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Puberty Books of the Damned: How to Say No (Like a Sociopath)

A very bored teenage boy.

Here we go again! It’s time for another round of pointers from those Admirable Adjuncts of Adolescent Advice over at TEENWORKS. They’ve taught you how to flirt, make friends, and walk on your buttcheeks. Now they’ll instruct you on the fine art of turning someone down.

If you’ve been following the TEENWORKS method to the letter, you should be enjoying the kind of long-lasting relationship that makes your friends groan in envy. Each day should be a fresh study in unspeakable bliss, marked by moonlit strolls and amorous exclamations like the following:

I'd rather go to the movies with him than have a private audience with the King of England!

That’s fortunate, given current English monarchical realities.

But what if you’ve fallen short somehow? What if you’ve played the wrong hand, spoken the wrong line, attracted the wrong man? What if–heaven forfend–you actually need to reject somebody? How can you shake a sub-par would-be suitor?

Don’t Be Direct
One thing you definitely don’t want to do is be direct. The consequences of an improperly softened “no” can be disastrous.

A harsh no can put a guy off dating for an entire term!

An entire term, ladies! In a society that caters endlessly to the young male ego, a single “no” can break a guy. The most tedious of women’s libbers might suggest we condition young boys in such a way that they can cope when life fails to hand them everything on a platter, but let’s be real: isn’t it easier to keep training girls to cushion the blow?

“Sorry,” you might say. “Although you are extremely virile, I need to wash my hair tonight.”

“It’s not you, it’s me,” you might also try. “Your masculinity overwhelms me; also, I’m overdue for a vigorous round of buttcheek jogging.”

“Please don’t feel bad,” you could additionally remark. “I can’t be in a relationship until I sort through my problems. My vagina problems. In my vagina.”

If He Can’t Take the Hint
Sometimes subtlety runs off teenage boys like piss off a plastic bed sheet. TEEN WORKS acknowledges this. In fact, TEEN WORKS indirectly recognizes the possibility that a guy might miss the message eight or nine times.

Can't you take a hint?

The above question is from a quiz called “Are You a Caring Person?” If you choose Option A, it means you’re a callous jerk. (Whether it also means that Ben is a pushy lunatic, TEENWORKS doesn’t say.) Again, you can’t be too direct–so what do you do?

The answer lies in the immortal words of Seal: you’re never gonna survive, Dear Reader, unless you get a little crazy.

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Puberty Books of the Damned, part 2

Several weeks ago, I introduced you to the wonders of TEEN WORKS: a set of 60’s/80’s-era puberty books I got for free at an estate sale.  These books are long, clocking in at well over a hundred articles each and covering every conceivable topic, from how to flirt to how to pretend to care about football to how to match your pink plastic belt with your oversized Mickey Mouse shirt-dress.  For this, our second foray into TEEN WORKS-dom, I thought we would delve into the most important topic of all: how to get a boy.

Step One: Identify Your Type

Everybody’s got a type.  For some, it’s the brooding guitar player.  For others, it’s the outgoing Big Man on Campus.  For me, it’s…well.  You know.

Exasperated SherlockI didn’t even say anything!
(from sherlock.tumblr.com)

But how can you pinpoint your type?  After all, there are millions of types out there, each clearly distinct from the others.

What Kind of Guy is Your Type?Psych!  There’s actually only four.  And the writers of TEEN WORKS, bless them, have provided you with a handy quiz to determine upon which of the four you should concentrate your amorous efforts.  Let’s look at some of the questions.

After school, the guy of your dreams is probablyFrom this item alone, we can see the broad archetypes they’re referencing.  There’s the jock guy.  The intellectual guy.  The artistic guy.  The, uh…likes-having-snacks-with-friends guy.  (As an aside, when I fantasized about my dream man during my hormonal teenaged years, he was generally snacking on me.)

Scandalized Gary BuseyAccording to Google Image Search, this is what “scandalized” looks like.

Let’s look at another question.

Your guy likes you best in...What the hell is a muscle shirt?  Are we talking one of those sleeveless t-shirts with slits all down the sides?  Because if any guy thinks I look best in that, he’s not a jock: he’s delusional.

Anywho, once you’ve muscled (muscle-shirted?) your way through this quiz, you receive one of four types, as personified by four hypothetical boys.

Ted, the Cool GuyTed here is the Cool One.  He knows what’s in and what’s not.  (And what’s in is “snacks with friends.”)

Jason, the JockJason is the Jock, and also the muscle shirt aficionado.

Ryan, the BrainRyan is the Brain.  He likes learning and (probably) giving jaunty salutes.

Bill, the ArtistBill is the Artist.  Should you choose to date him, beware–at some point, he will run off with Ted in search of an Excellent Adventure. Continue reading