The Making of a Man This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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It was the beginning of gym class, and I set my belongings down in the most secluded area of the boys’ locker room. I always chose this spot because I believed that my simple, undeveloped body was inferior to the libido-loaded adolescents who ruled the locker room, and I wanted to avoid confrontation with them if I could. My worst fear had always been that someone was going to sneak up and pilfer my undergarments, which would then force me to chase after this B.V.D. bandit in my birthday suit.

I was stripping off my clothes in the process of changing into my uniform, when the glisten of the incandescents off a single chest hair caught my eye. I paused for a moment and looked down at God’s gift. There it was: dark, silky and beautiful, the only one of its kind. And I thought to myself, after one, more are sure to follow.

I was at that age when boys suddenly change from a boy to, well, not a man, but something in between the two - a demented, terrifying creature known as an adolescent. By the time I entered this stage, most of my friends were well underway in their journey toward manhood. All around me droned the chorus of squeaky, semi-low pitched male voices, and I, with my soprano voice, came to the realization that I, too, would be dragged to the same fate as the others. I was, however, what is considered a “late bloomer” and, unlike my classmates, had not yet blossomed.

A few months after my chest hair sighting, my voice began its gradual and cruel change. Whenever I spoke, an embarrassing, indescribable chirp would escape from my mouth. Usually, I could not even speak a full sentence without my voice jumping an octave or two. But, I realized that “all us guys” go through this, so I could deal with it.

The last drastic change from boy to adolescent that I encountered was libido control. Because I was late in blooming, I had witnessed the drastic effects libido had on other males. No longer were the boys happy with each other’s company, for now they were in search of something else, the sexual unknown. The devil of puberty turns every young male into an uncontrollable mass of hormones whose every waking moment is occupied by the thought of the female gender.

I, too, succumbed to the natural fascination in women, but in a different way. Once I developed an interest, I, like many others, wanted a girlfriend of my own; but I was certainly unprepared for the role of being a boyfriend. I remember the tumultuous experience of my first girlfriend. At the end of English class, all corners of the room were filled with the drone of students packing up to hurry to their next period. I was leaning over my belongings in a state of confusion when I felt something grab at my behind. To my surprise, my future girlfriend was standing behind me with a look of a criminal who had just gotten away with murder. My face turned a deep tint of scarlet as I searched the room for a witness to her crime. Luckily, nobody had noticed. I attempted to say something, but all that came out of my mouth was a stutter. Feeling embarrassed, I ran for the exit, books, papers and all jumbled in my arms. My only thought was to escape from the room and find a secluded stall in the Mens’ bathroom to see if she had inflicted any superficial damage. Whenever anyone touched me, I had the habit of checking for an out-of-place ruffle in my clothes, but thankfully, I was unscathed.

Later that month, I somehow got dragged into a relationship with that same girl. The night I went to meet her parents was another incident that I will never forget. I was in their guest bathroom fixing my hair, for I was about to meet her parents, and I wanted to look presentable. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the door creep open and my girlfriend enter. “What are you …,” my voice jumped an octave, “doing?”

“Oh, nothing,” she replied, with the same look on her face as had been there the day she accosted me in English class. For weeks, she had hinted that she wanted to engage in the teenage ritual of kissing, and I was completely terrified of her intentions. At that moment, I felt like a lost mouse being stalked by a great owl. I had never been alone in a bathroom with a girl before, and I had no idea how to go about kissing. I had read many magazines on the subject, but they were no help. I was worried that my inexperience would cause me to falter. I thought to myself, as she edged closer and closer, when our lips come together, then what? My heart began to beat faster and faster. I looked around for a way out, but she had me cornered. I let out the loudest scream I could humanly produce and then jumped under her legs in an attempt to escape. Crawling the length of the bathroom, I scrambled to the exit as quickly as I could. My way was blocked by four knees, two covered with pants and two bulging out from the top of red and green argyle knee socks. I looked up to see her parents staring down at me.

“Hi!” again my voice cracked. “I’m Rob,” I said while offering them my trembling, sweaty hand. They received it politely and asked if everything was okay. The door opened behind me and my girlfriend exited. “Hi, Mom, Dad,” she said as she blithely walked around the corner and disappeared from view.

Looking back, I learned that behind every cracking voice, sweaty palm and sexually accosted boy, there is a mature, honest responsible man in the making. The memory of the lone chest hair sighting that I so gleefully discovered in the locker room is a savored memory tucked away with the squeeze on the behind and my first kiss. Maybe adolescence was not so bad after all.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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UnwantedNinja said...
Jan. 9, 2012 at 1:50 am
This story was pretty funniy :) good job !
 
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