I asked some folks to help me come up with some concrete examples of how women’s lives are different than men’s and JR and the Shill got back to me before I started this post.
The Shill starts off with the broad stuff (ha, nice pun. This is all broad stuff!):
Men are never asked to think about balancing a career and family
Men are not constantly being told what their actions mean (when you decide to get married vs stay single, keep your name or change it, have a baby or not, etc etc etc) and how they feel about them. Constantly being told that (from the fucking media, your friends, your family, TV — whatever!) takes its toll. Men just don’t think about the same things we do — and they are not made to feel bad about not being able to do everything (see domestic porn like Martha Stewart Living, Real Simple, etc).
This is harder than I thought — I’m going to think on it some more. It’s all very wishy-washy and I know you’re looking for concrete examples.
Perhaps for another post: we’re also struggling with what it means to be a man — and right now we don’t know. We’ve done a very poor job shifting from provider to partner and while I want a partner, I also want a man — not some masculine girl (and I use girl deliberately here).
JR has good concrete ways she sees her life being different from Elias’s and other men’s:
well, i do walk around with a key in between my knuckles in case anyone tries any funny business and i have to jab out their eye.
and, when i was in college they outfitted all the girls with whistle key chains, and i remember through a series of events one night when i was waiting for the bus and i didn’t have my keys and felt totally vulnerable.
and, when down the street in college there were a series of rapes – males raping women, big shock – and i had to walk to the library every night – keys poised.
also, there was a man in my neighborhood recently torturing and sexually assaulting women (sometimes during the day), 7 or 8 in total, including one he kidnapped, raped, and beat to a bloody pulp. elias had to walk me to yoga 2 blocks away during those few weeks – he walked home alone, i did not.
men don’t know when to say when in yoga class. i always get nervous when men are in the class, because they think they can do everything…IT’S NOT COMPETITIVE but they find a way to make it competitive.
okay – not all of them, but a lot of them.
Here are the ones I came up with right off the top of my head:
I have never been to a bar alone. I’ve never just thought “I could use a drink” or “god I need to get drunk” and sat down at a bar by myself and started knocking them back.
For that matter, I’ve been to the park alone once in my entire life that I remember. Otherwise, I’ve always gone with friends or with the dog. I’ve never been to the park alone in Nashville.
I’ve had car repair become significantly cheaper when I said that I would have to call my “fiancee” and talk to him about it and could they please tell me exactly what was wrong with the car so I could check with him.
I can’t imagine what it would be like to take my shirt off at the park because I can’t imagine my naked body not being sexualized by observers.
I’ve had someone report back to the Butcher about how much my lunch cost, because he (the reporter, not the Butcher) felt I was wasting “the Butcher’s” money.
I’ve had men stroke my hair and pinch my nipples and grab my shirt and demand hugs; men who, by far, didn’t know me well enough to do that.
In high school, there were three girls in my calculus class. We were forced to sit at the front of the class where we could “learn better.” What kind of lesson was imparted by leering, I’m not sure.
When I’m talking to a man I don’t know, I’m often interrupted and not let to finish my thought, though any attempt to cut him off in similar rude fashion is ignored.
We’ve already talked about the man in the bar problem, this belief that women talking alone must be interrupted and refocused on the most insecure man in the room and I’ve had this happen plenty.
I don’t see men’s friends or even acquaintances making sure that they present themselves correctly to women (ha, or we’d have a lot more men beating the shit out of rapists), but women spend a lot of time policing and critiquing other women’s behavior and how they present themselves to men.
The Shill makes a similar point:
(Talking about older women criticizing younger women) The older women needed to feel validated about the sacrifices they made and feel safe in knowing that the decisions they made were the right ones. The problem with all of this is that answers are different for everybody. You can’t tell somebody what college to go to, what type of job to get, what type of work to do, who and when to marry, when to have a baby, what to do once you have it — because the answers are different. Experiences, psyches and motivations are different. And these decisions are logical AND emotional. They are sometimes unexpected and scary — sometimes they might seem daunting but when you’re faced with them, the answer is simple. Some women have people to talk to, some make decisions alone. You can say — the optimal time, biologically, to have children is ages 27-32 but if someone’s ready at 25 or 35 — why is it the business of other women? Why isn’t it the business of the woman and her partner?
