Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Think you know everything? You obviously don't have a Teen.

I am 37 years old. Which, according to my 15-year old daughter, means that I ought to be shopping for coffins instead of hip new sunglasses. Since my impending death from old age will obviously strike any day now, I figured we should spend more time communicating with each other. Which is really hard to do because (1) I don't text nearly as fast as she does, and (2) I have no idea what she's saying.

It is at these moments, when Teen Speak has my head spinning like that creepy girl from The Exorcist, that she slows to Mom Speed and breaks it down. (Okay. I admit: she would never actually use the phrase "break it down." That was 100% me.)

Last night we talked about boys.

When I was going to school we would go out with different boys. Well, other girls would. I didn't. Because none of the boys wanted to go out with me. They actually preferred to go out with my beautiful, older, richly tanned sister - but, hey! I'm not bitter. If you were going out for a substantial period of time you automatically morphed into boyfriend/girlfriend status. Then you went to college, realized the planet was much bigger than your rural high school and broke up.

But today's teens.... well.... you're gonna need a flow chart.

(1) The Cool Stage.
As in, "Oh, that's Bob. We're cool."

When you are cool it is acceptable to approach that person in public. You can acknowledge them in class. You can even say hi when they're standing around with their friends - but quickly. Then you walk on. Because you're only cool.

(2) The Talk Stage.
As in, "Oh, that's Bob. We talk."

This means you can send and receive texts to each other. You can also speak in public. Like in math class. When you're actually supposed to be listening to the teacher explain that using the slope-intercept form of a line helps in finding the slope of a line from an equation and the intercept directly from the equation. This is great because it shows how to graph a line using y=mx+b and can be quite useful for applications of linear equations.

You can even talk on the phone late into the night about whatever your heart desires. But that is all. You can only talk. You are not exclusive and you are not expected to save yourself for each other.

I liken this to my old fashioned idea of "he is a friend of mine." But that was like 150 years ago.

(3) The Thing Stage.
As in, "Oh, Bob and I have a thing."

You do all of the things Stage 1 and Stage 2 provide, but now you can make out. With each other. You can make out with other people but then you're a slut (girl) or a douche (boy). Also, if your good friend knows you have a thing with a boy and she moves in for the kill, you can hate her.

(4) The Facebook Official Stage.
As in, "Oh, this is Bob. We're Facebook Official."

You can do all the things in the previous three steps, plus now you get to change your Facebook Status to "in a relationship." And you get to boss them around and say things like, "I already told you I have to go to my dad's this weekend so you're going to have to take me out Friday night instead of hanging with your friends." And also, "My prom dress is not Cornflower Blue; it's Brandeis Blue. So you're just going to have to change that cummerbund."

* It is super, duper important that you never prematurely status a relationship on Facebook. If you have a thing you cannot, should not, better not change your Facebook Status. That is called social suicide and you can be shunned for years. Also, it is always best to have the boy instigate the Facebook Status change so you never accidently commit social suicide. See, boys can be slippery and want to be Facebook Official on Friday, but then come Monday morning change their mind and suddenly you're eating your lunch by yourself in the hall by the Ag Room because you changed your status too quick. Also, also - if the boy says you're Facebook Official but three months go by and there's no actual status change, you can bet he has another girl two school districts away and you need to let that boy go.

By the way, I think it's important for me to announce that for my entire life I thought it was "cumberbun." Well, I mean, I've thought that since I first learned what one was. Obviously not when I was like two. Or six. Or probably not even when I was twelve.  Yet when searching for the correct spelling I was surprised to find this:  "A cummerbund (sometimes mistakenly spelled cumberbund) is a broad waist sash, usually pleated, which is often worn with single-breasted dinner jackets (or tuxedos)."

I consider it a success when communicating with my teen lends knowledge to mankind. And to me, specifically.


Rebecca said...

Ah, thanks for the education. Now that the kid's going to be getting into jr. high next year, I need to be well versed in relationship-speak. Especially after the talk we had on the way to karate...gulp.

Becca said...

You know what's easier to spell than cumber-whatever? Vest.

And thank you for the information. Am I the only one who is glad I didn't have Facebook until I was in my late twenties? The things I would have said as a teenager... shudder.

Getrealmommy said...

OMG-you ARE old. I don't turn 37 until August.

Tina, said...

Remember it was Bob Dylan who said "Never trust anyone over 30". That leaves me as un-trustworthy as well.

I had to learn these stages about two years ago. Only as I understand it, here in TX, you are allowed to text; but not allowed to talk on the phone until you are Facebook Official.

The Boy has been Facebook Official for two months now.

eatdurham said...

Facebook official! I always thought that facebook relationship statuses would probably just create another mechanism of torture for kids in high school. I recommend no facebook relationship statuses ever for anyone under the age of 18.

lunchat1130 said...

woohooo boy. this was so good i had to tweet it. man i'm glad texting & facebook didn't exist when i was a kid/teen. i was such a dork.