Are just so. Old enough to know desire but not old enough to hide it. Knowing enough to fear sex but not informed as to why. Randy enough to be almost tearfully grateful for a touch, a kiss, a casual brush of a silk dress against their thigh, but not enough to wheedle, cajole, lie and bribe to get what they so adorably crave.

Pubescent boys are lovely. Fresh and crisp, with acne still in the future and voices that break endearingly at unexpected moments. Flopping hair fringes carelessly brushed aside on a sweaty brow on a hot day... T-shirts discarded for a quick game of football after school. Downy cheeks that need no shaving, satiny chests that need no waxing; puppy-large hands fumbling in tremors as the blush grows hot in their armpits and climbs slowly up their necks to cloud their eyes.

And while your effect on them is comically obvious through training shorts, their effect on you they will probably never know, the dears.

A 14 year old boy is the best of both worlds - by no means a woman, yet thankfully, not yet a man.

Are thoroughly horrific. I know whereof I speak; I was one, for christ's sake. Every male in the land is, without exception, at around 14-16 years old, a total cunt, myself included, and you can quote me on that. Indeed, in some cases (i.e. mine) they still are.

At 14, most lads have started noticing that their armpits start smelling of rotting fish heads and other unpleasant substances. However, rather than adopt the logical course of vigorous application of soap and water, they go and buy cans of Lynx Africa because they've seen the advert on telly with hordes of tasty womens chasing after the Lynx-user like a slow motion Benny Hill film and think that if they empty half a can of Unilever's finest and smelliest chemicals they'll be God's Gift to Women. It doesn't work, it just makes them clear the room (however, it helps keep the flies off their chips, so it's not all bad.) In fact, there used to be a Lynx advert circa 1998 in which the "Lynx effect" empowers one bloke to slay a hydra on behalf of a tribe of nearly nude amazons, which tells you all you need to know about that!!!!

In fact, to an average 14 year old, Lynx is the answer to every question of personal hygiene imaginable. They also will be breaking out in spots massively, which will be picked at, and get horrible wispy half-beards that are noticeable but not thick enough to be shaved yet. I got both of these and had to have my mother corner me to apply PanOxyl and squeeze the little buggers on a regular basis and was still nicknamed "pizza face," "rug face," and (by the younger boys) "Hagrid."

However, going back to the use of Lynx, this doesn't stop them from lying about the amount of quim that they're getting. Usually on Monday mornings, in your local secondary school, you'll find a cluster of them hung around a table in the library on a free period when they're supposed to be doing their homework what's due in in double Physics after lunch but are actually swapping their war stories from the Battle of Nathalie Simmons' Sofa. The "bent elbow" gesture will be employed liberally. However, none other than the person telling the story will have met the delectable Ms Simmons, so it is of course unverifiable. But they'll all believe it and gittishly slap each other on the back and suchlike. The fact that your average 14 year old doesn't know a clitoris from a hole in the ground won't stop them from explaining how they gave her the sort of rooting that make the lady in question yelp and howl like a pack of she-wolves in the mating season.

It is also not a good idea to call bullshit on these tales. I did when a lad called Giles said he pronged his older sister's university mate for four hours solid, and told him that it doesn't count to include the 3 hours 56 it took him to get a cockstand. I was subsequently branded "just jealous" and told to "get back to wanking over Lord of the Rings." They were, of course, absolutely right. I was 17 before I got any tonsil hockey, to say nothing of filthy squeezing or jiggy beast (And she was a mentalist tsundere hellbitch anyhow.)

So other than sex and lying about sex, the other thing that 14 year old boys like doing is sports. Now I went to a state grammar school, so rugby was the order of the day. I wasn't awfully good at it despite being a well built chap, because I was hopeless at running and completely lacking in co-ordination. So I was usually a lock, which is the position for people who are basically only good for brute force and ignorance. Indeed, once the team-picking ritual was completed, as soon as I was picked everyone else would groan about how we've lost already. To be fair, it was probably about right, because me trying to grab hold of "Mouse" the opposition scrum half who went like a turbocharged grease-stain was doomed to humiliating failure. As such, my popularity amongst peers in general was pretty low because to the average 14 year old, being good at sports is a measure of your coolness. Football I was also hopeless at. (Thankfully when I got into the 6th form and the ability to pick what you did in games, it was field hockey all the way. I'm lethal with a three-foot length of fibreglass-reinforced wood.)

