The following column contains what some readers may consider to be
objectionable (and absolutely accurate) gender stereotypes! Offended
parties should try traveling on a long distance road trip with six
female persons-five of whom are deep in the throes of hormone-inflicted
teenagehood-and then grow a big, swollen, hairy sense of humor. (Actually,
they might want to grow the humor tumor before travelling.)
My wife and I recently accepted this challenge on a trip to the beach
with our three teenage daughters and two of their friends. We all
needed a change of scenery from the COVID-19 crisis in our hometown
so that we could experience it in someone else's hometown. As the
sole representative of the dude denomination in an SUV laboring under
the strain of enough luggage and snacks to supply the next SpaceX
mission, I couldn't help but take a few notes-to-self for future forgetting.
First, when traveling with a group of mature, even-tempered young
ladies, you should avoid trying to determine why they are constantly
giggling. Giggling is apparently a complex linguistic tool used by
groups of teen females to express an array of emotional responses
to external stimuli, most of which emanate from a cell phone screen.
If you dare to inquire about the exact source of their giggling, your
query will be met by a few seconds of stunned silence, followed by
an explosive burst of even more frenzied giggling. A suggestion by
you that the giggling might be in any way related to the hairy-legged
variety of teenage male will result in acute spasms of convulsive
giggling that could require medical attention (for you and the gigglers).
In other words, just try to ignore it-and good luck with that!
Another strategy to ensure a more harmonious environment among the
travelers is to refrain from insisting that everyone listen to decent
music on the vehicle's sound system. For example, a high-quality 1980's
music playlist will evoke subtle groaning from most of the teenage
passengers, followed by the insertion of expensive wireless earbuds
that will allow them to ignore your pleas that everyone join in on
a rousing chorus of "Rock Me Amadeus." Instead, it's just best to
open your musical horizons to the vapid refrains of current teen heartthrobs
like Harry Styles, The Weekend, Shawn Mendes and something called
Marshmello. Allowing the teens to control the music will make them
more content and responsive, but you may have to resist flinging yourself
out of the moving vehicle.
Along with enduring their insufferable music and chronic tittering,
travelers with teen girls must prepare themselves for the incessant
distraction of self-photography. In addition to abusing their iPhone
SIM cards and risking lip sprains from making duck faces, fish gapes
and model pouts, teen travelers also take reams of mini "Polaroids"
and occasionally break out 35mm digital cameras that cost me more
than their orthodontic work. They usually reserve group photo sessions
to memorialize special occasions-like gas station restroom stops.
And speaking of restroom stops, there are few things more humiliating
than being the only male in the car and requiring the men's room while
all six ladies could happily go another 100 miles before they have
to "go." Despite trying to limit my intake of Diet Dr Pepper to a
gallon or so per trip, I always seem to be the one sprinting into
a filthy convenience store for a bathroom break and then fighting
the urge to purchase their entire display of jumbo pecan logs.
Once we reached our destination, we had a great time vacationing together,
and I'm glad the girls could enjoy an escape from the stress of the
COVID-19 pandemic for a few days of rest and relaxation-even if they
did have to cover their duck faces with a mask. I'm also proud to
say that I didn't buy a single pecan log for the entire trip and made
it home with my humor tumor a little bruised, but safely intact.