(Sorry to rely so heavily on the children thing — but it’s the easiest and most obvious way these things play out, and it’s being rubbed in my face constantly these days.)
Ultimately, this is just the shit women do to each other. It doesn’t even surprise me anymore.
Here’s a way we live differently — the Legal Eagle will never be in a situation where he wonders if he’s being taken seriously based on his clothes. I do wear skirts to work on occasion, but I don’t wear them to important meetings.
That’s just a start. This is one of those Jay-Z type remixes, where y’all are welcome to take the stuff and make of it what you will.
How about assumptions? When in a group, the women are always assumed upon to do the food and the clean up. It’s assumed we all turn into mush at the sight of a baby. It’s assumed we don’t really know our own minds, that we have to be told or have things explained to us. Those are simple and obvious, I know.
One thing that really bugs the shit out of me is the differences we face in aging. According to the world, men get sexier as they get older and women just get traded in for a younger model. Why aren’t we allowed to be seen as attractive with wrinkles and silver hair?
Why is it acceptable for a woman to be called sweetie, pudding, girlie, etc. no matter what age we are?
Oh my, I’m not coming up with anything at all insightful or helpful, but it feels good to rant!
Ok. Ladies some of it you bring upon yourselves.
* Who organizes a wedding/baby shower for the people in the office?
* Who organized/runs the “flower” fund at your office?
* Who suggests “pot luck” day?
Those are all things that 99% of the time would not occur if it were up to the guys. We sure as shit wouldn’t miss it. Still we shell out cash for the new bride/parent because it’s expected of us.
As far as cunt and other words go – I can only tell you that you grew up as females.
When boys meet their very first friend, that new friend will likely say something like:
“Hi. Your face looks funny. Look at that ugly, hairy mole on your face. You must be a Mole-Boy or something!” This will continue for 60-70 years with every single male friend he has, but after 2 or 3 years Mole-Boy doesn’t care. He callouses over to all of the insecurities he may have. Guys never stop fucking with other guys. We make fun of haircuts, baldness, grey hair, impotence, fatness, skinniness, homosexuality, stupidity – basically any possible physical or mental variance from the norm.
Women don’t. They never seem to callous over.
Women enter the workforce and say they want to be treated the same but it doesn’t seem that way, to me. Guys I work with call me dickhead, cocksucker, asshole, etc. Women ususally don’t. Because of that, even when I feel a strong sense of camraderie with a female coworker, I can’t say “Quit bitching,” when she’s complaining even when I would use the exact phrase with a male who was complaining. Why do you think that is?
Jeez, short and fat is really suffering because he can’t call the women he works with abusive epithets, and the women do all the make-nice-behind-the-scenes work of keeping everyone happy. Poor short and fat.
Great series of posts, Aunt B.
I’d say that about half the situations listed here apply to men as well. Talking about these things is acceptable among women, but among men it’s not. To complain about life’s difficulties is not considered “manly” and we are discouraged from discussing such things.
Yes, in old age, men come across as more attractive. But I think that’s more nature than societal. Now, before you get mad at me for saying that – just remember that when we are young, women develop beauty and grace and are admired for years, while young men are just dorky, uncoordinated, lacking confidence.
I used to work a late shift, and since I didn’t have a car, I had to walk home (2 and a half miles) through the middle of downtown in the early morning hours, and I too would have my keys poking out between my fingers in a closed fist.
Again, it’s not as socially acceptable for men to talk about weaknessess, as women do, but we have them. We are mor alike than we are different.
(Hint to the wise: More guys would beat up one the rapists and womenizers if women would just tell us who they are.)
What’s the deal with your comment about Short and Fat. Why is it that so often women complain about not being treated as equal in the work place, then complain when they are treated as equal.
One can just as easily find a double standard among women – (who treat other women one way, and men another) as you can among men.
Real equality is a two way street.
Thanks for recognizing my pain, Kate.
I was Short and Skinny when I started this job. Hell, I just had cake again today.
Here’s my example: Every time I share a stage with another woman performer, someone has to “blog” about which of us has the better legs.
Homeless Guy, relax, I haven’t even commented to Short & Fat yet. Wait until I do and then jump to his defense.
Short & Fat,
Exactly! Well, not quite exactly, but close enough that you have made my day.
(I’ll give you all a chance to decide if I’m kidding.)
