I suddenly remember a few times when I was mean to girls when I was fourteen. I feel really bad thinking about it now. Being mean and bullying was particularly ugly for one such as myself who had just barely reached the end of his years as an object of bullying. But I see a pattern there that wasn’t visible to me at the time. It doesn’t excuse my behaviour in the least, but it sort of explains it.
H was thin as a rake and had a highly strung personality. She didn’t seem to expect to be liked, and I believe few did like her much. Yet she wasn’t the sort to fade into the background: she was quite raucous. Me and another boy wrote a parody of the Ten Commandments and taped it to the door of the veranda where our Bible study class convened. One of our commandments was “Thou shalt not covet the ample bosom of H”. The joke here, such as it was, was that us boys had about as ample bosoms as H had at this stage. Somebody told me she cried when she saw the note.
A was a rubenesque working-class girl who had received all that had been withheld from H and more. She wore a “BOY TOY” track suit, went pendulously topless on the beach and had a phlegmatic demeanour. She tried to be friendly to me, bless her heart, but I just sneered disdainfully at this Venus from the wrong side of the tracks. Luckily, A would take none of it: she asked angrily, “Why are you always so mean to me? Huh?”. I mumbled an apology and then we avoided each other.
T also had an early onset of curves. Her personality was phlegmatic to the point of sleepiness, very quiet. One summer day she was sitting opposite to me and a friend on the commuter train wearing a mini skirt and no panty hose, her freckled thighs much in evidence. I quipped sardonically, “How very generous of you, T, to offer the world a glimpse of your fine assets!”. T looked down and said nothing. I pretty much immediately felt bad about the whole thing, but I never apologised.
See a theme? This adolescent boy, barely into sexual maturity, is being nasty to girls about their budding womanhood. Not just to any girls, but to ones with little social graces, and girls who, he feels, are deviating from his tribe’s norms of female behaviour — norms of modesty. I was mean out of sexual insecurity to girls I believed unlikely to fight back. Part of it was of course actually an expression of desire.
About a year later I hooked up with the woman who would become my first wife, and that took care of that, thank goodness.