Dear Teenage Boys,
Thanks so much to that mom for posting that kindly “open-minded” letter “encouraging” teenage girls not to post photos of themselves in provocative positions. I figured since Mrs. Hall singled out a whole gender of teenagers, making assumptions about their behavior and what it means, that I should do the same. After all, who hasn’t seen a selfie of a teenage boy with his jeans slung so low they barely reach his knees and wanted to comment, “I see London, I see France, I’m tired of seeing your underpants?”
So teenage boys, there are a few things I thought you should know about how you’re perceived from your Facebook posts, Instagram photos, Vine videos and overall demeanor. Because if there’s one thing I know about teenage boys, it’s that they really care what grown-ups think. Especially ones like Mrs. Hall and me, whom they’ve actually never met.
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You are not a “Gangsta.” I’m sorry, I know. You’ve worked so hard on that strut and you saved up eight weeks of paper route money for those perfect kicks. But when we look at you and your “boyz” on Instagram, all we see is a group of kids who still go to sleep at 8:30. So if you want to impress the ladies, stop calling them “bitches” and stop saying you voted for Jay-Z for President. You’re not old enough to vote, yo!
Those aren’t abs, put your shirt on. If Justin Bieber’s your role model, you’ve got some serious problems. So when you “flex” on camera, all we see is a sick child. My 2-year-old daughter has better abs than most teenage boys and she still drinks whole milk. So keep your shirt on boys, unless you want us to call your pediatrician and ask if you’re OK.
Part of a teenager’s job is to make a total jackhole of himself publicly.
No photos of your tongue in between your fingers! Hey Playa, your mom is your Facebook friend and your rabbi follows you on Instagram. So cool it with the dirty poses with the caption, “Tap Dat!” That doesn’t make us think you’re a sexual Lothario, it makes us think you can’t spell. You have a lifetime to prove to the world you’re the next George Clooney, so put your tongue away, Gene Simmons. It’s creeping us out!
That’s not pot you’re smoking, it’s cilantro! It may seem super cool to post photos of you and your buddies “smoking out,” but it’s not. Because when you apply to college or God forbid—for a job—you’re going to find that that picture says a thousand words and none of them are “you’re hired.” Plus that’s not a blunt you’re smoking. It’s cilantro. Put down the pipe, Escobar; someday you’re going to want to go to college or make your own money.
And last but not least, ignore everything you’ve just read. Well, almost everything you’ve just read. Part of a teenager’s job is to make a total jackhole of himself publicly. And your generation, with its YouTube videos and instant messages, is doing an amazing job of making an ass of itself. So keep on doing that. That’s how you learn and how you have fun.
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The part you shouldn’t ignore is the part where I tell you to think about how what you’re posting could affect the rest of your life. You may think it’s cool to post a photo of you doing illegal drugs, but they’re called illegal for a reason. And just know that some people don’t want to let Justin Bieber, or a teenager trying to be like him, into Harvard, or State College Wherever. What you do now could impact your life forever. And the photos you post could, too. So how about you make a rule: Don’t post it if you don’t want your mom to see it. Or, Mrs. Hall, who is clearly spending way too much time looking at selfies.
A Future Teenage Boy’s Mom