But I’m not. What makes me happy about your comment is that you clearly recognize the same things I (and the Shill and JR and all the other women here) do.
This, to me, feels like a tremendous step forward towards recognizing common ground between feminists and men who don’t consider themselves pro-feminists.
You see that there are groups of women who benefit enormously from keeping current power structures in place. So do I. So does the Shill. Hell, so does Simone de Beauvoir. We all see how much women are responsible for keeping other women in line and enforcing the “proper” sets of “womanly” behavior.
You recognize that boys are socialized through hostility. We recognize boys are socialized through hostility.
You recognize that boys are open to attack if they vary from the acceptable norm. We recognize that same thing. That’s exactly the Shill’s point when she says that we have to find new ways for men to navigate masculinity, ones that aren’t so damaging to all of us.
And also my point that, when you set up women as THE deviation from the norm, words that ought to just be descriptive of our gender and genitalia can be hurled at you and at us as insults.
Now, obviously, I’m well aware that you might not think these “things” are problems, and, if that’s the case, that’s one kind of thing some of us feminists do–try to convince you that it is.
But, if you do think those are “problems,” or maybe not “problems” but maybe, kind of, “issues,” then that’s something else some of us feminists do–reach out to you and work together to change things.
I know that talking about this stuff is unpleasant, because we get angry and you get defensive, but I’m feeling strangely optimistic, because of you Short & Fat.
If you can see the things, articulate the things, then how can there not be a little room for you to see how I see those things? And how can that not be better for both of us?
Oh, you’re right, Anonymous. We should just wait for the perfect feminists to get around do doing something. The rest of us should just shut the fuck up. I’ll be sure to go back and delete all my posts now.
Oh, men will be judged by their appearance — but I think it’s much less sexual in nature. They don’t get leered at or have their legs appraised appreciatively (I might be flattered except that the guy who looked at my legs also assumed I was my boss’s assistant, rather than one of his managers).
And Short & Fat — I think you’re right about a few things — women perpetuate a bunch of this shit. We bitch about the lameness of baby showers — and do them anyway. And you know what sucks? Suggesting alternatives gets you shot down.
Here’s the biggest difference between LE and me: no matter what I do with my life — I will hear about it from everybody and no matter what choices I make, they’ll be attacked. If I stay home once I have kids, it’ll be bad for my kids. If I don’t work, I’m not contributing to society/community. If I’m too feminine, the feminists come after me; if I lead my life on my terms, I’m a cunt who can’t get a date. If I’m single I must need a man; but if I’m married, I’m somehow a sellout.
Guys just don’t get the same level of constant lecturing and posturing and people telling you what you need to do and why what you’ve done is wrong. Women get them no matter what. Nobody asks a male CEO if he feels that he sacrificed his masculinity and family to make it to the top.
And sadly, my fellow women are the worst. We take the cumulative results of this bittnerness out on each other.
And back to clothes for a second — it’s the WONDERING. If LE wears a suit & tie, he’ll be taken seriously. If I wear a suit, I think carefullly about the shirt underneath it (not the one with the lace edge — too girly) the skirt (not that one, too short) the shoes (not the slingbacks, too sexy).
Even button downs aren’t safe — not when you’ve got jahoobies (thanks, Gone Feral!)
Granted, a tie with nudie girls on it might cause LE to not be taken seriously. ;-)
I’m with Short and Fat on the subject of Twyla’s ‘assumptions’. Those are assumptions, because that’s how it usually is. And when it comes to most of those examples he and Twyla gave, those are things that women usually do for one simple reason. If a woman didn’t do it, it wouldn’t be done. Men have entirely different standards for what is acceptable. And it’s usually lower than a woman’s standard.
Men definitely do have that callous that Short and Fat brought up, but if you get past that callous men are more fragile than women. The fragile nature of the male ego is a subject of much fun among the women I know. Your story about the man in the bar problem is a key example. You got through his protective shield, so he lashed out in the nastiest way he could think of.
On the subject of insults…. A loud, pushy, arrogant guy is a dick, or an asshole. If I love another guy then I’m a fucking queer. The words are different, but the point is the same. Men are equal opportunity when it comes to insulting. In my experience, women arne’t as likely to throw around words like that, but it has been known to happen.
