There was a bit in Jezebel recently where famed auteur Quentin Tarantino defended also-famed auteur Roman Polanski. Polanski, the director of many important films, fled to Europe following allegations he had sexual relations with 13-year-old Samantha Gailey. Since then he has continued to have a storied and celebrated career involving many A-list stars. Tarantino, noted prick who basically nearly killed Uma Thurman so her hair would look nice in a car scene, claimed that the, and I can’t stress this enough, teenager, wanted to have sex with famed director, and that it was merely statutory rape.
I’ve spent the last three days working on a piece why Daddy-Daughter dances are fine, and how there are more nuances in rape culture than we’re letting on, and why grown men need an outlet for physical affection with their female children, and blah blah blah. Delete. Delete like the Cybermen showed up. Why even bother when there are basic questions of how to act apparently still to be answered?
This came up when David Bowie died. Bowie apparently had a sexual encounter with a very young fan named Lori Maddox. The difference between Maddox and Gailey is that Gailey considers herself a victim while Maddox doesn’t. You can judge for yourself on how that works out on the morality scale, but I’m not really here to tell women how they should feel about what happens to their genitals at the age of thirteen. I’m here to talk to grown men.
Guys, y’all, bros… let’s make something really clear. If, for some reason, a 13-year-old girl winds up naked in your bed begging you to have sex with her, it is your job NOT TO DO THAT. If a 13-year-old girl asked you if you’d like to huff paint with her, you’d (hopefully) say no even if huffing paint was totes your jam. I would barely trust a 13-year-old to make pasta, let alone wise sexual decisions. Just because an equation involves your dick does not absolve you of being the grown-up. Don’t. Fuck. The teenager. Even if she asks.
Here’s an uncomfortable story. There was a girl at my daughter’s school pickup, who was older and not my daughter’s friend, but who really liked my dog that I would take to pickup. We’ll call her Elle. I don’t know much about Elle’s home life, but I know two things. One, for three years she biked alone to elementary school, even in the rain. Two, I have this weird draw for daughters whose dads don’t spend enough time with them. The first time I did Watch D.O.G.S, I had a pack of them swarm me like Chihuahuas. They imprint on me, and for the most part I’m happy to play along. I like kids better than people, as Joe Biden once said.
Elle zeroed in on me hard. Really, really hard. I had a lot of conversations with this kid that should have been had with, you know, someone she was related to, over three years. I played it off well, and she’d go on her way. Then there came the last day she was at the elementary school. I knew it was her last day, so I made sure she could pet my puppy one final time. It was a small kindness.
At the end, she hugged me hard, and I had a terribly male thought: she’s getting tits now. The random embraces I’d been getting from Elle for three years suddenly incorporated soft areas in her chest that would be indecent if exposed on network television. Girl becomes woman.
Pubescence is chaos. Trust me, I grew up in Galena Park. My cousin was a grandfather within his thirties (long story for another time). I get how the sexual awakening of the young is a powerful thing for both them and the people around them.
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That said, there are two things that define adulthood. One, to create and not merely consume. Two, to restrain from things that are terrible to do. Polanski (and Bowie) may have decided that the 13-year-olds they encountered were wanton Lolitas begging for it, but decency in the modern age dictates they should have, ironically, acted like Kevin Spacey in American Beauty when he realized “Holy Hell, I’m about to fuck a teenager who barely knows where Peg A goes into Slot B.”
The willingness of the child is not the issue under discussion. My daughter asked for ice cream sandwiches for dinner the other night. I did not give them to her. She had mac and cheese with a side of edamame.
Guys, y’all, bros… it is your job not to fuck the teenagers. Not even if they look older. Not even if they are willing. Not even if nobody would ever know. It’s your job to put your dick down and find another, more beneficial way to express affection. Hot cocoa. Kite flying. A trip to the zoo. I leave it up to you.
But it kills me to have to explain and re-explain this. What the teen girl wants from the grown man is pretty insignificant to what the grown man decides to do to the teen girl.