20 February, 2006
My friend's 16 year old daughter, BAY (Beautiful And Young) came to stay with me over the weekend. I have known her since she was 4 and we have a great friendship - I love her to bits.
Anyway, it's been a while since I've seen her, and I was quite overwhelmed by how mature she is looking - and very beautiful. Unfortunately I was not alone.
As we walked around London, I couldn't help but notice the straight men staring at her. And I don't just mean men of her own age or perhaps slightly older, but also men in their twenties, thirties and even older! In fact, at one point on the tube, a man who was probably in his late fourties and maybe even older was literally just staring at her, trying to catch her eye. Thankfully BAY didn't notice.
It did surprise me though. I mean, what's a middle aged man thinking when staring at a sixteen year old girl? I respect the fact that anyone can and will appreciate beauty; but it wasn't just a quick glance. It was an appraisal, a full scan of her body, a searching of her face. It made me feel very uncomfortable and I wanted to tell him to sod off.
Another thing I noticed while spending time with BAY is how she spoke about her school mates. Unlike when I was at school, it is seemingly very un-cool to be too 'harsh' about someone's identity - whether that involve their race, sexuality, gender or anything else that is inherent to who they are. She spoke about a few guys in their year group who have told everyone that they are gay. Apparently this was respected and even well regarded by everyone.
When I was at school, no-one was aware that I was gay (even me, in fact!) but if it had been known, I would have most certainly been bullied, and probably even beaten up after school.
Who knows if this is the case for most teenagers; but it heartened me to think that at least some of them are more open minded.