Sunday, May 31, 2009

Long talk with Gary

He and I had a long talk last night about what was going on. I wanted him to know that I didn't think I was up to giving the sort of supervision the girlfriend's mother wanted and so he was probably going to end up having to visit her only at her house. He said that the mother had already decided that was the way it should be.

The girlfriend is a sweet girl, but Gary is not in love. It takes him about 10 minutes to find a new girlfriend after breaking up with a previous one. I told him that I think it is a good idea not to let kids date until they are sixteen, which she won't be for another year. She was almost fifteen but hew as a few months away from seventeen. Did he really want to be in a relationship with a girl that he could not take to the movies or the water park or out for pizza? 'Cause he might really not be able to do anything other than hang out at her house and play "go fish."

He agreed that that was all they would be able to do. Then he started telling me what her restrictions are for movies she could watch and video games she could play. It became increasingly clear that her mother should not feel safe allowing her at our house. Period.

I told Gary that I was having a fantasy of telling her mom that she didn't need to worry because I had already bought Gary condoms. He laughed.

He also told me that when we did respite the last time the kid who was here for the weekend left the cash he had on his desk, ignored the mp3 player, and stole his condoms. Gary didn't think that made sense. I told him that it made perfect sense to me. It was the one thing the kid did not feel comfortable buying for himself. I asked Gary if he wanted us to buy him more. He said no, but with that expression that indicates that maybe he wanted to say yes. So I will ask Roland to get him some. I don't think he will need them any time soon and I certainly hope that he doesn't need them for a very long time, but I do want to make sure he has them.

I doubt I will tell the girlfriend's parents that I have bought him condoms, but I am tempted to. It is becoming increasingly clear that we are very much on opposite sides of this cultural divide. The arts charter school teaches abstinence only in a location where it is acceptable to teach abstinence-based education. It is certainly doing that because most of the parents who send their kids there want it. It isn't just about the arts. It is about a more controlled environment.

But you know this fantasy where I play clueless to their concerns and just reassure them that their daughter is safe because Gary has condoms and knows how to use them is sustaining me.

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