Thanks to an excellent catch by a vigilant reader, this Wall Street Journal article was brought to my attention. It's by some dude named Jeff Zaslow. He is completely unfamiliar to me. But, the article is about how the kids aren't alright. And, if you were writing a column from that retarded point of view, who would you ask for advice?
Oh God. Why won't she go away.
Yes, we have a Laura Sessions Stepp sighting! Huzzah!
So, this Zaslow column is about his daughter getting invited to homecoming by a boy. They dress up, buy flowers, do all the stupid high school shit, and then never go to the actual dance. They just hang out on their own. This is the end of civilization to Zaslow. Why, back in his day, dating meant something! You had to ask a girl on Wednesday for a Saturday date! There was none of this text messaging tomfoolery.
Honestly, reading this, you expect Zaslow to be upset that the children no longer wear onions on their belt (as was the style of his time).
And in case you're too lazy to click on the WSJ link and you think I'm being over-the-top:
Obviously, boys no longer have to call girls on Wednesday for a Saturday date. Now, college boys seeking weekend hookups send girls "U busy?" text messages at 2 or 3 a.m., and girls routinely rouse themselves and go, according to Ms. Stepp's research. Many girls spend the next day clutching their cellphones, waiting in vain for the boy to call.
These girls need to get a different hobby.
I am pissed that Zaslow didn't put the word "research" in scare quotes. Following, like, seven ludicrously wealthy women (and one token poor high school student being statutorily raped by a Metro bus driver) is not research. Those are anecdotes. Anecdotes from the coddled and immature. Anecdotes from daughters whose mothers don't let their children hang out with black kids (and this is presented as good parenting!) and who buy their daughters trips to the Bahamas when they've had a rough semester because that frat boy didn't call back.
Honestly, why is Laura Sessions Stepp considered an expert on the subject of teenage sexuality? A piece she edited won a Pulitzer. Fine. But that was a piece on textiles for Christ's sake. Since then she's been cruising on that stupid award and writing about something that she doesn't have any fucking experience in. Well, other than following around her small self-selected sample of desperate young adults who need men to justify their existence.
God damn it. If I had the time I would find eight happy well-adjusted high school and college students and follow them around for a few months. Then I would be outraged when I didn't get my book deal.
The column has some other gems. The conclusion is fantastic.
As the father of three daughters, I wish that more parents of sons would talk to their boys about being respectful, and about the thrill that can come from holding hands. Those of us with daughters need to tell them that empowerment is less about sexual freedom and more about recognizing their true feelings.
The "thrill that can come from holding hands"? Jesus Christ.
It is too bad that my daughter and her friends didn't demand that the boys take them to homecoming. Yes, they risked being dumped for easier girls. But maybe the boys would have gotten the message and, as promised, graciously escorted their dates to the dance.
I'm pretty far separated from days as a 16-year-old high school student. Well, I do remember not getting any. So if I had to choose between holding hands and the "easier girls," then, no, I wouldn't have gotten that message.
Another thing I remember about homecoming dances was that I never attended one. Not because I was trying to get into some girl's pants in a dark basement, but because, in the words of the reader who e-mailed me this article, homecoming is "a bullshit WASPy ritual of jocks, popularity, and getting laid in the car afterward, that requires a lot of money be spent on tickets, clothes, and dinner."
This is the tradition that "concerned parents" like Zaslow and LSS want to save? Hey, I get it that Zaslow's daughter was pissed that she was invited to homecoming and never went to the dance. That's a legitimate beef. But to equate that with the Great Hooking-Up Epidemic is beyond a stretch. Using LSS as intellectual backup is where the fabric starts to rip.
Of course, if Zaslow's daughter had too much to drink and got "gray raped" in this boy's basement, perhaps he wouldn't be so quick to call up Stepp for advice.
Let this be a warning to writers! If you use Laura Sessions Stepp as a way to advance some theory or observation you have, then your theory or observation is hopelessly wrong. And my readers will find you.