Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Nice way to derail your future, bro

Every few months, whether we need it or not, it seems that there’s some teenager putting a stake in the heart of his or her future by doing something truly dreadful. Something truly dreadful that generally involves sex.

Last week’s sordid story comes out of one of the most prestigious prep schools in the country, St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire. SPS has been around since 1856, and is 100% residential. None of those down-market day-duckers mucking things up and detracting from the 24/7 SPS experience.

Anyway, the story currently making the news rounds involves a senior male who, on the eve of his graduation, has been arrested for sexually assaulted a 15 year old female sophomore. Allegedly, he was playing a game with a group of classmates in which they were trying to “hook up” with as many girls as possible before the school year ended.

The student who’s been charged must have been falling behind in the head (ahem) count, and resorted to force. As of this writing, this is not something that any of the other play-ahs resorted to. So far.

I’m not going to name names here. Google St. Paul’s School and one or two other words and you’ll find it. But what this guy’s name is doesn’t really matter all that much. What matters is that, again and again, we hear too much of this and variation on a theme stories. This one involved e-mailing a girl, inviting her to a off-limits rendezvous spot, and sexual assault. No gang-bangs, no roofies, no drugs and alcohol, no Instagram, no FB bragging. Just good old-fashioned sexual assault.

It will come as no surprise that the accused student is an athlete. Something about that culture seems to bring out the worst in some young men, that’s for sure. And I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that he had been accepted to Harvard.

But I am shocked that someone bright enough to get into Harvard – even, as is likely, via the affirmative action for privileged white athletic male route – was stupid enough to jeopardize his future to notch a meaningless sexual encounter.

Is he a sociopath? An arrogant punk? An entitled POS? All of the above?

I suspect that, whether he ends up in jail or this all gets lost in some he-say-she-say persiflage (or, as is unlikely based on what’s come out so far, that this is a boyfriend-girlfriend gone wrong thing), he’s probably kissing Harvard good-bye. They’ve got a character clause in that acceptance letter, thank you.

I know that at 18, an awful lot of boys are doing a lot of thinking with their little head. Still, you’d think these high-prestige schools – especially those that are 100% residential and, thus, have so much responsibility to and for their students; or is in loco parentis just plain out of date and quaint  – would get better at instilling in its charges (as their parents apparently haven’t) that this behavior is god-awful. And if the moral appeal fails, and if the Golden Rule derivative: what if it’s your sister/niece/friend doesn’t work, you’d think that they’d parade out the object lessons on what can happen if you engage in this sort of behavior.

I.e., you probably don’t get to go to Harvard. You probably don’t get the  posh internships you’d hoped for.Your fancy-ass network probably turns its back on you. A woman you really want to go out with may think twice, but that will be thinking twice before rejecting your request for a date.  Etc.

And while they’re at it, why not drum into the heads of their female students that, if a boy who has never spoken with you, nodded at you in quad, sat with you in the dining hall, shared a snide observation about a teacher, smiled at you at a game, told one of your friends he thought you were cute, retweeted your droll tweet, or done anything that leads you to believe he has some true interest in you, you’d be better off deleting an e-mail invitation to meet in a remote, off-limits place where it will be just him and you. On second thought, you might not want to accept that invitation even if you do have one or two checkboxes regarding his interest in you.

Maybe there’s no such thing as an Archie and Veronica date – two straws in the malted – anymore, but, for all their knowingness and sophistication, today’s girls would do well to heed an occasional warning from on of us dried-up old prunes.

But, if you do accept that e-mail invitation – after all, it’s a senior jock and he’s asked you – I am not blaming you, honey. You ARE the victim here.

Wonder what this young fellow’s parents are thinking just about now.

Wonder if they’re ashamed, sick at heart, aching for the young girl, and angry with their son.

Wonder if they’re focusing that anger on the girl. (Slut. Tease. We all know the drill.)

And wonder what’s going on in the mind of this young man these days.

Is it shame? Is it anger at the girl for (at least in his mind) leading him on, for lying after the fact, for telling?

Is he thinking he did something wrong? Or that he’s the victim here?

Or is the realization seeping in that he screwed up big time, and is probably not going to be living the life, or having the career, that he envisioned when he got into SPS, when he got the thick envelope from Harvard giving him the good t news?

Although it wasn’t part of my playbook, I’m quite sure that meaningless sex can be fun and entertaining. But that would be only when it’s consensual.

Suckering in a younger girl so you could score some points in a sex game with your bros. Well, that takes meaningless to a new low.

But this guy’s fellow gamers will be distancing themselves from him faster than you scan yell “Score.”

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