Friday, January 7, 2011

Ski Don't

From the January 3 Ask Amy:
Dear Amy: I'm a 15-year-old girl, and I have an excellent boy friend (not a boyfriend, but a friend who is a boy).

He is 17 and wants to take me skiing one weekend.

We have been friends for a very long time, and I know him well.

However, I am nervous that when I propose this short trip to my parents, they will be afraid that I will be attacked or something if I go with him alone. (We would be alone on this trip.)

Even though my parents don't know him, I trust him completely.

Even if he tried something, I am a black belt in tae kwon do and would be able to defend myself.

I really want to go on this trip, but my parents most likely won't consent. How can I prove to them that I am responsible and that they can trust a person who I trust?
Amy, of course, tells her to suck it up and listen to her parents.
Most parents wouldn't let their teen go away on a weekend trip alone with another teen (no matter the gender).

You are kidding yourself if you think a black belt in anything will serve to protect you in a vulnerable situation. In my view, running away might be the smartest defense if you are in trouble. But that's beside the point. You will win your parents' trust by being trustworthy. That means introducing them to your friends — especially this friend — and permitting them to do their job, which is to make decisions based on their (not your) best judgment.
Did she really think Amy would help here? What's surprising, though, is that we don't either--much.

Lulu: Dan savage answered a question like this one time in the podcast. The girl wanted to go camping with her friend who is a boy but not a boyfriend. Dan basically told the girl that she'll never get her mom's consent so either she has to stay home and sulk, or sneak out and get the trip but probably get caught.

Ashley: There are paths in-between. It kind of seems like maybe she should ask her parents, or his, to take them both on a ski weekend.

Lulu: Yeah. She's righteously angry about the presumption that she'll automatically hook up with her male platonic friend, but I think she's making too much of that part (maybe her parents are, too.) It's not because he's a boy. Most parents would not let a 15 year old go on a ski weekend with a 17 year old and no adults.

Ashley: I don't imagine she'd be allowed to go even with a group of teenagers--not at 15. 16, maybe. I'm trying to think when my parents let me do stuff. I went on vacation with my boyfriend's family when I was 16.

Lulu: Yeah. I took a friend on vacation with my family when I was 14. The family is key there. I bet lots of parents would let a teenager go away for the weekend with her friend's whole family. Where I agree with Amy is that it would help if the parents knew the friend, and possibly his family (or at least had a phone conversation with them). It throws some suspicion on the matter if you're dead set on keeping the parents from meeting the friend.

Ashley: I think I could have convinced my parents to let me go on a ski weekend with a big group of friends at 16.

Lulu: Possibly mine too. It never occurred to me. My friends and I mostly just went on a day trips.

Ashley: I went to Italy when I was 16.

Lulu: That was a school trip, though, wasn't it? Presumably there were chaperones. Not that four or five adults can look after 20 kids at all times, but plausible deniability!

Ashley: Yeah, but I think that was the line for me. Once I left for a week, then I could basically do whatever with whomever. So maybe she should start small and develop her independence over time. Adults present for this one, then a group of teenagers, then her with the guy.

Or, whatever, just sneak out. Have a friend say she's sleeping over. Of course, if she gets injured or something, that would be awkward to explain.

Lulu: There are a lot of ways to get caught, especially now that the parents know what she's planning. And then she's kind of fucked. They won't let her out again until she's 30.

Ashley: She could start small with that, too. Develop those skills over time.

Lulu: So, assuming she doesn't do that, for this particular trip, we're basically telling her the same as Amy: go with the no. Age a bit.

Ashley: No, we're telling her to submit a modified request. Change the trip so there are adults involved. Then she still gets to ski. Assuming it's skiing she wants.

Lulu: It's sort of unclear why she's set on going with just this guy. Whom she has no romantic interest in and plans to beat up if he tries anything.

Ashley: He probably has a car.

Lulu: But why not take along other friends?

Ashley: Because he invited her? I agree that she should.

Lulu: Why isn't he taking along other people on this trip? Is he interested in her? Does he have no other friends? Maybe he only has a two-seater. Or a motorcycle.

Ashley: It's becoming clear why she doesn't want her parents to meet him.


  1. Does anyone else find it really really weird when she follows up "I trust him completely" so fast with "Even if he tried something, I am a black belt in tae kwon do and would be able to defend myself"?!

    Like... if you trusted him COMPLETELY, why would you have already played out the "Even if" deathmatch scenario?! I guess for the parents' benefit, since they presumably do not trust him. But it still reads very oddly to me.

    For example, I would never say "Darnell and I are going to ski for a weekend! I trust him completely, but also would win in a fight." Because I KNOW he would make a pass at me, and try to kill me if I refused him (it's never happened). He would also almost certainly succeed at ending my life unless I took Amy's advice and ran away, leaving a misleading trail of jellybeans going in the wrong direction! So they make scotch-flavored jellybeans?!

    Wait, what were we talking about?

  2. I think your advice to create scotch-flavored jelly-beans as a distracting tactic may not go over as well with the letter-writer's parents as you might think...

    I agree that it's weird to say "I trust him completely" and follow it up with death threats, but I wouldn't put too much stock in how it reads; a lot of the letters are edited by the columnists, and it's entirely possible they chopped out some sentences separating those two comments. For example, if she said, "I trust him completely. However, my parents think I should be ready to expect an attack from anyone. Even if he tried something, I am a black belt..." Sounds more reasonable, right?

    Erm this is Ashley -logging in is annoying.

  3. I too questioned the immediate recourse to black belt stuff! but if they edited it that makes sense. Everyone does crazily edit everything. I also questioned how these kids are paying for an on-their-own ski trip. Ski trips are expensive! So expensive, in fact, that I'm 30 and I have only ever been on one ski trip that I financed myself. And the first time I went on an overnight trip and got a hotel somewhere with a peer I was totally a sophomore in college. I think there's a reason you guys didn't have to deal with asking permission to go on a trip with a bunch of teens: teens can't afford to go on exciting overnight vacations together. They go on vacations with their parents, or they go on those school-sponsored vacations which maybe they save up for or whatever but can at least be sold to your parents as a great educational opportunity or something.

    Those bad rich teens!