is somehow blessed with the ability to make panties fall. Why isn’t his dad pointing out that his mom is a woman, as is his sister? An opportunity to establish him as someone who respects women is slipping away.
You can’t change teenaged hormones. You can raise a gentleman.
Chivalry isn’t looking so strong. I’m hoping it regains its health and comes back as the father of a sixteen year old girl. It’s time for someone to grab old Pantydropper by the ear and run him out the front door.
It’s going to be a rude awakening.
“She was not what you would call refined. She was not quite what you would call unrefined. She was the kind of person that keeps a parrot.” Mark Twain
Several roofs over my head ago, I lived in a little apartment. I was dating a woman who was several roofs younger than she is today.
On a shopping expedition one day, the topic came up again about how I needed something to “liven up” my apartment. I tried being slick and said something like how she livened things up. It didn’t work. She still bought me the two parakeets like she intended to. Read the rest of this entry »