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The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens

Source: Canva
Source: Canva

Oh health class. What a lamentable bit of my experience in high school. Between community service and learning about my changing body I think it’s safe to say I just about had the time of my life there. To be frank, it felt more akin to an awkward religious sermon in a prison. As I was awkwardly preached to, I had a lot of time to think. Naturally I got bored of thinking, so I opened up the textbook they gave us and began reading. It was arguably the most rage provoking thing I’d read in my life.

Now, I realize I surely sound like some puerile teenager who complains that adults simply don’t understand. But… The ones who wrote this book sure as hell didn’t. The key example- the fifty reasons not to have sex. Someone sat down in a meeting, and brainstormed with several others and thought, “Hmm, how do we get those teenagers to stop screwing like rabbits? Why, I have the perfect idea.” Because what makes teenagers ignore their primal instincts to get pleasure? Organized lists in their health textbooks. Genius. Now, I am not in a position where I would consider having sex, but this list makes me want to just to spite whatever moron wrote this. Sex before you’re ready is never a good idea, neither is non-consensual sex. But trying to scare teenagers with the thought of pregnancy and long term commitment is just absolutely idiotic. Without further ado, here are my favorite reasons in the 50 reasons to not have sex.

10/11. It goes against your religious/moral beliefs. Okay, now this is one of the many examples of the writer padding the list with meaningless reasons. If having sex goes against your religious beliefs, I doubt you would be in a highly intimate relationship as many religions that frown on premarital sex often don’t allow relationships during high school. Even if someone who believed premarital sex was wrong was in a relationship, why would they need to be told it’s wrong to have sex? Is this a hard concept to grasp? If married=yes, sex=yes. If not married=yes, sex=no. Break these rules and your gods cry etc. etc. Even so, this is only relevent to a small section of teenagers who almost already know this and don’t need to be reminded.

15. You can’t support a child. This one is really stupid. According to the CDC, the average age one loses their virginity in the US is 17. And if you add five to both ends, you get 12 and 22. Almost everyone who wants to have sex will have had it between the ages of 12-22. And almost no one in those ranges can support a child. So, either everybody is doing something wrong or the writer is setting some pretty damn high expectations. If you both are using proper protection, there really is incredibly minimal risk for pregnancy.

17. Your idea of commitment is a 3-day video rental. When I was first reading this, this one made me burst out laughing. First off, it’s incredibly dated. No one rents videos anymore. Except the elderly. Secondly, hate to break it to you textbook, but people have sex without commitment all the time. There’s an app for it. Called Tindr. Being in a committed relationship isn’t necessary for everyone. And if you are in one, then this reason literally doesn’t apply at all.

28. You wish you were drunk. This one actually is valid, but it just seems really funny to me. In a culture where alcohol is so elevated to a pedestal and made a joke in popular culture, this book is taking a second to call all that out. Like, hey we know alcohol makes the girl prettier. Doesn’t mean you should do it.

32. You can’t laugh about awkward elbows and clumsy clothes. Again, this one is absolutely hilarious to me. This could have been phrased, so, so much better. I also like this one for the mental image it creates among depictions of non consensual sex and STDs. These two teens just trying to take off their clothes but they can’t help touching their elbows together. Here’s how I interpreted the scene:

Bill and Sarah just saw a drive-in movie, and are now back in Sarah’s room. Her parents are away for the night.

Sarah: Well gee, that sure was a scary movie.

Bill: Yeah, you sure were scared. Wanna bang?

Sarah: Billy! (playfully punches Billy on the arm)

Bill: Hey, ya can’t blame me for trying! (comically shrugs shoulders)

Sarah: Well now, maybe you should keep that key in the ignition. (OH YEAH from Ferris Bueller starts playing)

Sarah throws her bra on Billy’s face, shielding his eyes.

Billy: Jolly gee wilkers! To-day is the day!

Billy tries to unbuckle his pants but his elbow hits Sarah’s.

(cue sitcom laugh track)

And finally, my personal favorite.

5. You think everyone else is doing it. (They’re not!). In all of the list, this is the only reason that uses an exclaimation mark to prove its point. As if you won’t believe the first part of the statement would go by the wayside if not for the exclamation on the second. I imagined an angry conservative parent yelling at their child. “I swear to God Jeremy, you should not be doing this. You think everyone else is doing it. THEY’RE NOT! KEEP IT IN YOUR PANTS, VIRGINITY IS OKAY!” The exclamation mark gives me this mental picture and still makes me smile. As if anyone would come to this realization because some old fart in a book used a exclamation mark. Jesus. This is by far, the best example on this list which prove its utter failure in its purpose. A list filled with cliche and hyperbole with an insane level of ridiculous bullshit. Hell, a textbook filled with that crap. This book seems to want to serve as the poster child and flagship of informing teenagers on how to make “correct decisions”. Which, at least, is a noble task to pursue. But as Shakespeare puts it, “Thou hast ridden thy prologue like a rough colt.”

Thanks for reading. Kisses.

-Patrick

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