Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A girl, A boy, and a magazine

I kind of feel like my world is upside down right now

The girl

Yesterday I spent some time with my 13 yo niece. I haven’t seen her since summer and I was not prepared for the shock that met my eyes: black eye liner, eye shadow, slightly padded bra and when she bent over –yeah you guessed it – T-bars.

First off, I am all for style and letting kids express themselves.

I was just shocked because it seemed like a BIG change in just a few short months.

When I asked her about her new look, she answered like it was obvious, “I want boys to like me.”

My heart broke. This was my tree climber, pancake flipper, saver of lost dogs and threatened insects (she’s been known to try to capture all the flies in the house before her father wacks them)

I love personal style and unique looks. But shouldn’t a kid pick a look because THEY like it?

But tell me, do any 13 year old boys tell their classmates –I’d really like you better if you had a bit more eyeliner?

The boy

The flip side is my Ashton. He was sitting in the backseat with two buddies and we stopped at a red light. They all noticed a girl walking across the street. At the time, I thought she was 15 or 16, but maybe she was younger. One of the boys made a comment to Ashton and he said something to the effect, “I could never get a girl like that.”

I was pretending not to listen.

Half of me wanted to say – you are so special you can be with any amazing wonderful beautiful female

And the other half was thinking – girls are not meant to be ‘got’

The magazine

Last night I was in a waiting room flipping through a magazine (it was a couple of years old) and there was an article about guys telling their greatest turn ons. One guy said (paraphrasing) I knew I was going to dump my girlfriend soon and decided I should have sex with her one more time. I was just uninhibited and let myself go and it was the best sex ever.


His best sex (and the only time he was himself in bed with her) was with someone he didn’t want to see again?!

So, here’s the truth:

I don’t want my niece never to go out with boys

I don’t want my son to think an attractive girl won’t be attracted to him

But, more than that - - - I want them (and all kids) to grow up learning to form positive relationships. I hope they will have great friends of both genders and when they do have crushes and relationships it will be with people who they have a lot in common with, who bring out the best in them, and who they feel truly comfortable around.

I hope that they never grow up to be like that guy in the magazine.


  1. This is why part of me wants to raise my children on a hippie commune. I don't want my girls to dress like mini-tramps so they can have boyfriends and I don't want my boys treating other girls like the mini-tramps they're pretending to be.

    I guess I should just be happy I don't have kids yet.

  2. Stuff like this is why I don't know if I want kids. Dealing with all that freaks me out.

    Hopefully as your niece matures she'll figure out her own style. 13 seems so young for eyeliner and padded bras.

  3. What a great post! I was a lot like your niece when I was younger than her. I wish someone had told me that I would have to like myself before anyone else would "really" like me. This is one of the reasons why we homeschool our kids. My girls are girly girls but they hardly wear makeup but they do paint their nails. They like the library and I'm happy that they like reading. As for your niece, boys and men are turned on by appearances but they're going to notice the T-bars and bra before the eyeliner, you know? Maybe you can explain to her that at 13, she might not want the boys to like her for the wrong reasons and discuss topics like the one in the magazine? I always tell my girls not to hurry up to become an adult because once you're an adult, you are one for the rest of your life. You only get one chance at a childhood. Give her a hug from me!
    As for your son, whose name I love, btw, since boys and girls are wired so differently, I think it's hard for some boys to meet girls. I wish it were easier for some boys to just be themselves around girls. Even if they feel like the girl is out of her league and talk to them and get to know them.
    As for the article in the magazine, I have no comment. Except for that it probably wasn't the best sex ever for her. He seems pretty selfish, if you know what I mean.


  4. That guy in the magazine is totally one of the many reasons why girls grow thinkin' the outside of us matters so much more than the inside... I kinda want to chop his man jewels off... I am soooo glad I am out of those 'boob growing/what does french kissing really feel like/i want to wear tighter clothes but my mom wont let me' high school days... growin' up is freakin' hard....

  5. Ahhh Youth!! I remember not liking my son's first really serious girlfriend because she was HAWT!! Got to know her and still didn't like her - had to endure that relationship for close to seven years.

    Wish we could instill some of our wisdom in these teenagers -- attraction comes from inside - ok real true attraction.

  6. a lot of feelings stir within me as i read and re-read this. i made great efforts to look skanky (what i thought sexy) because i wanted boys to "want" me(so gross)....and lots of them did...for s3x. and for a while i would be high from the achievement. this followed by a ridiculous hope that they would then decide to like or love me. i see now i was soooo broken from feeling unloved, unheard, unimportant. i like to think that girls who feel close and loved by their parents do things differently. and the important part of my statement is "feeling loved". my parents will say they loved me. they were cold and angry and hostile with all people most of the time. i felt criticized, unworthy, unlovable and angry of course.
    thank goodness we have only sons and we move heaven and earth to keep those love tanks full, just so they will be able to like themselves and others enough to make choices that are healthy. thanks for the distraction

  7. its all so awful it freaks me out too, I want my daughter to feel good about herself and not have to change to GET someone to like her, what to do? just keeping trying to teach them the right way and never let them out of the house, hmmmmmmmm maybe

  8. The youth of this day...I wish they didn't grow up so fast!

  9. Sigh. I actually have an 18 yr old daughter (19 in January), who picked out a guy she liked and liyerally let him use her for months and months. She was convinced that she could "make him change and REALLY like her". He treated her like crap. Kept her in tears. Yet she wouldn't dump him. No matter what I said or advice I gave. She was obsessed.

    Miraculously, he nearly lost a parent and had a huge AH HA moment. They now have (I guess) a normal relationship.

    I guess my point (do I really have one?) is that when they get to a certain age...you lose control of their lives. So, hug them lots, bolster that self esteem, TALK, talk, talk to them. I have 7 more kids to get through puberty. I'm scared.

  10. Ugh. So sad that your niece said that. That age is so tough, I think I've blocked most of it out!

  11. I am so glad I have sons. It is so hard to be a girl in this day and society. I will also be doing my best to teach my sons well about girls, to do my part in breaking down these issues.

  12. It's a lot of talking with them about it. Most of the information they get is from TV and magazines which is all crap. However at that age it's all they have.

  13. I cant imagine what it is like to be a girl and trying so hard to fit in with a clique. All I had to do was be good at sports, and talk to girls. Not saying that it was easy to be a young man around them though.... they are much smarter and more socially conscious than we are at an early age. BUt I can tell you that everything comes out even in the end. Somehow we all meet in the middle someday.

  14. Hi! Popping over from SITS roll call to visit.

    It was hard enough being a teenagers back in my days, I can't imagine being a teen these days. I have a beautiful blond haired 16 y/o niece who also changed over night, died her hair black, pierced her nose, her lip, and wears heavy thick theatrical makeup. She keeps trying to make herself look "not ugly."

    Great post.

  15. I feel for your niece and your son. And there are way too many guys like that one in the magazine. When my oldest started to date I was so afraid of her running into the guy in the magazine. She has met them, but, thank God, hasn't dated them. I wish childhood didn't end so abruptly with the teen years. For me it was boys and green eye shadow.