When I was a teenage boy I was terrified of teenage girls.
Whenever I was in close proximity to one (or, more likely, a group, they congregated in covens) I could feel my face grow uglier, my spots grow bigger, my clothes grow uncooler. If one of them spoke to me I would mumble some reply, normally making fun of myself, in a semi-broken voice that would change pitch by two octaves in mid-sentence, making me sound like a hyena crossed with a donkey. All of us boys knew that we were shapeless lumps of shambling idiocy, whilst the girls our age were beautiful visions of cool sophistication.
When I got older, of course, I realised that this wasn’t true, that the girls were just as terrified and unsure of themselves as we were. The only difference is that while we were hiding behind a mask of shoving each other, playing air guitar and farting as loudly as possible, the girls were hiding behind a mask of liberally applied make-up and cold disdain.
How much easier our teen years would have been if each gender had realised this about the other.
Anyway, why drag these old (very old, unfortunately, when I was last a teenage boy Capricorn One was in the cinema and Yes Sir I Can Boogie was in the charts, and I realise sadly that most of you will have heard of neither) humiliations out into the public domain? Well, Tingirl (14 next month) had a friend stay over last night. When I got up this morning they were in the sitting room watching TV. As I walked through two heads turned toward me in perfect unison, stared at me expressionlessly for about one second, then turned in unison back to the TV. And for that one second I once again felt stripped to my soul, dismissed and two feet tall, all at the same time.
I pity the teenage boys of our town.