The Boys Are Back In Town

There’s a pit in my stomach.  It’s there because of a stupid video I watched that I didn’t want to watch but that I had to watch because I felt compelled by the title and hoped that I would see something different from what I did see.

It was stupid, really.

There were some kids, and they wanted to have their fun…so they tried to protest something that is all the rage these days here…and no one supported them, officially, and everyone agrees that they were just silly and young and wanting to provoke…

But I got a pit in my stomach.

The boys look just like the boys I grew up around, the ones who wanted a bit of fun one night when I was fifteen and lost in a new place…so they gathered under my window in our new, not-quite-finished house that my mother hadn’t bought window shades for yet…and when I saw them I turned off the light so I could get ready for bed…and a beam of a flashlight shone in my face as I started to raise my shirt…and I heard laughter…and spent the rest of the night huddled on the floor in tears.

And they also look like the boys who gave my little brother letters to give to me…letters that spelled out the words they never had the courage to say to my face…but words I started to believe…words that damaged me.

And they look just like the other boys who walked the street with their hats and jackets…and met me at night…for this or that…but never had to suffer any consequences…even when I had to leave…because they always pretended…they were righteous.

When I was sixteen I wrote a letter.

I wrote about the boys I saw…and what I thought when I saw them…and how they were pushing me away from everything I thought was true…and that I was confused because they were supposed to represent the epitome of everything ideal in my life.

I got a response to my letter.

A veiled response.

“You bring up important issues facing our society.  I understand your pain and know that this is a big problem.  Unfortunately, it is not the right time to publicly address these issues.”

It is over a decade later.

And there are those boys damning my childhood ideals all over again.

I know these boys might be different.

They might not have that evil streak in them.

They might just be caught up in the excitement of trouble.

But they put a pit in me that is starting to sprout and take root.

I wonder who teaches them right from wrong.

I wonder who tells them it’s ok to scorn people.

I wonder who tells them it’s ok to call people names.

I wonder who sees them smirk and jeer and still loves them.

And I wonder at myself…because I am embarrassed by them.

I want to distance myself from them.

I never want my son to look like them.

I never want to associate myself with them.

And I am pushed even farther away…

6 thoughts on “The Boys Are Back In Town

    1. I’m not sure where the forgiveness is meant to go here…but I do see that when my childhood repeats, it’s because I need to see things differently. And this time, I saw what a burden a certain society has thrown on me just by me believing it had something to it – throwing it off gives me the freedom to live without reservations, something I may have needed.


      1. It’s the latter. The world is filled with the same evil, perpetrated over and over again. It’s cyclical. So is good, by the way, for those lucky enough to have grown up in that.


  1. I often wonder about how women can stand to watch their sons turn into such entitled, misogynistic monsters. I dated one of those jerks when I was younger, and after that I knew I could never date a penguin and that I want my children to be nothing like them.

    I appreciate that you wrote a letter. Someone had to do it. It’s still an issue now; while I’m out of that phase in my life because I am too old and grew out of it, I still know a number of older teenaged girls who tell me that this kind of guy is still around, but seems to have gotten slightly better at camouflage.

    The response you received to what I’m sure was a respectful letter is PURE NONSENSE. The time to deal with this is NOW, because there’s never going to be a “better time,” and also because I believe this issue is connected with many other issues the orthodox Jewish community is facing…even the “shidduch crisis.” However, this isn’t the place to get into it.

    I know a bit of how what you’re describing feels…hugs and chocolate. You weathered it and you’re not letting your kids turn into that, and that’s what matters. You are stronger than them.


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