The Obvious

it was different in my day!

Posted in hotline, kids, link, sex by theobvious on July 9, 2008

This post by Crystal Ross-McKee seems very relevant to me right now. She writes about the way her young children speak and act like adults when it comes to relationships. I am just back from work at the Hotline, and I can testify to that and more.

When we were kids, we always said we wanted to grow up. Adults led exciting lives, most of which took place when we were asleep. They spoke foreign languages so that we wouldn’t understand them as they discussed their fascinating secrets right before us. They smoked, drank hot-tasting liquids, and sat around for hours, talking. We wanted that; when we played house, we imitated that as best we could. But we never thought we could actually do it.

Now I sit for two point five hours at a time having conversations like this:
Me: Children’s Hotline, hello!
Squeaky voice: Hi, babe! Will you go out with me?
Me: Do you know what the Hotline is for?
SV: Yeah, for you to suck my…
Me: If you talk to me this way, I will need to say goodbye.
SV: You wouldn’t dare, bitch!

Or like this:
Me: Children’s Hotline, hello!
Girl Who Sounds Thirteen: My boyfriend broke up with me!
Me: How did it happen?
GWST: Well, we were at this party, and everyone got drunk, and we went to his bedroom, and he said would I have sex with him, and I said no, so he yelled at me, and the next day he texted me to say it was all over!
Me: … … … uhh… … So how are you feeling right now?

Or even like this:
Me: Children’s Hotline, hello!
Eager Boy: Hi, I think I am attracted to boys! Am I gay?
Me: So what if you are?
EB: That would be fucked-up, don’t you understand?
Me: What do you find fucked-up about being gay?
EB: Bwahaha, you don’t get anything! You stupid idiot!!

Most of these conversations, especially the ones like the latter, are made up to shock me. Now I do not think that teenagers are not entitled to experiment and learn about sexuality, or that people with squeaky voices shouldn’t call other people ‘bitch’ (wait, no, that I do think). All I’m saying is that it’s strange how children nowadays think a good prank call must be as crude as they can make it. It surprises me how much they know, and how, with all this knowledge, they still think sexuality and relationships are a forbidden area in which they long to be allowed – and, quite differently from us, elbow their way right in. They are adults at the age of ten. Small, strange, not very smart adults, but adults nonetheless.

As a girl who’s being called names, I’m affronted. As a hotline worker, I remain polite. As a quiet home person, I’m bemused. As an educator, I’m concerned. As a citizen, I feel they should do something about this. As myself, I understand that ‘they’ is actually me.


3 Responses

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  1. April said, on July 10, 2008 at 2:42 pm


    When I was a kid I’d prank call like this:

    “I saw what you did and I know who you are!”

    And then I’d just hang up.

  2. ollka said, on July 10, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Ooo, scary :) They do things like that too, but for every kid who says ‘I know where your hotline is, and I’ll come and rip your hands off’ there are seven who offer or request sexual services.

  3. colbystream said, on July 11, 2008 at 5:39 am

    wow. I do not envy your job.

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