I recently found a page of one of these advice books on the floor of the library. Presumably, it was ripped out to be hung up on some girl's bulletin board next to a picture of Justin Bieber. (That's who the kids like these days, right? God, I'm old.) As you can see from the photo below, this particular section of the book was designed to help girls find their best love match by telling them specific places to "troll" for dates based on their interests.
Wait, really? Helping young girls understand and explore their new and potentially confusing feelings is one thing, but do we really want to encourage them to go trolling for dates? Shouldn't they be studying, hanging out with their friends, and doing anything possible to NOT get pregnant?
Yes, of course. But you know what? This is a library-related blog. I won't pontificate on the possibly sexist and outdated subtext that I see in telling teenage girls to go looking for love in the first place. Instead, let's take a quick look at the "advice" being given:
|Whoever read this last apparently wants to date a "sexy slacker." Good luck with that.|
Back in the stone age when I first started to really like boys and actually TALK to them, I had a tendency to gravitate toward the funny/nerdy/band-geek type of guy. Subsequently, I can't speak to the effectiveness of trolling for teenage "strapping hunks" or "dashing daredevils" or "six pack sultans." Frankly, I feel weird just typing out these phrases, so I'm going to move on. (But I do sincerely hope that geek-boys were properly represented at some point in the book.)
I can tell you one thing: if you are trolling for love at the library, you may find an intellectual. And you will most definitely find a loner. But you are not going to find a dateable "intellectual loner" hiding somewhere in the stacks, just waiting for you to discover him and his horn-rimmed glasses and his overdue fine-free library card and his masculine sensitivity. (He's not there. I've checked. Perhaps try Starbucks.)
Want to know my honest, idealistic, and toooootally square advice for tween & teenage girls? Put the advice books down for a while. Go read some Lois Lowry or Judy Blume or Paula Danziger. Have crushes. Cultivate your interests. Be silly. Stay naive for just a little bit longer. Trust me, you'll have plenty of time to meet slackers and loners and hunks and sweethearts when you're older and jaded...I mean, wiser. *cough*