In an attempt to unlock one of life’s oldest and most complex mysteries, I seem to have fallen quite a bit short. Trying to figure out the mind of a thirteen-year-old boy is no easy feat. While many of us have assumptions; “All he cares about are video games and boobs”, it’s still very hard to investigate. Mainly because getting thorough answers, and more specifically holding a conversation with a thirteen-year-old boy, is a rare occurrence. I have learned that it is harder to get a detailed answer than a straight answer. Plain, simple, straight answers are the easy part. “Yes” and “No” are the main go-to words, but ask for an explanation or some description, and you will get about 5 more words on top of that. Astounding.
So my original idea to present the world with the breakthrough knowledge of what thirteen-year-olds actually think has transformed into an expose, if you will, of the 13 questions that will get you nowhere when talking to a thirteen-year-old. Here we go…
1. Q: What do you think about girls?
A: “Whether I think they are cute or not”
I think this one is by far my favorite question mainly because of the response. So blunt, so simple, so obvious. Realistically, I would have loved to hear about some interactions he’s had with girls, perhaps how they act different socially than boys. Something along the lines of “they are loud and care a lot about how they look”, but his answer is much more telling. It’s reminds me of The Most Interesting Man in the World commercial, “I don’t always drink beer. But when I do, I prefer Dos Equis”, except it goes, “I don’t always think about girls. But when I do, I think whether they are cute or not”. My follow-up to that question (Question 2 below), has a very appealing response as well.
2. Q: Do you have/have you had a girlfriend? If so, what is/was that like?
A: “Not right now.”
I think I missed something. Or he missed something. Or he dodged the question. Did he have one before? Is there a prospective future girlfriend in the picture? I don’t know! Either way, I have found out no descriptive information about what thirteen-year-old dating culture is like. Do they Snapchat each other a “cute” duck face with the caption “Do you like me blushing emoji”? The world might never know.
3. Q: Have you ever kissed a girl?
Like I said in the beginning, straight answers aren’t hard to come by but you will get nothing more. On that same wavelength…
4. Q: Do you do drugs? Alcohol? Do you know people who do?
A: “No to all three”
Part of me thinks this might be the truth, another part doesn’t but whatcha gonna do? If it is true, it’s nice to know some teenagers still haven’t been directly influenced by drugs and alcohol yet; maybe there’s some hope for the fight against younger substance abusers. Then again, he’s one of a million thirteen-year-olds, which probably doesn’t give me the most accurate of results.
5. Q: If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?
A: “Spend some of it and save the rest.”
How lucratively responsible! I think when I was thirteen I would have said “buy a nice car, a house, thousands of concert tickets, a laptop, an iPod…” the list would have gone on forever. I would have fulfilled my angsty teenaged dreams to see All Time Low a bazillion times, but kudos to him.
6. Q: If you had to work on only one project for the rest of the year, what would it be?
A: “Beating video games.”
Well there it is, the video game assumption is correct. Boobs must not be too far away! But seriously, that would be a thrilling year devoted to playing and beating as many games as possible.
7. Q: Describe an event that was so much fun that you will never forget it.
A: “Getting my own cell phone”
Wow, I think this might be a bit of an overstatement, but to each his own. I think it is difficult at 13 to be truly cognizant of when unforgettable life moments are occurring. And I really hope that when he looks back at his life when he was thirteen, he won’t consider getting his phone an “unforgettable life moment”. I don’t quite remember getting my first cell phone, but I do remember that it was a silver oval flip phone and I had to share it with my older sister, yuck. Anyway, it wasn’t very memorable, sorry man. I think my most vivid memory from when I was thirteen was when I went to my first semi-formal dance. I was so excited and had so many butterflies in my stomach. I finally got to slow dance with this boy that I really liked! It was magical until those innocent butterflies turned into actual stomach upset, and I had to choke back vomit on the dance floor and run to the girl’s bathroom. Embarrassing, yes; but we did end up dating for a few months. Take that!
8. Q: What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
A: “Doing study island questions that I don’t know how to.”
Now, I knew this question would be a bit of a stretch. In what world would I be able to get a thirteen-year-old boy to think critically about his past struggles, perhaps a death, poverty, family issues? I know the emotional depth thing was a bit lacking. But it’s nice to know that the hardest thing he’s ever had to go through was attempting to complete his online homework questions.
9. Q: What are you most looking forward to in your future?
Classic. I can’t blame him because it’s every teenagers dream to find a way to get the hell out of the house. I understand big picture life goals have to be put on hold when your life experiences are confined under a single roof. In three years, you’ll get that car and your next goal can be to just graduate high school.
Next, I would like to introduce you to my favorite part of the interview, the “How Oblivious Are You to 90s Culture” questions. Most of these speak for themselves so feel free to have a decent laugh.
10. Q: Do you know what this is? If not, guess.
A: “It’s a floppy disk
Well played! I truly thought I had him stumped. Oh well, I got him on the next few.
11. Q: Who are these people? Guess, if you don’t know.
A: “William and Kate idk”
Bahahaha, JT and Britney Spears were the royalty of the 90s. What beautiful, half-talented princes and princesses they would have had!
12. Q: Who are these people? Guess, if you don’t know.
A: “Jack and jill.”
Someone seems a bit defeated, that was a bit of a lame guess; although, a pair as infamous as Beavis and Butthead might have been just as popular as Jack and Jill!
13. Q: Who is this? If you don’t know, guess.
A: “Labron James”
Speechless. Shame on you and may you be sentenced to watch Space Jam on repeat for the rest of forever!
Photos by : Kosmas Santosa, dollyblush!, skintightj2009, Guitar Zero, snapclicktripod via Flickr