The clothes make the teen (man)
Apparently, one has moved on to a taste for preppy classics: neat sweaters (to my relief) and strangely, argyle socks. The other? Along with hipster humor (which required illustrated explanation), there appeared an oversize hat, dangling earphones around the neck, and more or less – anything for a laugh.
And still, for both my sons, whatever is graspable from the heap known as clean laundry.
The clothes make the man, as they say. And when it comes to teenagers, the “men” themselves are clearly still in the making.
I do not profess to understand much about my sons these days. Not the ins and outs of changing interests, the extraordinary speed with which a new musical group is lauded, lingo I cannot begin to comprehend, and certainly not the whereabouts of emotions I once recognized which now seem tucked behind some untouchable screen. And transformed.
Both boys are generally cool under fire, cagey and mocking, funny and occasionally defiant, courteous and increasingly alien. As for the feelings and expressions I could once read like the back of my hand – where did they go, and when might they be back?
Socks and Hats
The socks crack me up, and certainly make for expressions of subtle sartorial splendor. There have been discussions of tube socks, athletic socks, ankle socks, how I always buy the wrong socks, along with disappearing shirts and the latest in nifty new ties. There’s a woolen hat with eyes and ears, another one that pulls down almost to the nose, to which (chuckling) I say: no comment, and no comment.
Comedic flair? We’re there.
I don’t understand men
Last evening a friend mentions he’s going to watch “man movies” and I think I know what that is but I’m not sure, as I live in a land of French films, indie films, and the ever engaging chick flick.
Martial arts? Booty calls? And yes, the answer I get involves a manly mix of explosions, car chases, and hot women. Very Bond. James Bond.
Last evening, hungrily, I consume something more to my liking – the first episode of this season’s Californication. What can I say? David Duchovny is a delight as Hank Moody. The Bad Boy-Good Guy – appealing, appalling, talented, tawdry – the quintessential cocktail of character contradictions, with that touch of vulnerability that brings many a woman to her knees.
And I tell myself as I shake my head: I don’t understand men.
Californication over, I am basking in a brief moment to read (an actual book), as one lanky teen breaks into my bubble and tells me he’s headed off into the night as snow blankets the city. I get the other on the phone, already frolicking with friends (and my car), elsewhere in town.
And thus, the fight ensues.
It is yours truly – engaged in voice raising (not my usual), irritation at the hour (with good reason), and the determined duo gangs up on me. One stands at my side staring like I’m nuts because I don’t want them wandering the streets in the middle of the night. The other is nonplussed, working his winning ways with me by cell phone. He returns home a half hour later with my car, then takes off with his brother on foot. They exit grinning – woolen hats on, scarves at the ready, and no doubt, argyle socks underneath it all.
Boys to Men
Yes, I agreed to their departure last evening (they are yet to show their faces, but I know where they spent the night).
More accurately, I caved out of fatigue. They repeat, with growing frequency, that they aren’t kids any longer, and I’m well aware, while recognizing plentiful behaviors that offer evidence to the contrary.
Frankly – they don’t get it. Likewise, I don’t get it. So I relent in particular when they team up, knowing I can no more walk in their shoes than they can in mine. As boys turn into men, my boys – I am reminded that this is exactly what I hoped for. Independence. Playfulness. Maturing, and enjoying their moments.
If only it didn’t leave a kind of ache, and one that – for so many reasons – I cannot begin to articulate.
© D A Wolf