So a funny thing happened on my way to adulthood….
I was a prude as a kid. Not sure why. I just was. The idea of other teens having sex and getting drunk and things was just…no. Only stupid people do that. Stupid people also cared about clothes, had emotions, celebrated monthly “anniversaries” with their significant others, wore makeup to school, spent more than about 30 seconds on their hair….Yeah.
My parents, understandably, did their best to combat this. My mom tried to steer me towards flattering clothing. And she spent quite a lot of time explaining how social dynamics work and how it might be a good plan to try to fit in just a little bit for the purpose of acquiring friends, even if fitting in was stupid.
And my mom told showed me Grease and, when I was upset by the ending, she pointed out that Sandra had made a decision to do what was needed to get what she wanted, and that high school is a time for “experimenting with different personalities.”
And when I came to my dad in great distress and told him that some other teens were smoking pot, he shrugged and said that it mostly makes you hungry. (Come to think of it, I should ask about when he acquired that knowledge. I don’t think I ever have.)
And so on. Given how uptight I was, it was probably very sensible to downplay that sort of thing.
Then I went to college. And at college I discovered the internet properly, especially the fact that online forums don’t require mysterious social skills that I did not possess, and therefore allowed me to start overcoming the social anxiety and start making friends.
And having discovered that it was actually kinda nice to have friends (who would’ve thought it?) I tried making friends with my housemates. And to my surprise, that was fun too.
The problem, of course, was that now I had all these friends, and a background of parental encouragement of social experimentation. (I also knew that I’d be moving home and getting married after college, so if I wanted to try anything this was the time to do it.)
Parenting. Darned if you do, darned if you don’t.
I actually didn’t experiment that much. I wore short skirts a couple times, but it was mostly just with girls anyway. (Admittedly most of them weren’t straight, but they knew I was.) I rarely had more than one drink at a sitting. I did have more on occasion, but never enough to have a hangover the next morning. I didn’t try smoking pot, mostly because one of the other girls insisted it didn’t work on her and nixed the suggestion whenever it was offered. (It has only recently occurred to me that she may have made that up to cover some other qualm about getting high. I don’t know.)
(I’m rather hoping they legalize marijuana at some point. I’m curious to try it.)
And when mom recently commented on how I would have been willing to try pot, and I pointed out that she had said that adolescence was for experimentation, she laughed and said she took it back. Kids are funny that way.