The other thing a lad gets at 14 or thereabouts is intelligence and application thereof, however, not the maturity to know what to use it on. So he's basically a junior psychopath. Especially at the art of causing suffering to people who are Not Popular. This ranges from hiding peoples' stuff for shiggles, locking them in empty rooms that you've lured them into, putting offensive graffiti on the wall next to where they sit in Maths which claims to be by them, and of course good old fashioned physical torment. I'm not going to go into this any further, suffice it to say, 14 year old boys are little sociopaths, see here if you want more.

They're superficial little fucks as well. Dressing in the "wrong" brand of stuff or the "wrong" ideas about what is amusing to listen to or watch is a cardinal sin and will get you subjected to the above. Then changing to dress in the right stuff or similar will cause you to find that what's in has just changed. Because it can.

But the number one reason why all 14 year old boys are cunts? They don't care, cannot be reasoned with, and absolutely will not stop. They will persist in their delusions that they are King Shit and God's Gift to Women and that they Know Everything. And then there's the self pity when they get themselves into a mess which is entirely of their own making, hand tragically nailed to the forehead, it's not their fault. Some of them wake up at this point and start making active efforts to be less cunty. Most just grow out of it and then, years later, look back at their 14 year old selves and cringe at what terrible excuses for humans they were back then, myself included.

They are also chameleons, and the blushing, allegedly adorable wispy beards, and fresh-faced cuteness that TheLady refers to above are little more than an act put on for the beneficence of adults. If I wanted to be, when I was 14, I could be the right little gentleman to grownups and people (usually other boys' mothers) would say how I was ever so nice and mature for my age, yet as soon as they were out of earshot, go back to arguing with the STANDARD NERDS that were my mates which Page Three Stunna we'd most like to plough, and whether it was worth playing sligh in the current Standard environment at Magic the Gathering.

To sum up, a 14 year old boy is best avoided, at least for the next few years.

(IN1219/30)


In the background, the plaintiff melodramatic pleading of “Celeste” by Donovan.

Here I stand acting like a silly clown would,
I don't know why; would anybody like to try
The changes I'm going through ?
A hidden lie would fortify
Something that don't exist
But it ain't so bad, I'm just a lad,
So many more things to do,
I intend to come right through them all with you.

This is the year that he learns the real meaning of fear. Jimmy Almond died of spinal meningitis in February. In March, Judy Dunlop's brother got hit by a train while trying to outrun it on a river trestle. Becky Morris won't return the note he secretly handed her in the hallway between 5th and 6th period. It's only the beginning of spring and already sex and death are in full bloom.

Some mornings it seems as if he could slay dragons in a heavy suit of armor and a shiny sword weighing more than he does. Other mornings he looks into the mirror and sees a greasy, zit-faced gnome that not even a mother could love.

This is the year he learns the real meaning of fear. His schoolmates are large enough now that a real fight could result in lost teeth, wired jaws, blindness. This is the year he realizes that the only civilizing constant around him is the delicacy of women, girls. But they are so unobtainable. The mystery surrounding them is just too great. This is the year that he realizes that he, too, like everyone else who ever lived, will one day die. It seems like a given, but it comes as quite a shock to an already fragile ego.

My songs are merely dreams visiting my mind
We talk a while by a crooked stile,
You're lucky to catch a few.
There's no magic wand in a perfumed hand,
It's a pleasure to be true.
In my crystal halls a feather falls
Being beautiful just for you
But that might not be quite true, that's up to you.

So he might seek protection in joining or forming a gang. Safety in numbers and all. He might even emulate the habits of the girls around him and decorate his notebooks with stickers and then take it a few steps further and draw signets of his new gang on his locker and on the bathroom walls. Or he might decide it's safer to become a nerd and grow a turtle shell which causes the stooped posture of nerds everywhere carrying their shells from classroom to classroom, silently nodding to other nerds in the hallways as they pass; each nod signifying the awareness of weakness and sloth. Or he might decide to beef up and join the football team, making adjustments in behavior that lead to him being the cause of nerd-fear.

Or he might try to walk that fine line between both worlds. It is possible but very, very tricky. He could smoke enough cigarettes and drink enough liquor to appear manly and yet still make all A's and be teacher's pet. This is the Jokerman charade and only a consummate liar such as Bob Dylan or Bill Clinton can pull it off. Of course, he, like those two, has decided that the only thing that makes the game worth playing is the chicks. And he realizes they, too, are in the middle of their own crises. Upon this startling thought, a light bulb the size of a Buick goes on above his head and he realizes The Secret. He'll be in Becky Morris' panties before Easter.

Dawn crept in unseen to find me still awake
A strange young girl sang her songs for me
And left 'fore the day was born.
That dark princess with saddening jest
She lowered her eyes of woe,
And I felt her sigh, I wouldn't like to try
The changes she's going through
But I hope love comes right through them all with you.

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