It would seem that the youth of today are scared of nothing. Twice in the last couple of months, I’ve come across a group of young girls – between fourteen and sixteen – inside of large ladies room, gleefully applauding and cheering a friends luck. The luck of not being pregnant.

I kid you not.

The first time this happened, I had peeled away in dire need of a ladies room while inside Target. I could hear chatter and time keeping coming from the large handicap stall. I wondered how many girls needed to be inside one when there were nine other empty stalls but then realised I was giving far too much thought to it and continued to take care of business.

Then an eruption of cheers was heard. And as I washed my hands, I was bombarded by ten or so girls all gleefully cheering their friends close call. Before they changed topics to ‘who’s house they were going to later on that night and if he was going to show up.’

I tsked and thought ‘Ah, America’, as I went back to Burs and relaid the story to him. Then we had a nervous laugh where we jokingly blamed MTV and the youts of today (youts = youths and during the riots that happened in London last year, it was shouted all over the place.)

Then yesterday, as I ran into Sainsbury to pick up a few items once again the call of nature hit me. I placed my basket in a familiar place, then ran across the street to the movie theatre (it’s my usual go to ladies room when I’m in the area) where again, midstream, a loud level of applause rang out. Once at the sink I looked around for the crowd making the noise. And the girls look young. I mean, if the girls looked about seventeen, I’d understand but fifteenish. This is getting ridiculous. And worrisome.

When it happened in the states, I could shake it away as the fault of my being in a Republican state without decent sex education or the lack of providing contraception. But in the UK – London no less. This is madness!

Funny enough, quite a few times when I’ve talked to my friend, Paler, we’ve remarked on how the fear of such a thing happening to us was just so great. I mean, we were NEVER putting ourselves in that situation. But when we’d play the WHAT IF game with friends and teen pregnancy came up DEATH is what we would have chosen not hang out with friends inside random large toilet and take a test while acting that it is all one big gag. Just a bit of fun with my homies.

What sticks in my craw about it was at neither location was their a sense of nerves. Yes, in both instances, they cheered because the tests were negative. But before that, there were no tears of fear. What they were doing was simply an action. I expect, at their age, to be wailing uncontrollably. Yells of ‘Why me’ or promises of ‘I’ll never do it again.’ Leaving me to wonder, why aren’t the girls peeing on said stick scared to death. 

The one friend that I had that got pregnant while young and unmarried was in tears through the whole process; from picking her up, to the trip to the pharmacy, to peeing on the stick. It was a cocktail of fear, tears, remorse and wonderment of the future. That was what surrounded her. There wasn’t a cheering party. It was more of a small prayers circle. There was me, her and one other friend. Unlike the girls I’ve seen, we were young women in our twenties, not girls in our second year of puberty.

Where has the fear gone? That intense fear that keeps you from even kissing a boy for fear of what may happen. Of course, to have that fear, you had t be raised with it. The sort of upbringing where you say something smartalick and you immediately flinch, bracing yourself for your parents back hand. Or you slam a door, in protest, and then take a deep breath as you wait to see if your parent is going to storm in and school you.

But I’m wondering all this for naught. It is what it is. I’ve nothing overly profound to say that will make it all suddenly be alright or never happen again. All I can do to keep myself coming across such nonsense is to find smaller ladies rooms to use.

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