Saturday, December 21, 2013

An F for Flirting

It is painful to watch teenagers flirt.

It’s painful to watch them interact, period. I’m not sure how teachers stand it. When I am with a group of kids, there are always at least a couple of them spouting the most painful and embarrassing lines of bullshit you can possibly imagine. I am nice and pleasant, I nod, smile and encourage – they are children, after all – but inside my head I am screaming, “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! For the love of God, stop talking!”

And the worst is when they are trying to flirt with each other.

They often insult each other without realizing it. Even when they are trying to tease, they lack the finesse to keep the teasing playful. Sometimes, they go way too far. Sometimes, they take offense when none was meant. Everything comes to a screeching halt.

They can’t decide whether they like each other or not. In fact, if they think the other one likes them back, they may very well decide they don’t like that person after all.

They just consider each other trophies. Girls in particular want a boyfriend to show that they have been “chosen.” One of my daughter’s friends started dating a boy but was dismayed to discover that he wanted to talk. (Eww.)

They don’t ask each other out on dates. They don’t go to movies or hang out at each other’s houses. Some only see each other at school; others only know each other online.

They are inordinately concerned with what their friends think of who they like – even though their friends are clearly just as insecure, competitive and squirrelly as they are.

It’s a wonder the human race reproduces.

Were we as bad as this?

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