ridge densities, and right- and left-handedness
in pursuit of the holy grail of what makes
us straight or gay. And researchers and
developmental psychologists have realized
that sexual-orientation identity is particularly
varied and fluid for college-age women.
DADDYLO: Maybe it’s too fluid. Maybe it
needs to be more…desiccated.
DRBILLY: It means dried, Leyner. You were
saying something about college-age women?
DADDYLO: I want to know about that
LUG phenomenon, when a woman is a
“lesbian until graduation.”
LEYNER: What I was trying to say before
is that some current studies are showing
that college-age women—even if their sexual
behavior is conventionally heterosexual—are
less constrained and limited in how they
define their sexual identities. That’s the
origin of some of these new categories, like
“mostly straight,” “bi-curious,” “pansexual,”
DRBILLY: Look, the point is, we don’t
know for certain what determines an
individual’s sexual preference. We do have
a fairly certain sense, though, that it’s not
something malleable enough to be altered by a
persuasive partner. Like all human behaviors,
sexuality may be a complex, interrelated
feedback loop of nature and nurture.
DADDYLO: That’s all so fascinating and
totally scientific. But don’t you think all this
media coverage about gay celebrities will
influence young people? What about when
Madonna kissed Britney Spears? You don’t
think that made millions of girls go gay
worldwide?! And that song?
LEYNER: What song?
DADDYLO: That Katy Perry song…“I
Kissed a Girl.” It’s like the national anthem of
girls gone gay.
DRBILLY: Of course entertainers use risqué
material to sell records, but I wouldn’t say that
constitutes any kind of subversive attempt
to convert young people to homosexuality.
Any way, I have a feeling all this girl-on-girl
stuff is expressly designed to appeal to the
prurient nature of men.
DADDYLO: Would you like to kiss
DADDYLO: Do you think watching girls
kiss other girls is hot and…debauched?
LEYNER: F--k yeah!
DADDYLO: Don’t you think it would be
totally hot to watch two girls get completely…
OF COURSE ENTERTAINERS USE RISQUÉ MATERIAL
TO SELL RECORDS, BUT I WOULDN’T SAY THAT
CONSTITUTES ANY KIND OF SUBVERSIVE ATTEMPT
TO CONVERT YOUNG PEOPLE TO HOMOSEXUALITY.
Leyner’s face suddenly became ashen.
“What’s the matter?” I asked.
“Those are all SAT words.”
“Those are the SAT words Gaby has been
studying. She’s up to the D’s.”
DADDYLO: Where’d you guys go? Have
you gone…dormant? I hope I didn’t say
anything too…deprecating…or desultory?
A shudder of horror shook
Leyner’s body. “Oh my God!”
he cried. “The IMs are
coming from inside the house!”
It was a moment of complete
terror, akin to that climactic scene in the
movie When a Stranger Calls.
Leyner dropped his laptop and bolted for
the stairs. I followed close behind.
Both of us expecting the worst, we burst
into Leyner’s daughter’s bedroom. There
was Gaby, convulsed with laughter. She and
two of her hysterically giggling friends were
huddled together around her laptop.
“It was you?!” Leyner exclaimed.
Gaby was barely able to speak, she was
laughing so hard. “You really thought
Lindsay Lohan’s dad was IMing you guys?”
We were both fairly embarrassed.
“I just wanted to, uh, make sure you were
okay?” Leyner said feebly.
“We’re fine,” Gaby said, again bursting
into giggles along with her coconspirators.
“Why’d you do that?” Leyner asked
“We were trying to make a point. The
other day we overheard you and Billy talking
about how much you obsess about raising
daughters in ‘today’s society.’ You guys really
need to chill and trust us a little bit. We’re
not naive. We got this.”
Leyner and I withdrew from the room,
shutting the door behind us.
“Thank God my daughter is just turning
1,” I said as we descended the stairs. “It’ll be
at least another
10 years before she makes me
look like such a…dork.”
THE TEENAGE GOTH/PUNK/HIPPIE/
Is it just a phase? Or do you need to call in reinforcements?
Bizarre clothing, atrocious taste Goths walking around,” says Phase or problem? It’s a phase.
in music, and the cold shoulder Wolf. As long as her new style But if he repeatedly talks about
are all par for the course when doesn’t affect her schoolwork hating school or pretends to
you have a teenager. You may and she’s happy, don’t pick a be sick so he can stay home,
not like it, but these behaviors fight over this. pay attention. It’s possible he’s
are nothing to worry about, being bullied in the halls or via
says child and adolescent the Web, which can cause social
psychologist Anthony E. Wolf, isolation and depression. At this
PhD, author of the best seller point, discuss options with your
Get Out of My Life, but First teen and his school counselor.
Could You Drive Me and Cheryl
to the Mall? “You want your kids
to express their individuality,”
says Wolf, but sometimes rebel
behavior is more than just teen
drama. Here’s how to tell if
it’s just a phase or something
Wardrobe from hell: Suzie’s
lip ring reflects the electric blue
in her Mohawk.
Phase or problem? Relax…this
is just a phase. Teens constantly
adopt new styles to express their
individuality or their mood. “But
you don’t see many 25-year-old
Do not enter: Johnny hides in
his room all day.
Phase or problem? This is
most likely a phase. Although
teenage boys are more prone
to reclusive behavior, this is a
characteristically teen thing
to do. But if his schoolwork
starts slipping or he begins
pulling away from his peers, it
could be a sign of depression.
This is when you call in the
professionals. Your pediatrician
or family doctor can direct you
to someone who works with
On the road: Bobby read
On the Road and wants to drop
out of high school to hop the
Dawson’s Creek: Jill is
sneaking out past curfew.
Phase or problem? Potential
problem. Teens need to explore
the extent of their freedom, but
you have to place some restrictions and improve your parental
surveillance. If lying becomes
common or she is engaging in
risky behavior (e.g., hanging out
with a bad crowd, shoplifting,
or fighting), then a firmer hand
is needed. Let her know this
behavior is unacceptable and
talk about the consequences.