I got in a bit of a twist the other day when I heard about the mother who was arrested for hiring strippers for her son’s 16th birthday party. My first response was based largely on the fact that I like to be outrageous: “Cool mom!” After that though it’s made me do some thinking.
Ultimately it comes down to a matter of right versus wrong, and the question is, was this wrong? As a parent I’ve been conditioned to protect my children from exposure to things like this by a society that is repressed and hypocritical. As a one-time 16 year old boy I would have been thoroughly convinced that I had the best mom in the world. Ever. The difference between the two is that at 16 I wouldn’t have been burdened by the cultural stigmas of our society.
Does this lead to teens having babies? Hardly. About the only thing it leads to is probably an extra load of laundry. But the prosecutors say its endangering the welfare of children. Yeah, because 16 year old boys have never surfed the Internet or seen prime time TV.
Then there’s other countries in the world that have more open views on human sexuality. Which ones? Damn near all of them. Remember that the Native Americans were an open minded and largely peaceful people that were overrun by exceedingly repressed individuals that wanted their own place to establish their own rules. They believe a man should be free to do whatever he wanted and worship in whatever way they wanted, as long as they approved of it.
There are still countries out there where “kids” can get married and have children as young as 13. It baffles the mind and scares the crap out of me as a parent. I don’t want my son or daughter getting caught up in something like that, but then again that’s because I was raised to believe I should wait until I’d squared myself away and was ready for the burden of family. And by saying burden I don’t mean to imply it’s a bad thing, only that it places a lot of responsibility on your shoulders, even though it’s worth it if done right.
Now I’m also willing to stipulate that if I had been born in another culture I might not think a thing of being engaged at 13 or 15. I’ve moved around a lot and I’ve met a lot of people from a lot of different walks of life. They all have their merits and perks, from Mormons to Catholics to Muslims. I’ve met people from as far as Brazil, Germany, Australia, the UK, Greece, Albania, Italy, Pakistan, Iraq, and Iran (and probably several others) and they were all good and decent people even if we viewed some things differently.
I’m a writer and I have to explore different mindsets and cultures on a regular basis. I have to buy into them and explain them in my books so I can make them feel real. That probably biases me to be more open minded and tolerant than most people, which is a shame. Everybody and every organization has its quirks but the world would be a better place if we focused on what we had in common instead of what our differences were.
As for a handful of 16 year olds getting their wet-dreams fulfilled by having strippers at a birthday party, is this really even worth mentioning? Is it newsworthy? Is it something the police should be bothered with? I’ll concede that an investigation into possible abuse would be warranted, but lacking that I’m inclined to stick with my initial outrageous response, “Cool mom!”
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