From Batman to boobs by Trevor Plumbly
At 76 it’s a bit late to be concerning myself with the perils of puberty, but God’s idea of a teenage joke has re-entered my life courtesy of my grandson.
With the exception of Harry Potter and a slew of genitally dead fictional heroes, most boys are forced to endure this biological torture. The majority allow the abrasive effect of maturity to clear the psychological muck away before it causes any lasting damage. Others, like Donald Trump, clearly illustrate that, if unchecked, its debilitating effect on behaviour patterns can last for years. It’s strange that few seem willing to discuss it after they’ve been through it, most treat it rather like a sprained ankle, a nuisance rather than a pitched battle against libido-induced insanity.
Apart from time, there’s little cure or company for puberty, it’s an outcast thing. The afflicted sprout facial eruptions to deter others from satisfying the urge for physical contact; it’s common for some to rise from basso profundi to boy soprano in one sentence and a sexually scrambled brain doesn’t really help the mix. Parents bear the brunt of the load and use different tactics to cope. The American way is to discuss and ‘share’; to my mind, this just adds to the confusion and could explain their preference for firearms. Brits, on the other hand, don’t discuss it; emotional hurdles are not considered polite conversational fodder, or part of the educational process which, again to my mind, could account for their propensity to fiddle with sexual perimeters. It’s possible that the European Union may have changed that and, if it has, I apologise.
Making a man of me
In 1940s English schools, mention of sexual identity was confined to domestic animals. Everything important in life, I was instructed, was situated above the waistline; the contents of my underpants were placed there to dispose of unwanted liquids, NOTHING ELSE! Thus suitably educated in carnal matters, I was left to find my own way to maturity. Like Bunyan’s pilgrim, my journey involved constant self-doubt and temptations. Spot Simpson’s sister and Carol created my personal Slough of Despond. Spot’s sister was rubenesque whilst Carole was a poetic nymph, and therein lay the problem: boobs or budding breasts, apparent abundance or hidden riches? Sadly, by the time I’d conjured up the nerve to make a move, Spot’s sister was having it off with Jumbo Mercer and Carol was promising others the goodies that to my knowledge she never delivered, leaving me back in the sexual wilderness, pondering whether the ‘drainpipe’ theory might actually carry a bit of weight. I was painfully thin and intensely nervous, so puberty, in all its misery, loved me and hung around far longer than necessary. Blame, in retrospect, serves little; however I should point out that my fellow bloggers are all of the fair sex and whilst I don’t blame them for my personal tribulations, I just bet they left a few ‘hit and run’ victims out there on their journey to womanhood.