October 17, 2009

Putting girls in their place

God knows we love young girls' throbbing energy level and cockiness -- it makes them more fun to be around -- but that testosterone peak sometimes leads them to act out of line. We can always rely on females to police other females' behavior, but that only goes so far. After all, the target of the policing realizes that most of her persecutors are acting selfishly -- omiGOD, i mean, like, don't be JEALOUS just cuz you're old and ugly. She won't conclude that she's done something wrong, only something threatening to the status of competitor females in the mating arena.

That's where feedback from boys comes in. She won't care if a low-ranking boy calls her out for misbehaving, for the same reason as before -- i mean, are you kidding me? you're just JEALOUS that i'm hot and you're a loser. Such guys aren't likely to call her out in the first place because they're pussies, but even if they did, the most likely cause is resentment. And her male relatives have selfish motives too -- to get the best value out of what they see as their property.

This makes it all the more important for desirable males to whip girls into shape whenever they get out of control. First, they are less likely to call acceptable acts "misbehavior" because they aren't competing with the girl, aren't bitter or resentful -- they have enough choices that one girl isn't a drop in the bucket -- and have no genetic stake in how she behaves. Ideally this would be her boyfriend or husband, but even they may not step up enough because they'll incur a higher cost in the form of a potential strain on the relationship's harmony.

I used to do my part for the greater good of humanity by keeping young, cocky girls in line when they were my tutorees. To them, most of the time I was like their friend's cool, cute older brother. If they lost my respect, they'd feel sick showing their face where I work, and that put a real brake on their impulse to act like wild animals. Again, rambunctiousness is healthy to a certain extent, especially when you're young, so I only put my foot down when they stepped too close to the boundary.

Now that I no longer have that outlet, I have to rely on my interactions with them at dance clubs. Most of the time, they're somewhat out of control, but they aren't carrying on like maniacs. Once more, the only parties who would be deeply disturbed are male relatives, bitter loser males, and all manner of competitor females -- especially the older ones, who don't like being reminded of how slack their skin has become and how close their libido and energy level in general is to flatlining. But every once in awhile, they do act like retards and need to be corrected -- for their own benefit and for the well-being of everyone around them.

At '80s night this week, there was the usual circle of groupies staring up while I was getting into the groove, and as usual a few climbed up on the mini-stage to get closer. But instead of delivering a lame pick-up line or just going right for it and grinding their pelvis against my body, one girl gave me a light kick to the calf -- and when my back was turned. Given how crowded the place is, and given how much people are bouncing around, I thought it was an honest mistake. But then she gave me another light kick like the first one, and shot me a come-hither look when I turned around to see what the fuck she was doing.

I paced slowly over to her, set my hand down on her shoulder, and said, "Don't... Do that... Anymore..." I didn't have a scowl on my face, nor a coddling or reassuring expression. Just that look like, you're being annoying and need to knock it off. She stopped horsing around at that point, and when she was about to leave the area 10 minutes later, she tugged at my jeans from the floor and reached up to shake my hand and say i'm sorryyyyy with an honest worried look in her eyes. I took her hand but merely half-smiled and waved her off as though she were overreacting and being weird, which must have fucked with her mind a little more.

The next time she feels like being too aggressive with a boy she likes, she'll remember how ashamed she came out of it the last time. Girls get away with too much shit, and someone needs to rein them in when they push the limits of appropriate behavior. Accosting a boy that you're ga-ga over is one thing, but kicking -- even lightly -- is another. Now, playfully bumping into me -- oooops, i mean, i guess i'm just clumsy -- would have been OK. And I certainly don't mind when a group of them rushes up and gooses me -- believe me, that'll put lead in your pencil. But unless someone is there to give her negative feedback, how will she learn where the borders are?

Now in fairness, she may go to a girls-only high school and so might have had little feedback from boys during her adolescence so far about what's normal in pursuing them. Elementary school girls punch, kick, or push down the boys they have a crush on, but we expect that to stop as boys' feedback to her trial-and-error approach teaches her that that's not acceptable. She definitely wasn't drunk or hyped up on caffeine, so she really did have the wrong view of how to act.

The only alternative to going to a girls-only school is that boys her age are too desperate and afraid to call her out on her bullshit. You don't have that much bargaining power at that age, while the girl who sits in front of you in math class can wrap any guy around her finger, and that makes confronting them pretty intimidating. Even the most popular guy in school still pays a higher social cost, or takes a larger risk, compared to when he's more mature and secure socially. And she was pretty cute, which makes it even harder for guys to suck it up and crack down when necessary.

This is one unfortunate consequence of a greater degree of age segregation in society. All groups split up somewhat by age, but ours especially does so. Parents -- let alone adults with no children -- are pretty clueless about what young people are up to, and this naturally leads to paranoia and moral panics. Video game violence, goth music, an epidemic of oral sex, etc.

But the other side of this coin is that young people are more clueless than before about what real life is like. If the only males you interact with are also young, you're very unlikely to ever get smacked down when you mouth off. More experienced guys, by contrast, don't believe that you have something they've never seen before, or that it's too risky to tell a pretty girl that she's acting retarded. Again, she wouldn't care at all what most older guys thought, for good reasons that we've already covered. But there is that subset of "my friend's cool older brother," or rebellious actors or lead singers, and so on, who they're deathly afraid of pissing off.

In all societies, people will fragment enough by age that these encounters will be rare, but like earthquakes, even a rare event will leave an indelible impression if its shock is great enough. By shielding them from the harsh events of the real world, we give them an artificially high sense of invincibility, and as a result, they'll behave more recklessly. Now, this doesn't translate into higher rates of crime or promiscuity -- the things we tend to worry about first -- because the costs there are mostly in the form of state punishment or same-age social shaming. Still, having to live more in adult-world would temper their conviction that they're the shit and that they can act as obnoxiously as they please.


  1. " And I certainly don't mind when a group of them rushes up and gooses me"

    Does goosing mean what I think it means?

  2. Grabbing or cupping the manly parts?

  3. usually just means pinching or grabbing the butt.

  4. Watch out doing this to women slightly older than you...


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