I ran into a girl my son went to primary school with yesterday. A 13 year old girl up at the shops at 8PM dressed up like an 18 year old. Hanging out with a group of boys who actually were 17 or 18. I am sorry to say I know one of them quite well. It is a fairly safe bet that he will not be a future captain of industry. She was embarrassed to see me because she was smoking, but more than that and I apologise for being slightly crude here, but the phrase I’m about to use is the only one that fits, her tits were hanging out.
She had on an extremely low cut top and what looked like a push up bra. She was also wearing a come hither look which I think she thought made her look alluring and wordly, but actually succeeded in making her look younger than she is. The whole thing was quite distasteful to me and could have been a scene plucked from Nabokov’s Lolita.
I’m not naive. I know what goes on with many young girls when they are barely into their teens, but she was quite blatantly putting it about a bit (as my Aunt Jo used to say) and it freaked me out because she is only thirteen years old and no matter how cool and with it she thinks she is, she really has no idea what she’s doing.
Or what could happen as a result of what she’s doing.
Where have we missed the bit where we teach our young women pride in themselves and in their bodies and arm them with the self-assurance that they don’t need to create an illusion of heightened sexuality in order to attract a young man? And that it’s really not a good thing to engage in sexually suggestive behaviour at too young an age?
This particular girl was a good friend of Nick’s for many years. She giggled a lot and liked unicorns. That’s what I remember most about her. She sparkled.
But when I saw her at the shops the sparkles were gone.
It upset me quite a lot and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about her. She was such a cute little girl. So cute. And now she’s hanging out with boys who are too old for her and will more than likely pressure her into having sex too soon because they really, really love her.
And she will believe them.
If I had any advice at all to give to a young woman dealing with her burgeoning adolescence it would be this – give it time. You have all the time in the world to factor sex into the equation.
I wish I could have told her that she is worth so much more than hanging out on corners with bad boys. I wish I could have told her that the girl who loved unicorns is still in there somewhere.
But she looked at me, took a drag on her cigarette, blowing the smoke in my direction; and I knew she wasn’t interested in anything I had to say.
Sometimes I wish I walked with blinkers on.