I think a lot of your complaints are caused by the physical differences. It’s an alpha dog, “might makes right” mentality. Since the man is bigger and doesn’t perceive the woman as a physical threat, then he doesn’t feel the need to treat her as an equal. I think that will continue to change over time now that physical size is not the most important survival trait.
My most immediate response to all your posts was to say that you’re just talking about the vocal minority, and most men aren’t like that. But I’m going to defer that one since you are more experienced than I am in that regard.
Thanks for answering my question B. And interesting comments from the Corporate Shill. I’m always curious to see how the other half lives.
As a father of a young daughter (just turned one!), this scares me to death.
I don’t know why so many men get so defensive when women attack sexism; if anything, we should be glad that someone’s alerting us to our blind spots.
There’s a great line in “Say Anything” when John Cusack is talking with his female friends about his frustration with his girlfriend, and he proposes doing something really stupid, with the excuse “I’m a guy.” Lili Taylor answers “Don’t be a guy. The world is full of guys. Be a man.”
I’ll plead guilty to some blind spots, and I’ll admit there are some elements of female-female hazing that strike me as barbaric (like the brutal custom of unspeakably ugly bridesmaids’ dresses). We’re human. The point is to treat each other like humans. Thanks, Aunt B.
Here is a concrete example. On average, men are taller, heavier, stronger, more durable, and more enduring. They have higher erythrocyte counts, greater cardiac volume, build muscle faster with exercise, and are more strongly constructed. On the other hand, women live longer.
Intellectually the differences are more complex. Men are distinctly better in mean mathematical-logical-spatial reasoning, and either very slightly ahead or very slightly behind in mean verbal ability.
Crucial here is what in mathematics is called a “distribution.” In comparing two groups, the mean—“average”—tells only part of the story. To see this, consider an imaginary group of fifty women, all having an IQ of exactly 100. Their average IQ is 100. Now consider a group of fifty men, half of whom have IQs of zero, and half of whom have IQs of 200. The average IQ also is 100—but you would expect very different performance.
The way the human distribution works is that as you move toward the extremes of intelligence, both high and low, men increasingly predominate. At the highest and lowest ranges of intelligence, you find almost entirely men. The effect is stark in math, less so but inescapable in verbal ability. It shows up on every known test of mental capacity. It is why there are almost no female Nobelists in the mathematical sciences, and no world champions in chess. It is the “glass ceiling.” It is also much of why the prisons are full of men: the stupid tend to end up as criminals, and there are many more truly stupid men than truly stupid women.
I seem to remember reading about that recently… didn’t the president of at MIT got crucified in the media last year for talking abut the same theory?
Yeah, I remember that. He got into a lot of trouble for it, but I’m not sure how it turned out. And I don’t think he mentioned the part about the lower end of the scale either.
Based on my own experience as an civil engineer, it may be true. Only about 10% of our staff of 100+ is female. It could be because women aren’t as good at math. But I’ve also heard the theory that the nature of this kind of job just doesn’t appeal to most women. Either way, it seems to be causing quite the stir in the industry.
to thehomelessguy: can you really not see that offering to beat up known rapists actually makes me feel much less safe than you just professing and behaving in the know about how to treat women (and all other human beings? Since we cannot readily tell the difference between men who are and are not going to hurt us, we a afraid of all aggressive men. you might insist that you only hit men, never women. But we just don’t get that – not in theory and not from experience. When a woman has been assaulted in any way, the last thing she wants is for someone to be violent on her behalf, in order to protect her. It’s entirely fucked up that we need (good) men to protect us from (bad) men. When you behave in ways that make it less clear what side you are on, we get more confused and scared.
No, that was Summers at Harvard, who never met a misstep or sloppy bit of reasoning he didn’t like.
Look at his own statement on Harvard’s website about Harvard (founded in 1636) being the oldest university in America. He means to say the oldest university in what is now the United States (the National Autonomous University of Mexico is the oldest in the Americas, founded in 1551) but he’s not great at clarity.
That’s partially the reason his African American Studies Faculty is fleeing as fast as they can.
In broader context, his comments about women in science, do, I think, become troubling. If men believe women’s brains don’t “work” in a scientific manner and they set out to find out why this is so, how could they ever discover that women’s brains do “work” that way? The question is already premised on the idea that they don’t.
Considering Summers’s attempts to move the African American Studies department back to “traditional” scholarship, I can understand how the female professors in the sciences at Harvard were viscerally appalled by the idea that they also might be “traditioned” right back out of the discipline.
