The Great Mystery of Teenage Boys
It was some years ago that an adolescent Sister Madly attended the youth group at a local church. Wednesday night ice breakers in this particular denomination ranged from TP-ing the pastor‘s house to passing a marshmallow around the room, using only the toothpicks clenched between their teeth. Perhaps it was that last one that inspired their youth leader to make certain they were all familiar with the Facts of Life.
And in order to allow for brutally honest discussions, the boys were to be separated from the girls.
Now Sister Madly, along with the rest of the girls, already knew about the Facts of Life; what they really wanted to know was the secret workings of teenage boys from the viewpoint of teenage boys. They wanted to know what boys talked about when not in mixed company, other than their tendency to belch a little more enthusiastically than appreciated.
So what better way to accomplish this than with a secret recording?
Not only did Sister Madly have a tape recorder, she had a wicked deploy, simultaneously pushing record and play like a warrior queen. Someone else would have to supply the cassette, however, as Sister Madly used those to secretly record – heaven forbid – rock music off the radio and was in short supply. She was quite fond of power ballads at the time.
It didn’t take much stealth that night to find that the girls would be meeting in the church office while the boys met in the kitchen- which was so unfair, because the kitchen was notoriously stocked with a variety of treats. It was also unfortunate, as the most convenient place to hide a recorder of that size was on top of the refrigerator under a bag of candy – Dum Dums, come to think of it.*
*Who knew that this particular candy would one day figure so largely in her life?
The next 45 minutes were the longest any of the girls had ever endured. Sister Madly all but devoured the curtains waiting for the moment the tape recorder would give itself away upon reaching the end of the cassette. Fortunately, their apparent lack of cool was attributed to the girls reluctance to talk about the Facts of Life, as was the speed with which they made their getaway at the end of the hour, cramming into that rusty heap of a hatchback. Actually, that last one probably raised some questions…
And just what do teenage boys talk about when uninhibited by their coeds?
Why, they talk about the Pope’s Mitre, of course! Yes, Coming of Age boys will develop an unholy fascination for Papal Couture. Before long, they will be singing hymns and bathing in the baptistery while trippin’ out on communion wafers. If parents don’t talk to their children about the Pope’s Mitre, who will?
That would be Kevin, of all people: inexperienced at basically all that life had to offer, 22-year-old Kevin was the last person the girls wanted leading a frank discussion on the secret workings of boys. Sister Madly found the man, if he could be called such, as annoying as a smoke detector in hell.
But even worse was the fact that every word on that tape after the Great Mitre Debate turned out to be completely unintelligible, from Kevin’s incessant droning to the boys’ refusal to articulate. They might as well have been speaking with a mouthful of marbles. Sister Madly couldn’t have gained more insight on boys if she had spent the evening cooing at the moon.
This indecipherable droning was interrupted by the sudden, soul-sucking cacophony of plastic, indicating that a disembodied hand was fingering its way into the bag of Dum Dums. It was a moment of major suspense for the girls, waiting for some indication that their crime had been discovered; the retrieval of the recorder and subsequent escape had been accomplished with ninja-like precision, with no one sticking around to find out if they were actually in trouble.
Their patience was soon rewarded, as a few moments later the refrigerator kicked on, serenading them with a 15 minute duet of appliance humming and plastic rattling- which, admittedly, was more entertaining than Kevin.
That is where the tape ended.
Based upon the evidence, Sister Madly was able to conclude that raging hormones of teenage boys lead to meaningful discussions about Vatican Fashion over fistfuls of Lollipop Treats.
And there you have it: the answer to the Great Mystery of Teenage Boys. So, so disappointing.
Now, who wants to talk about soybeans?
THEME SONG: Forever Young, Alphaville