Writing left handed

Anthropology on Deck 10

teenagers on cruise

Our subjects (and me in the foreground “reading” my book)

I am officially old.  I know this because on Day #1 of our cruise to Bermuda, The Wedding Date and I plunked ourselves down on a pair of deck chairs and spent the entire morning observing the behavior of a group of teenagers to our left.

teenagers on cruise

Our subjects (and me in the foreground “reading” my book)

And I was appalled.

In the center was a scantily clad brunette of about sixteen.  She was wearing a bright orange bikini from Victoria’s Secret and had acquired an entourage of six male suitors.

At first I was impressed—we’d only been on the ship for a matter of hours!—but as I watched the boys fawning all over her, I realized they were all a bunch of idiots.  I mean, let’s do the math: 6 guys + 1 girl = at least 5 rather disappointed suitors.

Under the guise of reading our library books, TWD and I spent nearly three hours watching the situation develop.  And thanks to my obnoxiously wide-brimmed hat (not to mentioned TWD’s skill at gossiping in Spanish), they had no idea we were talking about them.

“Look!” I’d whisper.  “They guy on the left is making his move!”

Sure enough, a chunky white kid in board shorts was attempting to elbow his way into the inner sanctum but two seconds later, he was shot down.  This went on again and again and again, like that scene at the beginning of Gone with the Wind at the barbeque at Ashley’s plantation where Scarlett is literally surrounded by a ring of eager young bachelors.

And it’s not as if there weren’t plenty of other teenage girls on the ship.  There were dozens!  Granted, they weren’t slathering themselves with tanning oil or doing things with ice cubes that I would have never dreamed of doing at sixteen, but I still wanted to smack them all upside the head and shout “Get a grip!  Go find a nice girl who isn’t headed for a career in pole dancing.  Or better yet, stop guzzling soda, hit the gym, and go read a book!”

There was one particularly awkward boy who nobody seemed to like very much (including Miss Orange Bikini herself; she mimed blowing her own brains out when he arrived on deck).  He was extremely earnest, and kept asking us if we’d seen “his friends” every time we ran into him.  I felt sorry for the kid.

“He needs help,” I kept telling The Wedding Date.  “She is so bitchy.  I was never like that.  I should talk to him.”

“Leave him alone,” he laughed.  “He’ll learn.  I did.”

“But they’re all so mean to him!  Do you think it would help if I started flirting with him?”

“Probably not.”

“Maybe I can ask him to get me some lemonade?  Maybe she’ll get jealous?”

“Just let them be,” he said.  “Besides, I want to see how this all plays out.”

We watched for a while longer and even though TWD wouldn’t let me give the boys a helpful dose of big-sisterly advice, he kept looking around for the girl’s father.

“I’d be swattin’ those boys away with a newspaper if that was my daughter!” he said. “Or worse!”

“You wouldn’t have to,” I replied.  “Our daughter wouldn’t act that way.”

“How do you know?”

“Because I would raise her differently!”

We had ourselves a nice little nature vs. nurture debate until the girl’s father arrived.  He surveyed the scene, told Miss Orange Bikini he was going to lunch and simply walked away without so much as raising an eyebrow.

“What the hell?” TWD exclaimed.  “He didn’t say one word!”

“No kidding!” I replied.  “I told you she has bad role models!”

And that was that.

When we got up to leave, TWD thanked the kids for all of the “amusement” they’d provided over the course of the morning.

Only then did one of the more astute amongst them ask, “Wait a minute—we’re you laughing at us this whole time?”

I just smiled innocently and buried my face beneath my hat once more.

(Note to self: must wear wide brimmed hats more often.)

We saw them again a few hours later.  They’d gotten kicked out of one of the hot tubs.  (Are we surprised?)  I know I enjoyed my fair share of ridiculous behavior when I was that age but I’m pretty sure I was nowhere’s near that bad.  I mean what is up with kids nowadays?

8 Responses to “Anthropology on Deck 10”

  1. Katie @ Domestiphobia.net

    Okay. I hate to point out the obvious, but how is “Miss Brunette” more scantily clad than say… you? Or any other normal sun bather, for that matter? I know this is all light hearted and funny, but I can’t help but think this post is the very reason why women don’t rule the world. We are our own worst enemy. How is it, just because she had many male suitors on the boat, that Miss Brunette was some skank with bad role models and the poor eager lads were just innocent victims? Miss Brunette may have been a stuck up snob, but if that were really the case, then maybe it was she who could’ve used some big sister advice — like telling her that geeky kid she was ignoring would probably be the next Bill Gates, and the rest of those boys were going to see the last of their glory days in high school.

    Just because she’s pretty, doesn’t mean she’s a bad person. But automatically getting treated as a bad person by other women will probably turn her into exactly that. 😉

    • Zak

      I’m with Katie.

      Also, all sixteen year old girls who look that hot are bitches. Like TWD, we just have to push through and wait for some of them to grow up and realize us geeks are gold 🙂

      • Kat Richter

        Hmmm… I get what you’re saying, Katie, at least part of it and you’re right, maybe she could have used a big sister talk too (although for the record, I never dressed like that at 16)! My main issue with her was that she seemed to have so little self respect. I watch a lot of my students act the same way when they’re around boys. There’s nothing wrong with a little flirting but she was being so overtly sexual about it. I felt like she was objectifying herself and they were objectifying her… between the skimpy bikini, the tanning oil and seductive ice cube sucking, it was pretty obvious her admirers weren’t into her for her brains. Granted, they were only teenaged boys but still, I wish her mother or aunt or some positive female influence would have given her a smack upside the head and told her to get some self respect.

  2. Katie

    But that’s exactly why SHE needed the talk! Not the boys. We’re in complete agreement — young girls today are taught via pop culture that they need only be pretty to get everything they want in life — fame, fortune, and undying admiration. It’s sad. Remember this post from Musings on Life and Love? Find my comment to get an idea of my stance. Us girls need to stick together. And the ones like you — who represent strong, talented, intelligent and independent women are exactly the ones who can’t write those naive 16-year-olds off as a lost cause.Otherwise we’ll continue to beat ourselves down.

    (Wow. I realize this is really heavy for how you originally intended this post. You’re an incredible writer and I just picked up a “tone” that rubs me the wrong way. I love me some awesome men, I’m just all about the girl power these days. In the end, I think we agree — young girls today just don’t know how to respect themselves!)

    • Landlord

      You are right Katie, and I know you both are actually saying the same things Both sexes need “power” and in this instance I think Kat’s empathy or sympathy for the one boy who was being used as the “joke” for the “cool kids” was where this post seemed to come from?

      I agree wholeheartedly that she (the young girl) needs someone to tell her that in order to find true passion in not only love, but LIFE will mean ditching the “pseudo reality” show/pop culture mentality and going after what makes her interesting AND interested in life. Unfortunately too many parents have also fallen prey to this line of thinking. I know Kat teaches her students about empowerment, however it is an uphill battle with all of the other influences they have, it gets very frustrating.

      Those of us who didn’t have many of the “perks” that feminism/feminists earned for your generation, find it even more difficult to deal with the PARENTS and other adults (in position of authority) who negatively interact with these young people.

      I think its great that an originally “light” post turns heavy, especially if it is of interest to me 😉

  3. Chicago-Style Girl

    This post is hilarious! And once again, that photo reminds me of one I have in my possession. It’s from a cruise the husband and I went on in April. He’s in the foreground, “posing with a smile” while I photograph the horrible hair behind him. I think I’ve decided It’s really not a cruise unless you bring back a picture of something horrible to laugh at later in remembrance.


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