To the Teenage Girls Who Hang Out with the Teenage Boys Across the Street:
I get it. You’re at that time in your life where you’re really interested in boys. Your hormones are raging, you want attention from males, and you think the guys across the street are cool because they wear tank tops and have cars and sit around in lawn chairs smoking pot in the side yard right across the street from my driveway.
I was a teenager once. I remember when the scrawny little boys in 7th grade started turning into actual young men a couple of years later. I remember how it made us all a little crazy for a few years. And though I’m “the lady across the street” now, I’m not so far removed from where you are in your life right now. So I do understand.
But for the love of God, put some clothes on.
There’s no need to walk up and down the street in a skimpy little bikini, waiting on those boys to come outside. We have no neighborhood pool, so why are you in a swimsuit? Please do not wiggle yourself right in front of my driveway when I’m trying to turn into it. You look silly and I will tell you for a fact that those boys talk about you when you leave, and it’s not always sunshine and roses.
Also, when you ARE actually hanging out with these boys, there is no need to curse as loudly as you possibly can. We live in a semi-decent neighborhood with small children everywhere. And I swear to you, if my four-year old ever tells me to “shut the f**k up,” I’ll know exactly where he heard it. And you’d best have your parents on speed dial, because after I deal with you I’m going to pay them a visit. I know you think you’re being “cool” and using grown-up language, but the hooligan boys across the street do not swear with that much volume. EVER. They are exceedingly polite to me and my children. You’re not the little badass you think you are when you cuss a blue streak. You just look trashy. Go home and read a book.
Listen, I know you think these guys are cool right now. Skipping school, smoking pot, probably doing all the other things that “bad boys” do. But believe me when I say that if they don’t start shaping up really soon, you don’t want to hitch your wagons to them. Being cool isn’t going to get them into college. Heck, it may not even get them out of high school. I know you think they’re the bee’s knees at the moment, but think about what their lives are going to look like in five years if they continue down this path. They’ll be in their early twenties, probably still sitting in those lawn chairs, smoking pot and drinking. And there will be a new batch of teenage girls who will think they are sooooo awesome. I’m hoping you will have moved on by then. Perhaps you’ll be in college and will have set your sights on some higher-hanging fruit. Someone who might not have been “cool” as a teenager like you think these boys are. Someone who thought about their future and what they wanted it to look like, and is actively working to make that happen. Someone with ambition and drive. Someone who is a hard worker. Someone who will respect you.
Darlings, I do understand you more than you think. I was you once. And I look back on things that I did or said as a teenager to get a boy’s attention and cringe. You, too, will look back on this summer and the times you spent wriggling up and down the street waiting for those boys to come out and notice you, and you will be so embarrassed. And I hope that they snap out of it as well, get their acts together, and start thinking about their future. Because the road they’re on right now isn’t leading them anywhere good. Hopefully they’ll look back on these years with regret, wishing they would have studied and gotten a higher SAT score instead of smoking their brain cells away. They’re nice boys, they really are. But eventually you’re all going to be adults. Now is the time to start thinking about what kind of adult you want to be.
But seriously, put some clothes on. And watch your mouth.
The Lady Across The Street