For that reason, Sarcastro, even if I believe you might be broadly right–and I do–that men are stronger than women and that men have wider fluctuations in IQs, I don’t think that explains why there aren’t many female Nobel Prize winners in the mathematical sciences. That’s not a clear point a to point b path.
Considering how many ways women are subtly and not so subtly taught that they suck at math, it means you have a smaller percentage of smart, mathematically able women persuing college degrees. If they aren’t run out then, they might go on to grad school. If they don’t get tired of all the extranious gender bullshit there, they might go on. But the thing is, the most determined woman is not necessarily the one most likely to win a Nobel prize. She might have decided it was less bullshit to become an accountant.
Plus, how can we be sure that an IQ test really tells us much at all? If men developed the test to measure what they considered to be areas of intellegence, the room for bias both at the level of the test writers and at the level of what is considered intellegence worthy of measure, is pretty great.
Larry Summers, the president of Harvard is the one who got stapled to the cross over this topic. His apology letter in part said:
“The issue of gender difference is far more complex than comes through in my comments, and my remarks about variability [in the ability of men and women] went beyond what the research has established.”
Mencken said it best when he defined misogynist as – “A man who hates women as much as women hate one another.”
Ah, comments arrive as I’m typing! Slow down, internet!
Anyway, I just wanted to reiterate that I, especially–and I don’t think I’m alone–distrust “objective” measures of women’s vs. men’s skills, because so often it feels like the intellectual equivalent of a bunch of guys coming up to me and saying “We’re going to play this game we just made up and the rules are that we all try to beat the shit out of each other and then, who’s ever left standing, has to see who can pee out the farthest in front of him. We like you, Aunt B., so come play with us.” and I’m like, “I don’t even want to beat anyone up and I can’t pee out in front of me at all.”
It’s like you conceive the games with you in mind, but just because I can’t win at your game doesn’t mean I don’t have value outside of the home.
That game is in a nutshell, the main difference between the genders. Men are more aggressive and like the feeling of accomplishment whether it is building the Parthenon or destroying Hiroshima. It’s all about the same thing to us. So the boy who can beat the shit out of the most people and piss farthest doesn’t really hold a candle to the girl who helps the sick puppy while all the shit beating and piss farthering is going on.
do you not recall that much of this discussion began with Aunt B explaining that a huge difference between how men and women inhabit the world has to do with the violence women suffer at the hands (and feet and penises) of men? [That didn’t discount the violence you inflict on each other; it just wasn’t part of the initial question.] Do you not see that you have demonstrated for us just why we need to be afraid of you? Thanks for another concrete example.
I said “Here is a concrete example”.
Your point is eluding me, as I’m pretty sure mine is escaping you.
With all due respect, you folks are absolutely exhausting. I’ve no interest in joining this fray, but it is like a Goddamn car wreck that I simply cannot turn away from.
Jesus, it is hard enough to find the fringes of happiness without looking for reasons to be miserable. Please forgive my apparent naivete’, but it doesn’t have to be this difficult.
As always, B, I enjoy the site!
I know this it totally off-topic, but it seems odd to say that the truly stupid are those who end up as criminals. That would mean that the distribution of intelligence is in some way directly tied to socioeconomic class (even if we can take the bias we already have out of our system of measurement), since disproportionate numbers of the poor and especially the non-white are criminals.
haha second can of worms opened.
Oh, Taketoshi, you’re right.
Sarcastro, both of my brothers are criminals and neither one of them is conventionally stupid.
Now that you have insulted our family honor, I will have to challenge you to a duel of some sort.
Hopefully, Short and Fat will return and tell me how I might procure one of those fake penises our troops use in Iraq and then I will take on all y’all in any contest of who can pee the farthest, Sarcastro first.
Ryan, I’m glad you’re sticking with it, even if you are mortified.
I see. You were providing the scientific evidence that we do live in the world differently and that men, who are so aggressive, do hurt women (among other things). I should have realized right from the start that we are making the same point. I guess data does not have to imply that this is all we can be and that women should just stay out of the way of the dumb, mean men. But you don’t ask it to do anything else. And by your third post I just felt like you didn’t care that women are afraid of men. You just cared to show that it makes sense that we are different in ways that could be frightening to women. When that happens, I think we are back to square one, which is that we don’t want to be afraid of you; we want to love you. But you don’t seem to meet us where we are, just wonder why we are not where you are.
