Monday, August 18, 2008


We have new next-door neighbors, a divorced father with two sons. One is in his early twenties and the other is a boy who looks to be around sixteen or seventeen. The father seems a bit overwhelmed and the sons, as so many young men seem to be today, are largely inarticulate and completely incapable of looking you in the face and saying hello like gentlemen. The most they can summon up is a grunted "hi" when you see them in the driveway.

(Although with some of the things young men seem to say nowadays, I should probably be grateful. The other day, the girls and I were following a twenty-something man who was driving a truck slowly down one of our city streets; he spied a friend ambling along the sidewalk and shouted out in a friendly voice, "Hey, how are ya, ya big b*st*rd!"

The guy on the sidewalk called back, in an equal amount of bonhomie, "How's it goin', you son of a b*tch!!!!!"

My ears were about to bleed at that point and the girls and I looked at each other, wide-eyed. I took a deep breath and said, "I wonder what Mrs. Gertz or Mrs. Williams would do if I greeted them like that in the parking lot of O'Charley's at the next Moms' Night Out?")

Anyway, back to the neighbors, we were getting out of our car and the father and his younger son were getting out of their car at the same time the other night, so my husband and I exchanged pleasantries with the dad. The son was looking at Meelyn, and as he passed us, he was very obviously preening like a young peacock.

He said hello in a civil manner, accompanied by a nod of the head that was obviously intended to give off great waves of Brad Pitt-like coolness. But as he walked past, I couldn't help but notice that the belt of his jeans was firmly cinched around his upper thighs, leaving his entire backside, neatly covered in a dapper pair of Black Watch tartan boxer shorts, exposed for all the world to see as he swaggered on down the driveway to his front door.

It looked so silly, an incredulous grin broke across my face. WHY do some teenage boys wear their pants like that? Is it supposed to be gangsta? Is it to allow a freer flow of air around the buttocks to eliminate the possibility of chafing? It must be something, but one thing it definitely can't be is comfortable. I mean, really.

You know how you can feel someone looking at you? Well, he felt me looking at him, although I'm sure he was hoping it was Meelyn. He turned his head and gave a glance back over his shoulder that I don't think even Enrique Iglesias could have bettered. Unfortunately, all he saw was middle-aged me, and me with a smirk on my face.

I have never had one of those faces that can stop looking naughty at the proper time. Always, always, I was the kid who stuck my tongue out at my mother just as she turned around and caught me. Or rolled my eyes. Or -- once -- gestured obscenely, and she nearly took my arm off at the shoulder for that one, so I never did it again. So this kid caught me looking like a gargoyle and he immediately whipped his head back around and studiously examined the sidewalk until he got to the front steps of his home, which he went up with alacrity. But not before giving his sagging pants a firm hitch, which didn't work.

I wanted to call helpfully, "Yoo hoo! Young man! I can still see your butt!" But I thought maybe I'd already damaged him enough and it's not nice to toy with people.

Meelyn was oblivious throughout this entire episode, and as we climbed our own steps, she opened the door for me and asked innocently, "So what are you giggling about?"


Jessica Eiden said...

I sometimes feel like I am aging before my time as I find myself wanting to shake my fist in the air and tell the whippersnappers to pull up their pants!

I'm only 27 and cringe at the thought of what the clothing trends will be when my future children are in high school.

This homeschooling thing is sounding better and better...

Shelley said...

By the time yours are in high school, the style pendulum may well have swung back to Amish wear or something. All the teenage boys will be wearing their big straw hats on sideways or something.

It is really a challenge with two teenage girls to keep them looking cute (and modest) without making them look like they're, you know, about my age.