I had all but given up on last week’s Turn-a-trope Tuesday; in fact, I actually commented and said I was giving up. But it kept stewing and bubbling and I finally ended up with this. I think the reason it was so hard was the subject matter. I believe this particular trope says loads about our society and constantly reinforces bad behavior and ideas that need a rest already.
When I first started thinking of a story for how a man just isn’t a man if he’s a virgin and turning it on his head, I couldn’t make anything fit and found myself angry most of the time just thinking about it. I realized I was trying to fictionalize something that hit too close to home and in cases like that, it’s probably best to write what you know. The story Cody tells in his letter is one that actually happened to my daughter a few months ago and she really did tell the guy off. I’m so incredibly proud of her and want to dedicate this to her. I love you baby girl!
This is slightly short, coming in at 911 words. Oh, and for those of you that don’t like the swear words, this one has some.
A Boy or a Man
Cody Jacobs graduated from Jordan High School this year as their Valedictorian, Senior Class President and Captain of their Varsity football team. We were turned onto a copy of this letter that he posted on the schools’ Facebook page shortly after graduation, only to have it removed a few hours later along with the comments. Before it was removed, it received over 1,000 hits and the comments were both positive and negative. We thought it was worth sharing.
I am a graduating senior this year and I wanted to speak to everyone, but in particular, I am speaking to high school boys, boys who think they are old enough to be called men, boys who think it makes them a man to disrespect women, boys who think it makes them a man to have sex, even though they don’t have one clue about the realities or consequences that sexual experience brings.
I have been plagued for the last four years by boys who called themselves my friends about my decision to not have sex. Not that it’s anyone’s business, but this wasn’t a one-time decision. This is a decision I make consciously every single day and I can tell you, I haven’t yet come across a moment where I felt it was time to take that leap. I haven’t been ready. How can any of us consider ourselves ready?
Because, for me, being ready means I am ready to be a father, just in case there’s an accident, which happens more than you realize, in case you were wondering.
It means I’m ready to take tests and be prepared for a positive on a sexually transmitted disease.
It means I know how to make the experience about not just myself, but also the woman I choose to share it with. It means I know what it takes to please her and I will find joy in her pleasure as much as my own.
There are so many things that being ready to have sex means, but the one thing it doesn’t mean is that now I’m finally a man. A man is someone who makes this all-important decision carefully, using the correct head, the one above his waistline.
I’m going to tell you a story about a typical stroll in the hallway after class. Not only did this actually happen to my girlfriend and her best friend, but the way it somehow got turned on me and how much of a man I was or wasn’t is despicable. I ended up losing a friend that day because I choose to surround myself with people who see me; who see my girlfriend and don’t just think “take care of your woman” or something equally offensive.
We were all milling about in the hallway, the last bell still echoing above the din of chatter and abrupt laughter when my friend Isaac said, “Carrie, you are looking mighty fine today! Do a spin so I can check out that beautiful ass.”
My girlfriend, Ariana, and I were talking but she glanced up when she heard Issac.
“Hey, asshole! You think it’s okay to disrespect women?”
Isaac laughed. “Cody, keep your girl in line, dude. I thought you were a man.”
Ariana calmly walked up to Isaac and got in his face, close enough to make it really uncomfortable for both of them.
“Okay, Fucker. If you really consider yourself my friend and his,” she said, pointing at me, “you will apologize to Carrie right now.”
“Geez, Ariana, chill. I was just joking.”
“Joking? Have some respect. Didn’t your Mama raise you any better?”
“I said chill! No need to bring Mom’s into this.” He tried to take a step back, but she took a step forward, dogging him.
“Carrie is not an object. I am not an object to you or Cody. Now, apologize, or get the fuck out of my circle.” With each sentence she rammed her finger into his chest, driving her point home.
“God, fine! Carrie, I apologize from the bottom of my heart.” He made a big show of bowing and fluttering his eyes, far from sincere. She asked him to apologize and he did. She couldn’t make him actually mean it.
“Gee, thanks.” Carrie just rolled her eyes and walked away.
Isaac didn’t bother to speak to any of us after that and I think we were all better off for it, although it sucks in a lot of ways. Not that this is atypical. It isn’t. This type of thing happened almost daily in the hallways and somehow, because Ariana chose to stand up for her friend, I was called less of a man and told I wasn’t keeping her in line.
Being Ariana’s boyfriend isn’t about control or sex or being a man. It’s about many things, but never that. I love Ariana. I respect her for her strength, for her willingness to stand up for something she believes is wrong even though it turns the negative attention our way.
I don’t need to prove that I’m a man, to you, to my girlfriend, to anyone. All I want is to impart the lessons I learned along the way and hope they reach the thick meaty skulls they are intended for. I’m honestly happy to be leaving this place, to move on to bigger and better things. I only hope college is different, although somehow I think it might be worse and that just makes me sad.