Think of sexuality as an ex-girlfriend. You're probably about 50 years old now and sexuality has since found someone younger and better looking to slam against. But because you still have emotions tied up in that ex-girlfriend, your worst fear is that whoever she found is better at everything than you. Together they are more experimental, more fun and they probably rearrange whole rooms at night by sexing hard against every piece of furniture. So now you're stuck in an awful position because even considering that prospect makes you sick, but even worse, it's also kind of hot.
That jealousy is the same jealousy you feel for teenagers. The media panics surrounding teens are always about partying. Those kids are finding new ways to have fun that you never even considered when you were their age, or worse, that you weren't brave enough to try. And the stories that incite the most controversy are about teens having the scariest kind of fun. Sex fun.
Tell me again why we're furious, but slower this time.
In the past couple years, Rainbow parties and sex bracelets have churned up massive storms among parents. They are secret sex parties that teens are supposedly having and they created school bans on bracelets and lipstick. These sex ciphers had parents clutching at their chests, discussing each lurid and indulgent detail. They incited media controversies in which newscasters slowly described the twisted, no-ties sex lives of the nation's children. And they were also completely made up.
Whether they were manufactured by teens or by adults, it's not clear, but the fact that the stories spread as fast as they did without any verification at all speaks volumes about how eager everyone was to believe them. School administrators, churches, parents and news outlets attacked the mythical sex codes under the pretense of saving the children, but the true reason was much more visceral: They liked it. It gave them a tangible reason to loathe adolescents while simultaneously letting them pen horrifying, sexualized fan fiction about their own teens.
"And then Margaret said, 'Fuchsia bracelets!? You don't even want to know what they mean.' Yessss."
Scary, right? You can say yes this time, it's not a trick. I told you this wasn't going to be easy but once you understand every aspect of ephebiphobia, you can overcome it. Stick with it, we're almost done.
Hating Teenagers Just Feels Right.
Despite all the fear and the jealousy, there's another, much stronger part of you that just wants to hate teenagers because they suck. I know, because I already feel it in my 20s. Giving you proof of why they don't deserve our hatred isn't going to make you feel any better or change your mind. You prefer compelling lies about vodka tampons and sex bracelets than factual monotony because you are happier being angry than being right.
"This is all I know."
Moral outrage is useful, even when it's built around imaginary problems because it gives you the context to say, "Wow, I'm a pretty good person in comparison to that." The stories about teenagers drinking vodka through their vaginas and having color-themed blow job parties are strangely comforting because you can set your moral compass by them. I'm assuming that even in your 50s you're a pretty good person, but you still need reminders of what's egregious just to know you're on the right track. Teenagers are the perfect choice because you already privately hate them and now you have a reason to make that hatred legitimate. It all works out, right?
No! That was a trick again! You're terrible at this. Consider for a second what it says about you when you choose to believe in idiotic and absurd myths just so you have something tangible with which to compare your own moral fiber. How can you be proud of who you are when that pride is only in relationship to monsters that don't exist? Most importantly, how bad must your perspective on the entire world be if you're willing to believe the next generation is made up strictly of butt chuggers? Think it over, you're better than that.
Special thanks to David Wong for his help organizing this column.
You can follow Soren's progress fermenting breast milk for ocular highs on Twitter
For more from Soren, check out 5 People Who Bragged About Awful Crimes Via 'Art' and 5 Hilarious Failures in the History of American Revolutions.