Dear Seventeen-Year-Old Boys

9 Nov

Dear Seventeen-Year-Old Boys,

Okay, well, the truth is, once upon a time, I spent a lot of time with you. In the hallways, sitting next to you in class, getting burgers at Dick’s (oh my god, please click on this link, the website has music and everything)…let’s stop here for a minute and talk about Dick’s. It’s a detour, but like Dick’s itself, it’ll be worth the extra five minutes.

Dick's Drive In

I can't really explain this picture. It was a theme party, then I was cold, there was a kimono? in my I said, I can't explain.

It’s a local Seattle drive-in serving burgers, fries, shakes, ice cream– no substitutions, no special orders (unless you order the special, har har). And it’s glorious. You can get an ice cream cone for under a dollar. Burgers cost $1.20. Meat is fresh and never frozen, shakes are individually pulled out of the freezer and whipped as they are ordered, fries…oh the fries! You park along the edge of the outdoor order counter, and depending on the weather, you eat just as you step out of line or you crawl into the toasty warmth of your car and people watch through the windows. Make sure the glass is rolled up or keep the comments to a low volume…or not, as the case may be. In high school we used to all jam ourselves into cars and “meet at Dick’s.” Seriously. Even in the 2000’s, it was our version of a soda shoppe. It’s probably a good thing they put bathrooms in though, given the number of times the boys disappeared behind the building to pee. Here’s the thing: Dick’s is open from 10:30 am – 2:00 am seven days a week. I cannot fully express the glory of this. And there was always the chance that if you were, say, seventeen, and with your girlfriends, and trying very hard to run into somebody, it could happen. At Dick’s.

Ahem. At any rate, not that I ever had any particular insight into the minds of you, you seventeen-year-old boys, but I did at one point spend half my waking hours with you. And at the time, and again now looking back, I want to say that you are not all that different from seventeen-year-old girls. You are simultaneously insecure and over-confident, you are confused and very, very sure that you understand things no adult does. You desperately want to be liked while acting like you couldn’t care less. You are worried about what happens after high school….or, I suppose, frantic to get out of that hell-hole of torture. You are pushing boundaries (your own, your parents, the school’s, the city’s/town’s/state’s/law’s), and a little bit shocked when it works. Then really righteously indignant when you get caught.

Or– OR!!!– you are miles away from seventeen-year-old girls. There are oceans, mountains, valleys of impenetrable desert between you and your female counterparts. This might as well be Lawrence of Arabia, the distance is so epic. And not in a yin and yang sort of way, either. Not in a North Pole / South Pole way. Those are both cold and have ice. Honestly, I’m willing to bet Mars and Venus are too similar as well for this comparison. Maybe in a rare steak and chocolate chip cookie way. Except those are both foods…

Or maybe it’s a “so far West it’s East” thing. If one goes far enough around, as far as it’s possible to go, one ends up back at the start. Maybe seventeen-year-old boys and girls are so different they are actually the same. Maybe that’s it.

Hell, I don’t know. I don’t know your life. I understand that there is a whole variety of you out there, and you are individuals, and all of you want and push and pull in different ways.

Let me tell you, though, there is nothing more appealing to a seventeen-year-old girl than driving around in a car with a boy, windows down, music up, whether you are on the way to somewhere or just killing time. Offer to stop at Dick’s for an ice cream cone and she’ll smile.

The point of this letter, though, is to ask for information. I’m doing this thing where I pretend to be a writer, see, and that involves, sometimes, trying to capture the voice of people who are not me. Alas, I am not nor ever was a seventeen-year-old boy. (Secretly, I’m grateful.)

So if you were, or even if you weren’t, but you have something insightful / hilarious to say, please let me know. Top three things a seventeen-year-old boy wants? (Once we get past sex, that is.) Top three things he’s scared of? How much you miss Dick’s? How you went there yesterday (don’t tell me that…)? How to get inside a seventeen-year-old boy’s head?

I’m sure you’re right, I’m sure I don’t really want to know. But call it in the name of science, or art, or just sheer morbid curiosity– help a twenty-something girl out and take her deep into the abyss.




3 Responses to “Dear Seventeen-Year-Old Boys”

  1. kristendoc 9 November 2009 at 10:05 am #

    It’s lunchtime, and I’m hungry…..

    Ouch. I’m feeling some cross-country pain right now. Can we go there over Thanksgiving? K, thanks.

  2. margaret michelle 9 November 2009 at 10:06 am #

    oh yes. that is happening. that is definitely happening.

  3. skhor 9 November 2009 at 10:35 am #

    Picture, duh, its your at dicks. last time i had dicks….4 weeks ago? 😦

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