So what’s the solution then? How would a man go about meeting you where you are?
tell me how I might procure one of those fake penises our troops use in Iraq
I bet our brand new Hustler Hollywood store could help you with that. It would ruin your reputation as a feminist, but it might convnice the guys to move over for you.
Fake cranks at ten paces, eh?
Don’t misconstrue my blanket theories as blanket statements. We have all committed crimes, most of us just haven’t been caught yet. But our jails are full of stupid, aggressive, and violent men. Jail is also full of non-violent drug offenders, but that is another story.
Taketoshi brings up an excellent can of worms regarding how some people rise above the socioeconomic status they were born in, and how some are doomed to remain there.
I have no real answers. It would be great if men were more communicative and empathetic. We generally aren’t. There is a biological imperative at work there somewhere. The same one that attracts women to guys who treat them like shit I guess.
W – I do think we all have to work to meet each other where we are, to find some common ground, and to try to both speak and listen while considering the other person’s wants and needs, strengths and weaknesses, etc. Women are not insisting that men have to do all the work. But we often feel that men do no work; rather, men think that women are complicated and crazy and cannot be figured out so why try. To meet us where we are means supporting us in our endeavors and our dreams (even the seemingly outrageous ones), listening to us when we talk (and knowing that lots of communication is nonverbal), believing us when we express ourselves, validating our feelings. Meeting us where we are means knowing that we are often afraid of men and of dark streets and of being alone in a strange place. Please don’t make us feel stupid for being afraid; it’s often what saves our lives.
That might not be specific enough for what you are looking for, but I hope it helps answer your question even a little.
Do you lose your feminist street cred if you hang out at the Hustler store? But, what if you were only going to the cafe?
Not that I need to know, mind you… I’m asking for a friend.
Sarcastro, I believe every thing is much better if it devolves into pissing and beer drinking. The Shill and the Legal Eagle can tell you that I have no problem with peeing in public; it’s just getting that distance. That’s what I’m envious of. I sent Short & Fat an email, so hopefully, he’ll be able to tell me what to ask for at the military surplus store.
W., sadly, different women need different things. I need a big hairy biker with a PhD in Old Norse mythology (or the equivalent life experience) who treats me like he’s never met anyone else more charming or brilliant, doesn’t give a shit about a messy house, who likes my dog, and is kind to my parents.
The Professor needs someone who can provide her with some kind of flow chart to keep all 57 of her lovers well-organized.
But most of us just need you to see us as fellow humans.
This has been fascinating. (I’m late to this discussion, just got home.) Somebody further up there in the comments made a point about men having the ‘callouses’ but being just as vulnerable underneath, or something to that effect. Another part of the problem is that we as women have (mostly) been indoctrinated to walk around on eggshells with those selfsame men until they get over their little problems about being misunderstood. Putting the salve on the wounds of their bruised egos, as it were. Bad day at work? Let’s be extra-nice to Dad tonight!
To which I say BULLSHIT. I saw my Mom do it with my Dad. He and my brothers (three of them) definitely wielded more control as a group about ways things were run around the house than I did. And we were a nice, albeit very traditional, family. What the fuck about MY day? My mom’s day? We have shitty days too. I didn’t see anyone catering to us about our need for a little peace and quiet. Again, I think this demonstrates the point about the being afraid, whether in big (rape and violence) or small ways. ( Not that I am by any means equating the first with the second.)
I believe I’ve said this here before, but as a stay-at-home-mother, the one thing I have always tried to do is NOT perpetuate that stereotype. I told my husband before we had that first kid and we decided that I would be the one to stay home and care for them, that he was never, ever, to tell me or imply that my contribution to this family was worth any less than his. And to his credit, he never has. So I like to think that I’ve imparted at least that attitude to my boys.
Does that make me a bitch? In a good way, I mean. Because I would wear that badge proudly.
(By the way, Professor, I totally agree with your last comment replying to W. Nicely said.)
Every party has a pooper, that’s why you invited me……
Party Pooper! Party Pooper!
I love it how I can shut down comments. It’s a huge talent of mine.
Don’t take it personally, Peg, it’s just when a mother of teenage boys shows up, we all defer to your wisdom and experience. What can we argue that you haven’t lived?